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Sony and Microsoft align to turn backs on backwards compatability

ps2It became clear this week that backwards compatability took an official backseat in the next-generation console wars. With Sony's dropping of the PS2 emotion-engine chip from the PS3, Sony is putting most of its marbles into new content. Microsoft seems to be following Sony's lead as well, telling a gathering of industry bloggers at GDC that further development on bringing remaining Xbox games over to the 360 would be coming to a close: "When you get to the end of this year there will be a reduced focus on backwards compatibility. There are so many 360 games out there. I don't know if it's important anymore."

MS and Sony sure are singing the same tune on this one. Phil Harrison also told folks at GDC that backwards compatibility isn't what gamers want anymore:
"I think the reasons why people buy PS3s are the new games that it offers, and the HD content experiences provided by games and movies, the opportunity to access the PlayStation Network."

Those opinions are great, but what do the gamers actually think? Instead of hearing from Sony and MS execs about the importance of backwards compatibility, let's hear from you... the actual gamer and buyer of these consoles. Is backwards compatability no longer an issue? Do you not care that this feature is being "pulled?" Let us know!

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1. What they don't realize is that backwards compatibility gives you brand loyalty, a marketing dream. Not only that, but people that actually own a PS2 (or an Xbox) would have jumped ship much faster than they did (if they did, or they're planning to). Xbox could have an install base a little bigger (Every console sold counts (but not every broken console)). Same goes for PS3.

One of the reasons I'll get a Wii eventually faster than I would, is that it plays all my gamecube games; of course, that and its features, but it's always good to have BC. PC is BC!! At least for now.

Posted at 10:13AM on Mar 10th 2007 by bootsielon

2. Sony is dropping that component of the PS3 and using a emulator to run old games.The PS3 will still play old games, it'll just do it with different parts of the playstation.

Posted at 10:21AM on Mar 10th 2007 by b33

3. To #2: Get your facts straight before opening your mouth. Instead of the thousands (literally, I believe the number was 5500) of PS1 and PS2 games able to be played on the PS3, that number will drop to most likely 0 PS1 and 100-200 (maybe) PS2 games. If the difference there needs to be explained to you, go back to 1st grade. Yes, BC is a HUGE factor, for both companies, but even more so for sony. There are maybe 5 PS3 games worth playing. A back catalog helps soften that $600 blow. I am VERY glad I got a first-run console now. It's actually worth $600 IMO now. What they will be selling next month will not be. A major factor in this, I'm sure, is so they can charge you $6 a pop for PS1 games, which you would have no reason to buy if you could just play the physical discs. That's why I'm guessing that there will be NO PS1 compatability with the new systems. Which is kind of funny, because they will have to write a PS1 emulator in order to allow the downloaded PS1 games to run on the PS3... If the launch console had had crippled BC back in November, I wouldn't have even considered paying $600 for it. And for that matter, I am severely dissappointed in MS abandoning BC, but I don't know why I'm surprised that MS lied about something.

Posted at 10:36AM on Mar 10th 2007 by Eric

4. Eric, you are the one with who has the facts wrong. Sony has promised that over 1000 PS2 games will be BC at the PAL launch and almost every PS1 game will be as well. Sony has also announced that in a new firmware update they will make it possible for the PS3 to play the PS1 games available from the PSStore that can now only be played on PSP.

Posted at 10:45AM on Mar 10th 2007 by Harold

5. Harold +1
Eric -1

Posted at 10:48AM on Mar 10th 2007 by ps3fanboyassasin

6. bwahahhaaa!!

*thumbs up harold*

PS: don't care about BC

Posted at 10:52AM on Mar 10th 2007 by Sin Adam

7. Eric, you also need to get your facts straight before you open your mouth.

1000+ PS2 games will play on Europe on day one, and nearly 100% of PS1 games will play. Are there 5500 PS2 games? No, that's 5500 SKUs. But the amount of SKUs isn't the same as amount of games. A lot of those games are repeated because USA, Japan and the EU have different SKUs for each game. There are about 2000 games for USA and EU (more or less), and about 4000 in japan (it doesn't sound like I made my calculations right, but some titles weren't released in Japan, and as you can see, many weren't in EU and USA; but that'll change now that every PS3 can play every PS3 worldwide game).

So it'll be around 1000 games of the European union, which could mean more games in Japan, for those games that don't surpass the boundaries of the PS2 (and honestly, how many of those niche games in Japan will?).

Anyway, we still have to see which games don't play. If all the best sellers, OK sellers, great franchises, and especially cult classics (these are the hardest to get, probably, since they don't sell a lot), then that's probably all we need. Why would anyone want backwards compatibility on games that didn't sell AND sucked at the same time?

