Backwards Compatible Game by Game

Reserved for modern gaming discussions.
User avatar
Posts: 2319
Joined: April 7th, 2015, 7:33 pm

Backwards Compatible Game by Game

Postby scotland » May 24th, 2016, 5:42 pm

In the old days, backwards compatible was seen in many consoles. The main reason would be to encourage early adoption, so you could pass along your old console for a new one, while still playing your old backlog of old games. Backwards compatible could also cement a generation winner's base into the next generation, PS1 to PS2. Cement victory.

It was missing more often than there though. Sometimes a console was such a leap in technology, the lack of backwards compatibility was pointed to as evidence of how big a leap it was. Maybe this was Nintendo's reason for not making the SNES backwards compatible. Or there was a change in media, such as cartridge to optical disc. Or the old technology remained expensive, even many years later, like the PS3 dropping PS2 compatibility. If your old console did poorly, then leave it behind, so no reason for the Dreamcast to be backwards compatible. Cement victory, abandon defeat.

Nintendo went for Wii backwards compatibility on the WiiU, but either people did not know or care, it reinforced thinking the WiiU was a Wii accessory, and that the WiiU was more last generation. Its been a pretty solid feature in their handhelds though, and one I make use of quite a lot. Thank you Nintendo. Cement victory has worked here.

Somewhat oddly, both the PS3 and Xbox360 ended up doing very well, but their successors abandoned them. Now Microsoft has sort of one upped Sony with backwards compatibility done title by title, and much later in the console lifespan. Each time they add new games, the gaming press trumpets it for PR gains, always reminding everyone of the feature and the growing library of compatible games. Some are kinda funny - were people really clamoring to keep playing the 2004 PC/2008 Xbox360 casual game Domino Master on their XboxOnes, 2 and half years into that console's life? Oh well, made a few more games backwards compatible and its worths a tweet or better yet, a Gamespot article.

Which is funny, since Sony had a better record on backwards compatibility than Microsoft really had, but the wheel turned. With an updated PS4 coming out, maybe they should just focus on 'Cutting Edge Games on a Cutting Edge Console' theme.

Backwards compatibility, drip by drip. Another difference that separates modern gaming from classic gaming.

Posts: 250
Joined: April 23rd, 2016, 8:04 am

Re: Backwards Compatible Game by Game

Postby CharlieR » May 27th, 2016, 6:02 pm

good post. Backwards compatibility is important to me. It's interesting you say about the success of the ps3 and xbox 360 being abondoned when it comes to backwards compatibility on ps4 and xbox one. I don't know if that's true, but it's interesting. I would think they could have made it backwards compatible if they wanted. Maybe they just decided not to. I know if ps4 had BC, i'd buy it. If I could have access to ps3 games and ps4 games on the console, that would be nice. It would be a no-brainer for me to buy a ps4, but instead I probably won't buy a ps4, at least not for a long time, because I'm really only interested in uncharted 4.

Also, the very first model ps3 had ps2 compatibility if I remember correctly, but none of the others. Maybe they realized ps2 compatibility hindered system performance? Either way, they have ps1 games, which is great.

If none of my systems had BC, that would not be good. I like it, and I think it really helps in terms of selling a console. I guess every console should be able to do it as long as it has the same type of media, discs or cartridges/cards.

User avatar
Posts: 906
Joined: April 7th, 2015, 8:39 pm

Re: Backwards Compatible Game by Game

Postby ptdebate » May 27th, 2016, 9:37 pm

Sony eliminated hardware PS2 compatibility on the PS3 in order to cut hardware costs. Sony developed a form of software compatibility but removed it for every SKU past the "fat" 80GB presumably so they could resell PS2 titles digitally (which they have since done).

I'm sure Sony abstained from looking into PS3 backwards compatibility on the PS4 for similar reasons. Now that they have PSNow on offer, they can charge for digital rentals of PS3 titles. Why would they allow consumers to play the games they've already bought when they can generate revenue from such methods?

I value what Microsoft has done in at least trying to offer backwards compatibility of 360 games on Xbox One. Coverage of obscurer games isn't there yet, but at least it's a thing that exists for more popular legacy titles.

Posts: 71
Joined: August 24th, 2016, 1:32 pm

Re: Backwards Compatible Game by Game

Postby tortimer » September 2nd, 2016, 11:54 am

Great post and I think this could turn into a long discussion about whether companies should make backwards compatibility a priority feature. There are good arguments both ways. But as scotland mentioned Nintendo handhelds are where this philosophy has shined (if not proven the case) and it has made collecting and owning those games such a joy. Think about it, with only a Game Boy Advance and a 3DS you can play just about any physical media handheld title going all the way back to original Game Boy. And now, with talk of the NX going back to carts (a great idea for numerous reasons) one can imagine having only those three devices and nearly unlimited access to the entire Nintendo catalog - so long as Virtual Console is kept going.

Posts: 310
Joined: April 13th, 2015, 11:16 pm

Re: Backwards Compatible Game by Game

Postby eneuman96 » September 2nd, 2016, 2:13 pm

Backwards compatibility or lack thereof determines how early in a system's lifespan I'll buy it. If it's backwards compatible with the previous system by the company, I'd buy it pretty much immediately and sell the older system for some cash. Since only Nintendo has "full" backwards compatibility these days (any Wii disc will work on Wii U and any DS cartridge will work on 3DS), I hesitated to buy the PS4 and Xbox One until enough good games came out for them to justify breaking the bank for them.

Return to “Modern Gaming”