Sessler's Soapbox: Who Cares About Backwards Compatibility?

Posted: September 2, 2009
Sessler's Soapbox: Who Cares About Backwards Compatibility?
Adam explains why he thinks that a console lacking backwards compatibility is not only acceptable, but possibly good for the gaming industry.

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  • BlueFlameBat

    I wish my PS3 had backwards compatibility with PS2 games because I'd rather be saving the data on such games to a hard drive (with the option of backing them up on other mediums) than a memory card, and since my PS2 controllers don't work too well anymore. I wish Nintendo had made GameCube games compatible with the Classic Controller (which, I've heard, was actually their intention at one point in development) and able to save the game data to the Wii's flash memory and/or SD card. I like backwards compatibility especially since (and I'm aware that Adam said this) it means not having to have all your old consoles hooked up to play the old games. It's also nice for having an instant library on a new system. Unfortunately, this does not seem to profit companies so I don't see it happening much either in the future.

    Posted: July 23, 2010 9:31 PM
  • Oskamunda

    Also, I must add regarding Nintendo...

    I have a GC, and I STILL have it because of it's BC. GC BC? Are you mad?

    No...you see, when GB Advance came out, it had BC with GB and GB Color. When Nintendo released the GB dock for GC, it retained that compatibility. Now, I can play FFIV Advance, Crystalis, Link's Awakening, and Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow on my TV, all for less than a GB Advance.

    One of the reasons I have been reticent of buying a Wii is that it is not compatible with that dock...I can't afford to buy all of those games again. Maybe when I have money falling out of my @$$, I'll take the plunge, but until then, I only have one extra slot in my entertainment cabinet, and it is home to my loverly Companion Cube - I mean, GameCube.

    One last thing to note:
    Lack of BC, higher price points, and artificial cost inflation [due to purchasing the product AGAIN] are major pushes for software piracy. Why would someone pay for Chicago V AGAIN as an MP3 DLC album over iTunes or Rhapsody when they can get it for no cost from a torrent, even while keeping their SQ Quad LP and CD in mint condition by not wearing it out? I would pay $100 for a BD with FFI-X International on it gladly...but seeing as the only way to play those special releases is by living in Europe, piracy is pretty tempting...at least more so than modding my PS3 or getting a European system.

    And for those of you who noticed...I DID say Pokemon R/B/Y. Why? Because those three games are rock-[expletive deleted]-solid. Even if you hate the craze, the phenomenon, and the current releases, one cannot deny that the MECHANICS of those three games, along with the addictive play and stimulation of latent hunter/gatherer instincts, are [combined] one of the greatest RPG releases ever.

    No. Stop. Don't Flame me for that. Pokemon R/B/Y Forever, FTW!

    Posted: October 12, 2009 3:39 PM
  • Oskamunda

    I do believe, good sir, that you are a victim of your own entitlement issues regarding this subject.

    I must tell you, the deciding factor in my purchasing a PS3 [over an XBOX] way back in 2006 was the BC. I already had a healthy library of PS2 games that I DO frequently pull out and play, and knowing that the 60-gig version had the PS2 chip on-board [which virtually guaranteed total BC] was the seller. Since then, seeing the changes that have been made to the platform in an effort to lower its price have made me glad I jumped on board in the morningtide of the system. I am happy that, not only do I have BC, but that I also have four controller ports, wireless connectivity, a media card reader, and the then- [and still one-of-the-] -most-powerful BD player[s] on the market. BC ended up selling me on what is the best release of the console to date.

    I DON'T think that the minority you spoke of is excessively loud, or even as small as you think. Even MS realized that if owner's couldn't play Halo 2 on the 360, they wouldn't buy it until Halo 3 came out. BC is very important in any electronic-device release, and has the capacity to kill or keep alive older technologies. When magnetic tape killed the 8-track, it was because of lack of BC. When DVD killed VHS, it was BC again, rather than the improved quality of the technology [look at how long it took for VHS to die...the qualities of DVD won over videophiles, as any new storage media is wont to do, but it was the steady push of non-BC DVD players and DVD releases to the market that eventually slayed the beast. Rightly so?...maybe; you can still tape a VHS back together if it breaks, however...] Nintendo was only able to remove BC from every generation of their consoles due to the competitive pricing of their systems...you could afford to get an SNES when you already had an NES.

