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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  • Archeangel2009

    Of all the Soapboxes that have been released there has always been a question that kinda nagged at my brain, and that is, just what exactly do you hate most about the video game CULTURE / INDUSTRIE? Is it that we are regarded like a buch of sophomoric asses by main stream culture? or is it that inventive and creavtive games like psychonaughts sell poorly against knuckle dragging juggernauts like halo? or is it the asinine morons on multi-player games such as TF2 and C&C?

    Well whatever the resolve i hope to hear some good response to my question.

    Posted: September 3, 2009 4:12 PM
  • RookieBrawler

    I find it exceptionally ironic that while I'm watching this video, I'm also waiting for the mail truck to pull up with my long awaited copy of "Spider-Man 2" for Xbox which I deliberately purchased since my 360 just got a backwards compat update.

    Adam, let me just say that I plead for backwards compatibilty becasue I want to go back live all the old experinces I missed out on. I never had an Xbox, but now I have a 360, there are some games which I've really been dying to try out, now I have that opportunity.

    If games are art, then in certain ways they can transcend the barriers of time. I still love to play old games, just because it's new, doesn't mean it's definately superior.

    Posted: September 3, 2009 2:22 PM
  • Handcannon

    I hate to say it, but I'm going to need to disagree with you Adam. Though I understand that you might not take out your old systems and play them again every day, as a college student who can't always afford to buy every new game I would like to, I actually use my ps2, my gamecube, and others alongside my new 360 and so on.
    Also, with the 360 in particular, it's a frustration that microsoft had promised backwards compatability and then somewhat half-assed the effort to continue to add games to the BC catalogue that they promise they are still working on. However, I bought the system under the promise microsoft made to update the BC catalogue which they haven't done in god knows how long. With limited space at school and a communal desire to play games it's a frustration to have lots of people having to bring lots of systems to the dorm and to actually be able to get everyone set up. Also, though I like the idea of companies updating old titles and polishing them up to introduce them to a new audience, I just like to be able to play the games that i paid them for rather than have them rerelease games I already own.
    Sorry to be so martial about that and sorry if i sounded entitled to you, but it's been a personal frustration of mine. >_> ;

    Posted: September 3, 2009 1:08 PM
  • Peetachimp3

    hey adam.
    you know man some people think nothing but BC on next gen systems. I mean dont get me wrong, i love my 360 and the fact i can play FF7 on my ps3 but it really isn't what it's for. i completely agree with you when it comes to not wanting to hook up a bunch of systems over and over to play one game, and indeed it truely is convient. I currently work at Gamestop and all i hear people talk about is can the new ps3's play ps2 games. It gets annoying and i tell them they shouldnt focus on the BC stuff. they need to focus on the future of gaming like all the exclusive's like uncharted, resistance, killzone, metal gear. i mean sure the games are cheaper but why live in the past.

    Posted: September 3, 2009 8:16 AM
  • Postal1111

    I still play Diablo 1 on my playstation, does that count?

    Posted: September 3, 2009 6:44 AM
  • Kratier

    Kratier's comment is abusive and has been removed.

    Posted: September 3, 2009 5:01 AM
  • sucker0059

    I have to agree with Sessler on this one. I like the revamp on some of these games and you can download them off live. Original xbox games are fun to play occasionally, but I like the aspect of the achievement system on the 360 which you cant get when you play the old xbox games. Also I think its kind of fun to be able to download games like Marvel V. Capcom 2 of the live network and have the ability to get achievements for them. So the need for backwards compatability isnt really needed if you can just download the game off live

    Posted: September 2, 2009 11:41 PM
  • tvj2004

    Say what you want Adam, but I bought my PS3 for many reasons and B/C was one of them. This downloadable title idea can only go so far. From the company's POV, there are millions out there that don't have reliable internet (some don't have any at all) because of where they reside.

    Yet, I digress...I can't download Twisted Metal: Black or Shadow of the Colossus. But what if I want to play those games again. I have them in my collection. I paid for them. I should be able to play them w/o buying them again (unless the games has been remastered or something). How can I solve this dilemma? Oh look, my PS3 can play them. Thanks Sony! Its almost like you know your customers. And what about when I want to go back and play a classic RPG. The only one available for download right now, that I want to play, is FF7...no ChronoTrigger, no KOTOR, no FF8-10, etc.

