Backwards Compatibility. Do We Need It?

The age old question of if newer consoles need backwards compatibility has been around since the PS1 evolved into the PS2, which then evolved into the PS3 before finally evolving into the PS4. Of course the evolution of consoles won’t stop at the PS4 as technology becomes better each time, but the question of whether or not backwards compatibility is needed remains the same.

As long as gamers want to continue to play older games that they own, there will always be a need for backwards compatibility. Always. There really is no way around getting gamers to not want or need backwards compatibility, it’s virtually impossible. Each and every console maker understands this need. Backwards compatibility has to be one of the most requested feature of any new console. Why? Because most gamers don’t have an unlimited amount of space for console after console after console, yet they still want to play their old games. Or another scenario could be that an older console has broken and it’s either not worth it to get fixed or it’s too costly to replace. If a newer console can play newer games that run at higher rates and all these different things, then why can’t this new console run a game that runs at a lower rate and is created with last generations technology? While some companies understand this need and are willing to adapt to allow gamers this feature there are still others that are left in the dark.

While Microsoft came out of E3 looking like a big hero because of their Xbox One now allowing for backwards compatibility of some games, with more to come in the future, Sony was kind of left as the odd man out with no plans of backwards compatibility to speak of. So why does Xbox get this much wanted feature and not Playstation? It’s all because of a little service called Playstation Now. Playstation Now is the Netflix of games. You pay a monthly or quarterly fee and you get unlimited access to a whole library of games that is constantly growing and you can stream all of them right from the console of your choice. So, why isn’t this enough? There are a couple of reasons why and one of them starts with the pricing. To use Playstation Now it’ll cost you either $19.99 a month or $44.99 a quarter. This comes out to a yearly total of $239.88 or $179.96. Each price plan is an absurd amount of money which takes me to my next point. This absurd amount of money is to play games that most gamers already own either on disk or digitally.

Sony will never admit that Playstation Now is basically a complete failure meaning that they will also not grant gamers the backwards compatibility that they want either. While more and more games come to Playstation Now, I can eventually see Sony lowering the price but whether or not it’s in the right price range is yet to be seen. I also think that the success of remastered games also has something to do with whether or not there will be backwards compatibility, because lets face it why should you play your PS3 version of a game on the PS4 when you can just go out and buy it all over again. So while Sony continues to conveniently forget that backwards compatibility is still something that Playstation owners not only want but need, at the moment gamers just have to deal with it. Although just dealing with it isn’t a solution and it won’t erase the need for backwards compatibility it’s just something that has to be done at this time.


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