Backwards Compatibility is Not Having to Pay For Games Again

2 min

There really is something to be said for being a loyal customer and supporting a company through years and years of products, including newer and more expensive ones every few years. That is the life of being a videogame enthusiast; you get roped into purchasing new consoles every few years while your old system has been rendered obsolete and all of the cool new games are heading to the new system. Sure, there is always that couple of month buffer where those toned down versions of games get released for the older system, but it never feels the same and it feels like you are being fed table scraps for not supporting the newest and best.

Since we’ve moved on to being entirely disc and digital games the idea of backwards compatibility has been one that we’ve been talking about for a while now. If anything, it was a trend that was begun by Sony with the PlayStation 2 having the ability to play original PlayStation titles on the system, with there even being options to upscale the older games and do some anti-aliasing on them. All of a sudden with the PlayStation 3 the concept of backwards compatibility became a premium before it was phased out entirely. Why? Because you are still willing to go out and purchase a new PlayStation 2 to play those old games of yours, or because you’ll just repurchase the game’s re-release just to play it again.

Sure, in a way, complaining about lack of backwards compatibility seems like a first world problem if there ever was one. It wasn’t like you could jam a NES cartridge into a SNES or N64 and play those games, but we do live in a new era of digital and modern consoles are getting more and more powerful. It just seems like a natural thing, as older consoles and games are only supported for so long while a newer version is on the market; why not let us play our older games on your newer system?

Of course it comes down to money and how developers, publishers and even the hardware manufacturers want to make more of it. If you go out and purchase an old copy of Ghosts’n Ghouls right now there is zero chance that Capcom will see a dime of that money, but if they were to put it up online for a few bucks, they’d see money from that. That is the model that we are seeing more and more now with games that could easily be played on modern consoles but are simply not supported.

Wednesday saw the big unveiling of the PlayStation 4 and there has been talk about how Gaikai will integrate with the system and how older games will be “streamed” to your console in the future, but until then you can always play them on Sony’s cloud service. My only real problem with this is that many are claiming that this makes the PS4 “backwards compatible,” when the reality is, if I have my PlayStation 2 disc of Fire Pro Wrestling Returns, chances are that I won’t be able to play it on my PlayStation 4. That is, of course, unless it is released on their service and I am allowed to pay for it, again, then play it.

That isn’t backwards compatibility, that is me purchasing a game again.

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  1. Nice article exactly the reason why it was taken out of ps3 so they could sell them all over again with digital copies on the psn store and HD remaster collections. More profit in preventing backwards play than allowing it. Sad but true.

    1. Sad but not true, it’s because they were selling the console for $600 and nobody wanted that. The only reason they got it down to $300 is because they had to use cost-cutting measures like taking out the extra processors required for backwards compatibility.

      1. I think that it is a little of column A and a little from column B, sadly.

        For a while they were definitely happy to keep selling PS2s and then were able to make some money selling PS2 classics on PSN. Maybe I’m not trusting, but I just think that even if they could give backwards compatibility that they wouldn’t at this point, because it’s proven that consumers will repurchase games.

        1. @google-8018350041657d8273edfa8e7382d76b:disqus The facts really don’t spell that out. The PS3 was on life support and Sony had to take drastic measures to make it profitable (or at least not such a blood bath).

          Just because a company does something to secure more profits doesn’t make them evil.

          Why do you want Sony to spend more time trying to make last gen games work in your next gen system? I would hope that they would put their focus into delivering a top notch next gen experience.

          The fact is if there is a PS5 it will likely be x86 based and Backwards Compatibility shouldn’t be a huge issue. The are moving away from the Cell and to x86, the codebase compatible with the Cell doesn’t run on the x86 CPU and would require a complete overhaul.

          Perhaps one day they will offer a software emulator and or streaming via the cloud.

          1. They may have been on early life support then why since didn’t they introduce a software emulation firmware update since. Its been long known that they have a copyrighted patent for such an application for the ps3 but have never implemented it. Why, because they can make users buy the games all over again on the psn store and hd remasters.

          2. @ed4833c3244ef89e2207fb178426db4c:disqus

            The fact is Backwards Compatibility is feature that is asked for much more than it is used. I had a backward compatible (hardware level) PS3. I owned all the God of Wars but I still got the God of War Origins because they looked better, played better and they had trophy support, etc.

            You just as Dave Walsh above are being presumptuous. The feature wasn’t largely used and overall Sony wasted precious engineering resources delivering PS2 compatibility to the PS3.

            So what if they have an emulator “copyrighted”. That doesn’t mean it works that well. Do you even have a remote idea on how emulators work? Making the PS2 compatible with the PS3 is a much bigger task than creating an Arcade ROM emulator. Making the PS3 compatible with the PS4 is exponentially harder. You don’t know what you are talking about here, so please stop being so presumptuous it only showcases your ignorance (with all due respect).