    Which, I suppose, is the next point to make. The only reason Sony removed BC was to cut costs of the device...it wasn't because there was no importance on BC detected from the community, but rather to limit lost sales due to the price point [it wasn't the only feature cut out, if you'll notice...it was the last one, however]. I could only afford to get a PS3 by trading in my PS2 slim [another sale made by BC, which I also had to trade in my PS1 to afford]. Many people who don't live with their parents can't afford to own three or four systems. With my PS3, I got two systems for the price of...two, I guess.

    BC also ensures that the company, yes, DOES, care about their customers. After the close of the XBOX department at MS with the release of the 360, how do you think those customers felt? Wait, I just got this console a year ago, and now no more games will be released for it? And I have no more warranty? AND I can't get a 360 with trade-in and play my old games because it won't even play a third of them? WTF? I would be extremely pissed, especially if my 360 failed...TWICE.

    Then there is the issue of DLC. Should I have to pay again for a game that I already own? This happened recently with the re-release of FFVII over PSN; along with the price point, you get the caveat that the game may not WORK properly [at least make a re-release BC, please]? But, I already own FFVII...the original, not the GH release. Because my PS3 is BC w/PS2, I can also play PS1 games...so I'm set. It may be great for those who haven't had the opportunity to play the game yet, but I already bought it...years ago. Perhaps if there were some UPC-input recognition system for those who already have a DLC game in retail form, perhaps allowing a discounted purchase price for the DLC, or something...at least until then, I have a 3-in-1 system.

    Plus, we don't really need to be moving away from retail copies, I don't think. There are two big drawbacks to my first-gen PS3, the first one being hard-drive size. I have several DL games, and they, along with my music, all take up valuable space [PS Media Server helps a lot, though]. So, when Fallout 3: GOTY comes out, I'll buy it on BD rather than downloading all the DLC to the HDD...not to mention the BD will still be there if the drive craps out or is fried in an electrical incident. Movement away from retail will only foster the entitlement you criticized, where Gamer Superiority shall be granted to the fop with the biggest HDD.

    The second issue with my first-gen is that I no longer have an independent PS2 for another room. Sacrifices, sacrifices.

    Largely, though, BC should be an important drive in the future. Ever wanted to play KQIV, but couldn't get even Dosbox to run properly on Windows 7? I have, and it sucks. How many times will I have to buy the White Album and The Trilogy [damn you, Lucas!]? Imagine the millions of dollars in DVD libraries out there...now imagine that HDD or BD players couldn't play them...my PS3 reads BD, DVD, CD, flash and USB drives, and wirelessly streams.

    As it should.

    And I am VERY grateful it does.

    At my char limit..

    Posted: October 12, 2009 3:19 PM
  • sims796

    This is an interesting topic. I like how some (like myself) are adamant about Backwards capability, while some feels it as a useless add on.

    As I said, I do believe backwards capability is important...to a degree. For one thing, the Xbox 360 is too young NOT to have it.They still have plenty of great games that I never even played. PS2's library of games are vast, and for them not to have BC is an annoying move if you ask me. Added with the fact that the PS2 games are still being sold (and selling well), and it doesn't make much sense not to have it.

    However, an over dependance on it will only hold the system back, as we need to look forward, not backwards, and that much I can agree on. Still, many old games I love, and when I look back on them, I still find them a blast, despite their modern-day flaws.

    When my DSlite broke, I went out to get a new (used) one. I had the chance (and the excuse for myself) to spend more for the DSi. I chose the DSlite again. The loss of a GBA slot was too much. Even though I don't use it quite as much. Sure, I don't mind losing it, however, the DSi wasn't a major improvemnt. They still played the same games as the DS, but without a feature and added a camera. That's fine for some, but not a major enough upgrade to warrent losing BC.

    Point is, depending on the upgrade, I wouldn't mind lossing BC, however, it must be a massive step forward.

