Backwards Compatibility – Is It Important?

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Oh no, not backwards compatibility talk again. Well this is something that should be getting more discussion time, and for good reason. We live in an age where new consoles should be able to play previous generation games. This is the case with the Wii U but what about Microsoft and Sony?

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This year Microsoft have taken a lot of flack from the gaming world, most of it however has been their own fault in regards to the Xbox One policies and how they have showcased the console. Things are not all bleak however, Microsoft seem to have pulled a 180 and is starting to fix its wrongs, which is great but one thing that really seemed to bother me was the fact the Xbox One could not play Xbox 360 games. 

The Xbox 360 has a vast library of quality titles and it would be a crying shame to not be able to play these again on the Xbox One. Now I know many of you would say quit moaning and play the old games on the 360, but I would hate to have both consoles set up just to do this. I also believe this will slightly hamper sales at the start of the Xbox Ones life because some gamers will want to finish playing their vast mountain of 360 games before moving to the Xbox One. 

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Something interesting may be on the horizon to resolve this though. Microsoft has apparently showcased a cloud streaming service that showcased Halo 4 being played on a Windows Phone and PC. This however was just a prototype and no information was given to if it will be coming to the Xbox One. I strongly believe this will happen in the future as Microsoft expands its digital horizons. 

This could be great news if it happens and will be another step in the right direction. Microsoft seem to be making some great moves at the moment and this could be another one.

Sony has actually revealed that you will be able to play PS3 games on the PS4 by a streaming service called Gaikai. Whilst this wont appear on the console at launch it will be available in 2014, if this will house all PS3 games I am unsure but I reckon it will be a digital library that will see future games added as time goes on.  

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It’s great to see Sony making a bit of effort to allow consumers the ability to play PS3 games on the PS4 via Gaikai and Microsoft may reveal their cloud solution for the Xbox One but it raises a few questions and some exciting possibilities. Will they both charge to re download games we already own on disc? I believe the answer to that will be a big YES. Proof of this can be seen with Sony’s PS Vita console which allowed gamers to play their PSP collection but at a cost. A lot of PSP owners seemed rather annoyed by this. Would it not be best to let gamers play their Xbox 360 and PS3 collections via the cloud for free if they already own a physical or digital copy of the game?

What I find exciting about this is approach by Sony and possibly Microsoft is if its cloud based then the games will work on more or less anything. Could I play a PS3 or Xbox 360 game streamed to my Nexus 7 or PC? Yes, there is no reason why not. This could broaden the appeal of the games and make some of these game in certain circumstances portable.

As you can see there are benefits and downsides the the cloud based streaming services coming to the PS4 and possibly Xbox One.

It would be great if we could get our old PS3 and Xbox 360 discs to work in the next gen consoles but due to radically new hardware this is not possible. With big games still being released on the current gen consoles it would be great to continue these on the next gen systems. I would also like to point out that this generation of gaming has been extremely long, many gamers maybe resilient to getting next gen hardware if they cant continue their games on the Xbox One of PS4.

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What is you opinion on this, is it important we get backwards compatibility? What do you think of the steps being made by Sony and possibly Microsoft for cloud based gaming? 

  • Noel Lovering

    Huge selling point for me

  • Camille Shim-Marinos

    It used to be a big selling point, but I’ve come to realize that about a year into the next generation, people stop caring about playing last generation games. I think that’s a big reason Sony pulled out the backwards compat with PS3, it was too much money to include when people didn’t care much for it. I probably played ONE Xbox original title on my Xbox 360, and only played KH series or other games re released in HD on PS3 anyways.

    I think the only reason I appreciate the WIiU being backwards so much is the current WiiU being in such a lack of game titles. That, and I sold my Wii back in 2009, so I still wanted to catch up and play games I missed since then (like Skyward Sword and Mario Galaxy 2). But other than that, I think it’s best we leave the backwards compatibility out of next gen consoles so our next gen systems stay a better, cheaper price. Looking forward to the online streaming services though, that’s the perfect solution!

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