DEBATE: Dueling Thoughts On Backwards Compatibility

Friday, March 1st, 2013

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Steve Baltimore- No BC for the PS4 is Not a Big Deal

Here are some of my thoughts on the issue of backward compatibility. Is it a nice feature? …Yeah, it is.
But if a brand new console isn’t backwards compatible, it a deal breaker for me? Absolutely not.

For one thing, I have never seen any kind of new console run the software designed for the older one as well as the original hardware did in its day. Whether it be the PS2 running the PsOne software, or the Ps3 running the PS2 software. Even the old fully backwards compatible PS3s did not do the greatest job of up-scaling the games like I felt they deserved. There were some issues with the Wii running the Gamecube software, too. While this may have only affected a few titles, it is still apparent. I have also heard some of the Wii titles that used the Wiiconnect 24 feature will not work on the Wii U. The Xbox 360 backwards compatibility was not done very well either. What a short list of titles that worked on the new machine, and many of those had problems. It also required you to buy the hard drive for the 360, which is not included with all of the consoles.

Another point I would like I would like to address is this: will backwards compatibility raise the hardware cost? Jonathan suggested something like this in his side of the argument about the Wii U. I know this is a hot button issue; some say it would, while others say it would not. In some cases it may not but in the case of the PS4, I believe it most certainly would.

Backwards Compatible

The architecture of the new console is much closer to that of the PC. The cell processors used in the PS3, which were a developers nightmare from what I have heard, would either have to be put into the PS4 or be completely emulated by the system. To include these chips would raise the system cost quite a bit. And like I just got done saying, emulation never works as good as the real hardware. I see why people who do not own a PS3 would want the PS4 to be completely backwards compatible but, if the launch costs are too high they will end up in the same shape they were in when the PS3 launched at $599.99

The last point I would like to make is simply this: We buy new hardware for new experiences. Sure, the old games are great, and some will always have a place in our hearts. However, if you were not looking for something new and different you would most likely not be in the market for new hardware. Would you have bought a Wii U if you were fine with what the Wii already had to offer? Would you have purchased a PS3 if you were satisfied with PS2 library?

Sony Meeting Destiny

As we move forward to next gen games I would hope that the developers and hardware folks would put most of their efforts into ensuring the new console is bigger, better, and more accessible than the last. I hope that we get new and innovative titles that were not possible on the old systems. This should be the next console’s main goal; backwards compatibility is just not where their priorities should be.


So who do you agree with, Jonathan or Steve? Sound off in the comment below!

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