    Posted: October 10, 2009 11:12 AM
  • Warforge

    Nothing but good points as always. I, myself, like backwards compatibility but its a pricey feature thats never sold mass number of consoles. At this point and beyond the industry is getting old enough along with the rest of us that while we "feel" the need to have it(more like a want). We don't need it. We pay more to keep our old game discs on a new console and said game may not even be on the list of ported. Digital downloads are the future of our nostalgia. Lets face it, drives are getting smaller with more capacity I say to hell with our old discs bring on DD, hoverboards, and flying cars. Bring on the future..

    Posted: October 5, 2009 11:47 PM
  • username444100

    I think that with games like god of war collection there just milking money out of the god of war fans I love god of war but do I wanna pay 40 bucks for the same game I already have for some minor improvements? yes new crap is nice but god of war 3 is gonna be better then playing the same old game again if Iwas a graphics whore I would probaly buy it but really if ur not THEN WHATS THE POINT? if u dont already have go of war 1 and 2 u should get this but who doesent? I bought Bully: Scholarship Edition after I beat Bully twice but I though that was worth it because It wasnt that big of a deal but when ur that big of a fan u dont really care all u care is that it says god of war on the case so u want it and im sure there will be people who will buy god of war collection and love it but really Ide rather them just focus on god of war 3 make that a better game and decrease its relase dat we r also seeing this with metroid prime collection but really I dont think it means much especailly since microsoft released xbox originals which I think is cool and like to play halo 1 on it but y play 1 when I can play 3 and ODST ya 1 had a great story and good local coop but u cant play firefight (horde/survival ripoff) mode on it and its not online so really at the end of the day halo 3 and ODST wins BTW I dont think downloadable content is going to take over much but I think psn wiiware and xbla r cool and ya the psp go is coming out but until they put another analog stick on that thing I aint buyin I think downloadable content is going to go far but never far enough to take over video games hell they still sell CDs with itunes being so popular so I doubt it will work out that great with video games

    Posted: September 29, 2009 4:40 PM
  • skywalker18

    I strongly disagree with sessler because you the importance of BC is that with bc you have so many great that was still on the market like MGS, the final fantasy collection PS/Ps2 and other good games like the Nfl madden games,ninja: shadow of darkness It was awsome!!!. So I do care about the whole game, and I to put into terms without the bc of those cool games you are not realizing the point. Their is no video game scene happening in the world and it will just die with every game we have all played throughout our whole lives. In closing I am just talking about one bc game console but all consoles in video game history

    Posted: September 10, 2009 6:56 AM
  • Lochcelious

    Backwards compatibility = nearly pointless. I love the idea, but while I also see the issue of owning multiple game systems (taking up space, etc.), it is hard to emulate many types of older games. Imagine, like Mr. Sessler says, in the future, when we have, say the Xbox 1080. The amount of coding that will need to go in just for that system may be massive, and more likely than not will be significantly different than the 360's code, making it complicated. I never enjoyed playing Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with a PS2 controller anyhow; I want the big Genesis pad.

    Posted: September 10, 2009 1:48 AM
  • MarkVI

    Well, this is an interesting topic. I personallyr eally like backwards compatability because I do play a lot of my old games over again. I still play through my FF games from PS One, Harvest Moon, Fable, Halo and so forth.

    As for DLC. I don't like that idea at all. I want something physical that I can say is mine, something where if it breaks or stops working, it's my fault. If everything becomes digital and is only downloadable (including all media) then we are limited by the relaiability of servers, connections, and networks. Perfect example, Netflix streaming, it's a great service, I use it frequently, but occasionally it's faulty and I'm unable to use it.

    I still buy CD's from the store, hell I still by vinyl from the record shops. Maybe I'm just old school.

    Posted: September 8, 2009 8:00 PM
  • shatteredwings

    I think that backward compatibility should die along with the disk.
    first no disk's will allow developers to truly give a game there all.
    second the price of a game will drop to $30 which in this economy would triple the sell's of many games.

    most of all a disk-less future will lead us one step closer to a one console world.
    of course we first must wait for technology to catch up to our need's, most of all for this to happen
    either Microsoft, Nintendo, or Sony will need to make a 100TB hard drive or better yet store the games on a massive server and truly make them "on demand"

    personally I don't play my old games anymore except for the games I bought for my 360(joust, sonic etc)so I think that a disk-less future will happen, when? that's still to be seen.