            I believe all PS3s will accept PS1 discs. They were able to do nearly seamless PS1 emulation. Why isn’t Sony “forcing” people to buy the PSN versions? 😛

            In regards to Sony “making users buy games over and over again”, I wasn’t aware they were creators of Mind Control technology. I have a mind of my own and can make up my own mind which games are the best value to me. Suggesting there is some conspiracy afoot is silly. 😛

            The fact is so far the HD Remakes / Upscales have been a great deal. Usually you get between 2-3 games for $40 with additional features that were not available when the game was released. Online that works way better than the PS2 days. These games are ported by developers and it’s not a turnkey process.

            There are far more PS3s without Backward Compatibility than there are WITH Backward Compatibility, that alone should tell you something. The system really didn’t start selling until after they shed that feature. Which added additional expense at the hardware level and took away development resources on the software level.

            I don’t know if you guys noticed but we have had a sh!t economy for some time now. Had there been more disposable income to go around these features may have been more valuable to people. When you buy a PS4 and you have a PS3 its really hard to make a case that you require backward compatibility.

            It be nice to have, but far too costly to implement in the PS4.

          3. If you think Sony or any game maker for that matter care about the economy and how much you should be saving then you better think again. Then why would they constantly be releasing games with heaps of dlc from day one, more collector editions of games than ever before, over priced digital content and so on. They are a business and profit is their main concern. Also just because things like this are said it does not mean people hate Sony etc. it just means they are not blind and can see that consumers are more and more losing their rights and strangely enough it seems that their are people like you that do not care and are actually defending those companies that wish to take their freedoms away.

          4. @e7edef712548b43b7e889bae2fe043a0:disqus Does Jack Trentton come to your house and put a gun to your head and tell you to buy it all?


            They constantly release games because that is there business, just like musicians constantly releasing music and going on tours. You know how a free market economy works right?

            DLC is a response to monetize the used game sales, without an online pass developers and publishers don’t see any monies from a used product that often competes beside their brand new product.

            Profit is a concern, but they have to be concerned about the customers and the stock holders. Like I said Jack Tretton doesn’t force anyone to buy anything (the only people who can legitimately take your money by force is the Government). Sony has to put out a product that the customers like (they have competition and PLENTY OF IT) and brings the company value so the stockholders are happy, in the middle they have to keep the employees happy with competitive salaries and benefits package.

            The reason you have so many gaming options and even various packages to the games is because the publishers and developers are trying their best to keep people employed. I don’t know where you have been, but the past 6+ years in gaming have been a bloodbath to developers and publishers. Sure COD and Assassins Creed has done well but they are the norm at all.

            How can Sony take your freedom away? Jesus who raised you Karl Marx? From the way it sounds I have forgotten more about economics than you ever learned.

          5. Relax this is not a personal attack, they did not say something about your mom. Why get so abusive over a game company can’t you have a civil response.

          6. @499a22fde4ebb35ff90c33277cbf4af9:disqus I get offended by people showcasing their ignorance and just making wild assumptions about things they obviously have no understanding of.

            It was an intellectual attack, it hurt my brain to hear what he had to say. 🙂

            The fact is his comment wasn’t civil to begin with. It was a knee jerk reaction devoid of intellectual scrutiny.

            “Sony is trying to take our freedoms away.” <- does that not make your brain hurt a little bit? It really should! 🙂

          7. @499a22fde4ebb35ff90c33277cbf4af9:disqus Pointing out where someone is factually and technically wrong isn’t an attack.

          8. @e7edef712548b43b7e889bae2fe043a0:disqus (continued from below)…

            Look I am not suggesting that all companies are pure as the driven snow, but usually there are options if you don’t like company A work with company B.

            I am just saying that this whole Cell -> x86 backwards compatibility thing is really engineering level stuff that most developers can’t even approach.

            Also I bet this would require very low level coding (maybe Assembler) but it is very hard to find that kind of programmer these days. Software packages (such as Unreal) are doing a very good job of being optimized and thus the low-level coders aren’t needed at the developer level like they were in the PS2 days (when development packages were not as optimized).

          9. No if someone doesnt suck off sony’s cum, they hate sony and they are dumb, tahts what this moronic fanboy believes.

          10. How come you admit that ps3 was a failure?

            Anyway you are a moron, now tell me how do you feel about stalking now that you know what is really like?

            You asked for this dumb kiddo. Enjoy it. I know i will.

  2. You are making some presumptuous there. They very well could detect the disc in the tray and allow access to the game via the cloud for no charge.

    1. Your dreaming if you think no charge. Just look at what Sony did with old psp games when transferring to vita. There will be a small cost at the very least.

      1. @614a0e862faf7694303c5fcce7b7f606:disqus Having access to the cloud at that level will be a subscription service, Sony would be hard press to sell the service that charged you to play the games you physically still own. Let’s be reasonable.

        The old PSP games to Vita thing never really happened in the USA. That situation is completely different though because with PS3 games you will have the disc in the PS4. There was no way to put a PSP disc into a PS Vita. So your analogy doesn’t work here at all.