    The point is...ppl still use backwards compatibility, mainly those who are on their 3rd or 4th generation of consoles. Some are more vocal than others but this is not a minority of ppl that should be compared to those L4D ppl. Collections build, Adam. I've been gaming since '89. I have a small collection of PS1 and PS2 games saved up. And I'm not the only one who wants to play every once in a while.

    The only reason why I think this is a debate is because unlike Sony and Nintendo...The New Competitor: Microsoft is only on its 2nd console. There wasn't a significant amount of demand of M$ to say, "We gotta have B/C." M$ only has one library of games archived. But Sony and Nintendo has games over a decade old. Their customers want a way to play their older games. By the time the XBox720 comes out, I guarantee that M$ will have some strategy in place to play all those old 360 games.

    I'm not saying that newer consoles have to physically be able to play the old discs. But I do think that there should be SOMETHING in place to allow consumers to play their own games.

    Posted: September 2, 2009 11:09 PM
  • dehlman1

    great point adam

    Posted: September 2, 2009 10:23 PM
  • AnonymouZero

    As i said on one of those posts. I was BIG on BC, and spend 450 bucks because like some posters here, i still have some unfinished business with some ps2 games. However, Oblivion alone kept me from ps2 games and gtaiV did the same. For about a year i didn't even use BC. And when i finally put in a ps2 game, it was on my ps2 because a storm had fried my ps3.

    It is a big issue, but once you buy the next gen, you really don't have the "time" to look back on older games.

    So... ya, i agree with the whole digital downloads as replacement of BC. However, even if i didn't use it as much.... i do like to have that option. Entitlement my arse, i dont' wanna have composite cables running on my HD tv. They look like crap.

    Posted: September 2, 2009 9:44 PM
  • Ifrid

    I Agree with you Adam. Good job man.. :)

    Posted: September 2, 2009 9:24 PM
  • codesloth

    Game consoles are great however they are moving into a gray area. Todays systems are costing as much as entry level computers. Why is that a big deal? Most computers are backwardly compatible in over 90% of the features and functionality. If you ask someone to drop 400 buck on hardware then ask them to spend 10 to 15 bucks more per game only to have them throw it all away in 3 years is a pretty hard pill to swallow.

    I had some thoughts on why the 360 wasn't more backward compatibly at launch: Why did they slowly add more and more games to the list? Then aventually just place the games on XBox Live? I think it was CASH FLOW. To much backward compatiliby and it might soften early sales. After all they had already shutdown Xbox production months before the 360 hit the street. But no backward compatilibity would remove to may check boxes from their feature list can't have that so they threw the customers a bone. However the demand for the older games didn't go away so they released them on Xbox live to siphon even more money from their customers and it worked. It was a test to see what they could get away with.

    It is like they looked at the computer gaming industry and said wow look at all these great features.... multiplayer, backward compatibility, in game chat, social networks, game rooms etc. Then asked themselves how can we make money on this and god bless them they did it. Tons of kids got their parents to pay for the new system, new controllers, new services, new games and all was good until the systems start eating themselves (but that is a different story).

    Then you take Sony which seems to be able to screw almost anything up as of late. They did a few things really well backward compatibility being one of them. Then lost direction, sales and market share then started changing anything and everything to figure out how to top the bleeding. To say that one of the things they did right was a cause of the disappointing sales is pretty hard to believe. Did it make the system more expensive? Not by much. The Blu-Ray was costing them way more in the beginning and I don't see anyone calling for them to remove it. Why because it was one more thing they did right and help drove sales.

    It would be an interesting experiment if they had backward compatibility as an option with an associated price. Then we would have the data we need to answer this question with some degree certainty.

    Until then consumers should expect backward compatibility. It's this slow chipping away at peoples expectations that allow the manufactures to give us less and less while asking for us to pay more.

    Posted: September 2, 2009 9:08 PM
  • teac77

    Remastering PS2 games can be very lucrative for Sony and the 3rd parties who have made PS2 games in the past.

    Example: I believe that Team Ico's title "The Last Guardian" for PS3 would receive a great boon to the new game's development if they would give the same "remastering" treatment to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.

    I'm NOT about to buy a PS2 for the sake of a few titles I missed along the line, for a console that is not really supported anymore. I AM willing to buy Ico/Shadow of the Colossus in 720p at 60fps, on a blu-ray disk.