    Posted: September 6, 2009 10:12 PM
  • Otsdarva

    In the majority of cases, I do agree with Adam here. The prospect of playing old titles on a new console is prefferable, but simply not worth the added cost, which is innevitably passed on to the consumer. However, there is one major example I would like to bring up: Nintendo.

    Nintendo's current success with the Wii can be attributed unequivicably to its popularity among casual/non-gamers. However, the level of respect the company holds among more hardcore gamers is not of the same source, and can be attributed to the quality and reverance of their OLD games.

    When Adams says that there aren't many games that he'd want to still play that are generations old, his sentiment is shared among many people, but probaly not so much with fans of classic Nintendo, who's old games, in many cases, provide a higher level of enjoyment than their new ones.

    Posted: September 6, 2009 2:33 PM
  • shredfan7

    I don't think Sony minds having no backwards compatibility since they can sell the old, and new Ps3's as well as our old friend the ps2, same idea with PSP slim, and psp go. Why sell one console and one handheld when you can sell 2 of each! And since both have their good points and bad it leaves many consumers to still purchase almost a decade old technology. Since the PS3 is so advanced i'm sure they could implement a ps2 emulator, but they wouldn't make any cash doing that. Re-releasing games for purchase and download is the only way its gonna go. Nice input Adam, some points i didn't see before as well! Keep'em coming!

    Posted: September 5, 2009 5:15 PM
  • REmaster0514

    adam, i argee with you that games should be refited and updated but there is a beauty of having a game from a start and i would like to go back years later and play the original mass effect and feel the same way about it as i do now but with much more understanding that this is what was and not now. i think games will be downloadable but even when i play the original resident evil i feel a even better experience than i do when i play 5. games will evolve but lets not forget the past.

    Posted: September 5, 2009 1:30 AM

    I have to agree with Adam, BC, as an act of charity, is pretty much finis. The Down-loadable BC games are the future, a way the companies can offer a form backward compatibility, AND turn a profit. As for myself; I find there's nothing quite like playing the old games on the original hardware. Regarding new, improved versions of old games; well, that sort revision seemed to work quite well for George Lucas and his original Star Wars movie trilogy.

    Posted: September 4, 2009 5:20 PM
  • pazuzu414

    The negative connotations applied to pedantry should be eliminated. It suggests, for the most part, careful thought by the pendant.

    Posted: September 4, 2009 1:35 PM
  • Heartland

    I think Downloading OLD SCHOOL games will be a hit. Being a Final Fantasy fan, I've always wanted to play FFVII but when their on eBay for like $200, yeah right! I like how its now download-able from the console. I think that Adam is right... that if corporations don't interfere too much, then all games will be download-able which means that these stories in these games can go on with expansion packs and stuff like that so I think it makes everyone a winner, unless of course (like Adam said) for the retailers. But it is economic.

    This guy is really looking ahead! Best in G4TV, and the only reason why i watch it.

    Posted: September 4, 2009 11:31 AM
  • Ignae

    Just a Tip, about the two screens on the back, many times i enjoy watching them while you talk, but the games always look blueish and sometimes dark, how bout moving the hue a bit? it wont look so good for you but your audience would appreciate it. cheers!

    Posted: September 4, 2009 7:51 AM
  • shrekgriffin

    You make a compelling argument. I have to say that the driving force for "BC" is money. Why put "BC" into a system that will not show profit for the business when you can charge for an updated version of an old game?

    Posted: September 3, 2009 7:46 PM
  • poopypoops

    you guys bitch too much. seriously if you have lots of ps2 games the chances are that you have a ps2 why does it matter if you can play it on your ps3? you can play it on your ps2. Play the game again for the game not how it looks.

    Posted: September 3, 2009 5:54 PM
  • zlo2

    I agree with Adam on this one. It seems that a lot of people like the idea of backwards compatibility but in reality, its a very small minority that actually uses it. I know quite a few people who got the original 60Gb PS3 when it first came out because they thought they'd be playing all their PS2 games on it. Today, with all the great PS3 games coming out every month, they completely forgot it about their old games.
    Yes, I know, nostalgia is a bitch but let's face it, old games aren't that good. When I look back at the games I played 5 years ago - they were pretty bad (with few exceptions). I say, forget BC and move on, luddites.

    Posted: September 3, 2009 5:48 PM