  3. if you already have the digital version of the game, when it arrives to the ps4 store, you will have the same account, so the games you already bought, will be available for download at no additional cost.

      1. If they do PS3 in the cloud everything is on the table. PSN games don’t pose any more challenge than a disc based game.

      2. psn natively wont be available for the PS4. but with gaikai, or emulation when it is eventually featured in the PS4 psn store, if you already bought it for PS3, you will be able to play it or stream it at no charge.

        the game is attached to your PSN account.

  4. After talking with many of my “Hardcore PlayStation Gamer” friends
    and post seeing the PlayStation 4 announcement, we have come up with a list of
    concerns we have. It would be greatly appreciated it you could pass this
    list on to the proper channels.

    1. Removal of the Start and Select buttons – While we all agree that
    the new controller is stunning and beautifully designed, one of the smaller
    problems we had with it was the lack of start and select.
    “Options” is not sufficient in attempting to play any old game on the
    console. Playing older games threw Gaikai or otherwise might prove to be
    impossible without these buttons. Storngly recomend you change
    “options” back to Start and Select.

    2. Backward Compatibility – We cannot fathom why this was not
    important to Sony, as it was a major issue with the PS3 launch. (Most of
    us have kept the original PlayStation 3 for that reason) If you cannot
    include the hardware to run PS1, PS2, and PS3 games please allow the PS4 to
    obtain the software emulate them. With 8 GB of memory, this should not be
    a problem. Gaikai is nice, but with large collections of PS1, PS2 and PS3
    games, we would like to use them on the new system.

    Or if nothing else, release a high end SKU of the PS4 with backwards
    compatibility, we are sure many of your loyal fans would appreciate (and
    purchase) this.

    2.5 Along with the “backwards compatibility” section,
    we believe it would be a smart move for Sony to allow the Dualshock 3
    controllers to connect with the PS4 as well. This would be great for
    anyone converting from a PlayStation 3 to a PlayStation 4 and does not have the
    money to purchase extras as well as a sign of good faith from the PlayStation

    3. Social Features – While posting your trophies or connecting to Facebook
    and various other social mediums throgh PlayStation are good ideas, please make
    all of these optional. Many of the core gamers have no interest in these
    features and many, myself included do not use social networking at all. Thefore
    if it were mandaoty we could not play games.

    4. New Friends Methodology – While we found the idea of expanding
    upon the friends page interesting, we appreciated the privacy that PS3
    provided. DO NOT FORCE users to create accounts with their picture and
    name. Once again, we stress, please make this optional.

    5. New Operating System – The XMB was perfect. Logically laid out with
    every application categorized into a sub category. Because of this, it
    was both intuitive and easy to use. While we only received a quick glimpse,
    the new operating system, seems to make far less sense. Please allow
    customization so the more logically minded among us can use the new system with
    ease as well. Perhaps an optional interface, closer to the PSVITA’s?

    6. Camera – While this new Camera could be used for some interesting
    moments and ideas in gaming. DO NOT make it mandatory. Many of us
    do not nor have we ever liked motion or camera based games. Please DO NOT
    require a camera to use the new controllers.

    7. Intuitive Downloads – Many of us, like to select games with no
    pattern or complete randomness, and in doing so do not like games to be
    downloaded for us. This idea is a good one, but once again it should be

    8. Ideas – With 8 Gigs of memory the PlayStation 4 is the perfect time
    for cross game voice chat, PSN ID tagged controllers, and a system that allows
    users to play music at all time along with the game they are playing.
    Doing this would help PlayStation, to also become a hub for entertainment.

    P.S. it would be really cool if the “PS” button on the center of
    the Dualshock 4 light up red. This would make it more iconic.

    In conclusion, we have come to the consensus that while we enjoy many of the
    new PlayStation features we hope that you will consider adding some more and
    that you leave some optional. Aside from that you should know: keep up the
    great work! The specs are spectacular, we couldn’t have asked for a better
    controller (almost) and the game line up looks awesome.

  5. Why don’t we petition Sony for a high ended SKU with backwards Compatibility? (with 8 gb of memory this should not be hard to emulate (PS1 and PS2 wise)

  6. This is a feature that would show a sign of good faith toward the PlayStation family. At least give us a high ended version when it comes out so some can get it

    1. That means the cost of the PS4 + the cost of the Cell + the cost of the engineering resources needed to make those two place nice in the same package + the cost of support of an additional model + the cost to your economy of scale by having an additional model + etc + etc + etc

      There are so many variables none of you are considering here. I can understand wishing that you can have this feature but saying things such as “PS3 compatibility would be a great sign of good faith” means that you have no idea what is involved with delivering a feature such as that.

      The Cell CPU and x86 have very little in common, emulation would be a very difficult task, adding all the costs above is not an option this generation. Sony needs to sell a lean mean machine.

      I am not trying to be a Debbie downer here but what you guys want will just cost too much to be a viable option. It sucks but that is the reality.

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