    Besides, PS2 games played at 480i look like garbage on larger screens.

    Posted: September 2, 2009 9:06 PM
  • eamercenary

    There are so many old games that I can't play to day that I miss like ES 3: morrowind that game was buggy as hell, it froze a lot, but at the eime it had great graphics as a FP RPG at the time on the xbox and had so many quests and a strong story I sometimes pull out my old xbox and play it for a few days. Backwards compatablity isn't bad but in the vase of morrowing it would still be glitchy and freeze alot. Imagine classics like Kotor, a few FF, any classic zelda, or the first three MGS running on the technology today.

    Posted: September 2, 2009 9:05 PM
  • crwatkins

    I think Adam kind of misses the biggest point of BC on consoles, and that is many people have already made a large investment into something and they want to retain what they have put money into. I would say that once you bought a disc, that should be enough. That's the great thing about Steam, you buy the game once, enter the Key into Steam, and now you have that game always. The safe bet is that if Sony gets their act together and starts using the PSN to sell classic games, they will not offer a system where you can mail them your old PS and PS2 games to those games added to your PSN account. This will result in many people eventually being forced into buying old systems in the resell market so they can play their old games once their original system takes the ghost or will have to purchase the game again just so they can download the digital distribution version on the newest console.

    Also, to wrap this up, I think taking the time to "remake" a game on a new engine or to catch up with current television resolutions is all fine and good as long as it's kind of a top tier game. I mean, I enjoyed the first .hack game on the PS2, but I would punch anyone in the face if they took the time to completely remaster it instead of making a new game which could be good. If we're not careful, video games are going to go even more the way of Hollywood. Soon we won't just have endless sequels, but crappy complete remakes that no one wanted that star Steve Martin.

    Posted: September 2, 2009 7:52 PM
  • Luigiview

    I want to play old games in the future, and the thing is that you can use your old console but, what if it does not work after some years being in the basement? all your loved games will remain in your memory? It's got to be like the music, even now you can put a Beatles CD and hear them again. Maybe some day I want to show my little kid how to play MGS 1 or 2. And I think the technology gotta be able to make that easy, right?

    Posted: September 2, 2009 7:44 PM
  • Jack7238

    I want to always be able to play old games on it, although if I want to play old games, I just keep my old consoles. As adam said, it's kind of difficult to have to haul out old consoles and such.

    Posted: September 2, 2009 7:12 PM
  • blaksinger

    I say forget the backward compatibility! I haven't played a ps2 game since I got my PS3. You want to play an old game, then pull out the hardware it was designed for. Sure, it might be nice to kick it old school with a game of Rachet or MGS2, but in all actuality, game hardware has progressed a long way since those games were made and an equally enjoyable experience (arguably better) awaits you in the land of the current generation. Truth be told, even now we are seeing the old PS1 games converted to PSP and sold via digital distribution. It won't be long before the same is happening with PS2 games. Backward compatibility is a relic of the past. Let it stay there and welcome the digital revolution! Vive la esprits innovateurs!

    Posted: September 2, 2009 7:02 PM
  • Covnam

    Well you usually make a good point and I normally to agree with your soapbox vids, but I can't agree with this one. Personally, I have a lot of unplayed PS2 games that I'm slowly working my way though. I have no reason to get a PS3 right now if it can't play PS2 games. There's nothing on the console enough to warrant a purchase when I have so much else to play. It wasn't worth it when the system was $600 when the price was high because of features like blu-ray, but now for $300 it's definitely worth it. There are benefits to playing PS2 games on the PS3 as well like upscaling, memory storage.
    I think a lot of the fury over the PS3 not having backwards compatibility any more has to do with the fact that it was originally included and then taken out. Especially after it was a touted feature.
    At the very least, Sony could make a more expensive version (say $350 to encourage the purchase over a PS3+PS2) or make a hardware add-on that provides the same functionality. Put the choice in the consumers hands. I hardly think saying that few people were purchasing a $600 system for backwards compatibility is really a valid point.

    Posted: September 2, 2009 6:50 PM
  • sion8

    he never mention the Wii VC, because it has most(or some) of th 3rd, 4fh, and 5fh generation, so his rigth about DL old games.

    Posted: September 2, 2009 6:44 PM