Time To Grow Up And Let Go Of Backwards Compatibility

By Spencer Pressly on March 8, 2013, 2:06PM EDT
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Now that the PlayStation 4 has been revealed, people have already given up on being excited for the console just for the sole fact that it will not play PS3 games. Now this is much more than haters on the internet bashing Sony's next big thing and is from the millions of people who think backwards compatibility is something every system should have. Backwards compatibility has become this feature that is rarely used by people, but almost everybody will complain if you don't include it.

Video games started backwards compatibility back with the Atari 7200 being able to play 2600 and 4800 games. After this the video game crash of the early 1980's happened and backwards compatibility was not seen until the debut of the PlayStation 2. We went around 20 years playing games that games on one system only, but when the PS2 let you play your entire of PlayStation One game things changed forever.

It started out as a feature Sony could tote as something nobody else had at the time and now you are butchered all over the internet if your system doesn't play absolutely everything. The truth is about backwards compatibility is that is was hard for future system to add in and was normally a costly feature. Before the PS4 most console used proprietary technology that other systems couldn't use at the time. This is also the same reason you don't see any PS3 emulators at the moment, because there is no way to emulate it's cell core processor.

So this means the only way to run most games from previous generations will require these companies to literally cram two different systems inside one box. This is why the PS3 looked like two George Foreman grills making love to each other. Emulating software is a cheaper method companies like Microsoft and Sony have used, but this leads to not every game working as well as not always work perfectly. Nintendo was lucky with the Wii and after duck taping two Gamecubes together didn't have to worry about backwards compatibility.

Still besides the Xbox 360, both the PS3 and Wii eventually dropped backwards compatibility for cheaper systems to sell to people. Now with the Nintendo Wii U only playing Wii titles and the PS4 not playing PS3 games, we are at a turning point for the next generation of systems. There are many rumors out there already saying that the Xbox 720 will also not support 360 game discs for backwards compatibility.

So with people always making such a fuss about having backwards compatibility why is it that the actual amount of people who use it is never the same size? This is because people want to have a reason to complain when companies offer a way for new and old fans to experience classic titles in HD collections or digitally via emulation. Also for the PS4 at least they have still not ruled out original PS one and PS2 games.

Actually when you look at what Sony is doing with the PS4 and Gaikai, they have the best plan for supporting backwards compatibility on their newest console. Even though we have no idea when the service will work, the ability to play any PS/PS2/PS3 game on your PS4 and Vita is nothing to scoff at. Streaming all of these games will totally erase the need for pushing these special processors in current models and cut costs for everyone in the end.

People just need to learn that they you are not buying a system that will work with every other game that brand has published. You should all go into the next generation buying the newest consoles for the newest games to be played on. If by some luck a system has some form of backwards compatibility you should be counting your stars that a company is doing you a favor. We do not need to hold yourself back each generation just to play one or two older games when you easily could have just plugged in your older system.

Hopefully this article helped some of you realize that backwards compatibility is not the end is not the end of the world if it is not included in every device you buy in the future. I totally understand not everyone's situation is the same and sometimes the only way to get whats new you need to sell what you have that is older like systems or games. These actions come with sacrifices and keeping a console with some of your favorite titles on it and getting the newest console later may work out better for some, but not always for everyone.

Let me know what you think about backwards compatibility in the comments below. Different and new opinions are always welcome!

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