Is Backwards Compatibility A Deal Breaker For Next Generation Game Consoles?


Note: [All opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of GamerXChange]

The new console generation is almost upon us. We know that the Nintendo Wii U will be releasing sometime this year, we also know that the Wii U will indeed be backwards compatible with the original Wii. However, it wont be backwards compatible with the Nintendo Gamecube, this news might bother some people, but it got me to wondering if a lack of backwards compatibility would actually sway people from one console to another if the function was left out of their favorite brands console next generation.

I actually remember when this current generation was about to launch and all the buzz was around backwards compatibility, honestly though, it wasn’t a feature that I used a ton with any of the consoles. I think I probably used the Wii’s backwards compatibility function the most, there were a lot of Gamecube titles that I initially missed out on. I think I played through KOTOR, Jade Empire, Halo 1 & 2 and a select few other games on my Xbox 360, but I was so busy with new titles that I really didn’t even notice or miss any of those older titles that much, but I’d still go back from time to time and play a some of my favorites. I actually was lucky enough to be an early adopter of the PS3 and so my PS3 is fully backwards compatible. I actually did and still play Star Wars Battlefront 2 online with my PS3, I thought it was cool how the PS3 converted PS2 games into HD and smoothed the edges and made the older games look very good. I have to admit I was heartbroken when they took the feature out, it’s the main reason I’ve not purchased another PS3 to compliment my launch PS3 to this very day.

We know Nintendo is going to let you play Wii games on the Wii U, but the other consoles are a bigger mystery. I think more people would actually use this generations games on next generation hardware quite a bit actually. The main reason I think there would be an increase is because of things like Achievements and Trophies, if your Achievements and Trophies carry over to the next generation consoles, I could see people going back and playing through older games a lot more than they currently do. If we go by rumor, the Xbox 720 or whatever its going to be called, will indeed play Xbox 360 and Kinect games. Original Xbox games will probably not be playable, but you never know. Sony is in a tougher place because if rumors are to be believed, Sony is abandoning their Cell Processor in favor of a more developer friendly processor, which if true means that the PS4 wont be backwards compatible with PS3 games.

Now keep in mind that all of this is unconfirmed at this point, but it would make sense for Sony to go with a more developer friendly processor with the PS4. The newest rumor is that Sony is going to purchase a cloud gaming service, one of the reasons for this was so that Sony could offer some PS1 and PS2 games via the service, which could potentially mean that the PS4 wont even be backwards compatible with the PS1 or PS2. Sony has no doubt made a mint off of selling people HD remakes this generation. I could see them cutting out backwards compatibility from the get go in a cost cutting move, then they would offer the games to stream through the cloud gaming service, for a price I’m sure.

Going back to the Achievements and Trophies thought that I had, I think it’s a given that our PSN names and Gamertags will carry over with the next generation, so our Trophies and Achievements should as well. Since this generation is already in HD, Nintendo being the exception, there is no chance of selling us the same games again, unless there isn’t backwards compatibility. I actually think Nintendo could tap into a huge market with HD remakes of some of their classic games. They could easily go into the Gamecube library and remaster games like Zelda The Wind Waker. Who wouldn’t want to play those Nintendo games in full HD?

Lately I’ve become more and more wary of digital only games, I can definitely see a push for digital content, and now with this cloud based gaming I’m starting to get even more worried about the future of games and gaming in general. Cloud based services use DRM, which is why I avoided Diablo 3. Anything that uses DRM means you don’t actually own the product, I like to hold the physical media in my hand and possibly even take it with me, so its pretty clear that I’m uneasy with all the talk about cloud gaming and digital gaming. The plus side to digital gaming is that you could probably play older games on the console, but of course you’d have to be willing to buy them all over again. I guess it all comes down to how many times your willing to buy the same game.

I’m interested to hear what some of you out there think about backwards compatibility in the next console generation. Is it something you’re wanting or is it more of a take it or leave it type of situation? If your like me and have all the consoles, you’d be hoping for backwards compatibility just so you can free up some space on your entertainment center. Sound off in the comment section below and let us know your feelings on the subject.


One Response to “Is Backwards Compatibility A Deal Breaker For Next Generation Game Consoles?”

  1. I am loathing these PS4 No-BC rumors. Now, I do think a more developer friendly CPU is essential, but so is BC. And you can have both!

    Sony should build PS4s with expansion ports (much like how the GameCube had one), and sell an accessory, a retro card if you will, that fits into the expansion port. The retro card would have a PS3 Cell (and possibly cooling parts) plus outfacing controller/memory card ports for PS1-2 accessories. PS4s with retro cards inserted would be able to play PS3 games and recognize save and install data from PS3 games.

    Perfect solution no?

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