I'm probably never playing "StarFox Adventures" on my Wii, neither Kessen nor Summoner on my PS2 even though I have them well kept. Probably not Fantavision either.

And by the way, Ed Stasick, is "compatability" another word for compatibility? ;) Just messin' with ya. (or who knows, maybe I'm an ignorant and that's another way of writing it... after all, you're the journalist here)

Posted at 10:55AM on Mar 10th 2007 by bootsielon

8. Oops. Took me so long to write, that Harold answered. Oh well.

Posted at 10:56AM on Mar 10th 2007 by bootsielon

9. at least we're not getting totaly boned over by the approach sony is taking, on 360 ms requires a hard drive and a per game patch that will only work for a couple hundred of "the most popular games". using while sony takes a approach of making the system more like a ps2 via software so a per download patch shouldn't be required, just your normal system updates. this fact alone tells me that sony at least cares about making available BC more accessible and broad in scope than "under promising" and "over delevering"
i feel for those getting the ps3 after the loss of the original EE chipset, but untill we see a list and possible upscaling of the game and textures via software, it's really hard to tell weather this is simply a not as good but not bad deal or a getting shafted BC left in the dark deal.

Posted at 11:40AM on Mar 10th 2007 by alienclay

10. I think it is different in sony case than M$ and playstation 2 have combined of 210 million units unlike the xbox who only had 20 million. I agree that they do need to focus on the ps3 more right now because almst everyone has a playstation product and it is no neeed to really include it in ur ps3 this chip which costs more.

Posted at 11:40AM on Mar 10th 2007 by jason

11. @dead console

"Seriously, take your overweight asses outside and get some damn exercise!!" Said dead console, apparently writing this from a tread mill.

Posted at 11:43AM on Mar 10th 2007 by Macview

12. Does anyone here but me think that those people who wanted to trade there ps2/xbox in to get about 100 dollars off the Next Gen system will suffer?

Because they have to keep it to play certain games.

Posted at 11:51AM on Mar 10th 2007 by Darrel Hormeku

13. Honestly, i thought i would care if they did take it out but now i realized, when i bought a Xbox360. I didn't buy it for the BC at all i bought it for the newest games and content coming out for the 360. Same will apply for the PS3, although it's good to know you can play PS1-2 games on there, well not really now. Since the unleashed the 65nm chip for the ps3 which will run even cooler than 95nm. It would be nice if the price at least dropped to 449.99 for the ps3. Since the newer xbox 360 will be 479 w/ hdmi, 120gb hd and all.

Posted at 12:42PM on Mar 10th 2007 by WiixRevolution

14. I really don't care about BC. I always *think* its important, but I've stuck a PS1 disk in my PS2 about...once, over the lifetime of the PS2. I've put one XBox game in my 360 so far.

So nope, I don't care. I'd rather they devote those resources to new stuff.

Posted at 12:42PM on Mar 10th 2007 by GRT

15. The Super Nintendo didn't have backwards compatibility with the NES.

Did it fail?

The Playstation didn't have anything to be backwards compatible with.

Did it fail?

Neither the 360 nor the PS3 will fail just because you can't play Big Mutha Truckers on them.

Posted at 8:02PM on Mar 10th 2007 by PreGHz

16. PreGHz:

SNES didn't fail, but it would have sure as hell done better with BC with the NES. Nintendo lost market to Sega.

PS1 didn't have BC with anything, but its relatively slow start would have been faster with a previous console, or with a bigger library from the start; that's logical, and that's what happened with PS2, and that was what was happening with PS3, but not anymore. Same would have happened with 360 if it had better BC.

It's not the only feature, but it's always better to have it.

Posted at 8:54PM on Mar 10th 2007 by bootsielon

17. It's still Important. Dammmmmmit.
They can convince themselves all they want.
Thank God I got my PS3 at Launch, so I am 99% Backwards Compatible. My 360, Not so Much, Like 5%.

Dear Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo.
Classic Compilation... Why do these Sell???
Oh yeah... We do Like Old games.
We like our Old games, that is why we have not traded them in. They are our Favorites. We would like to continue to play them from System to System. Plus it makes the Transition from Old Console to New easier.

My 360 and PS3 have XBox1 and PS2 Games in them about 30-40% of the Time. Microsoft you can kiss my a** with your stance on BC. At least Sony has over 1000 BC Titles with their Software Solution. I guess it is Microsoft who doesn't have the "DNA" as you put it. Your Programmers aren't as smart as you thought, but at least smart enough to convince Peter Moore that they are.


Posted at 11:51PM on Mar 10th 2007 by Scott Krueger

18. Nobody knows just how compatible the Playstation's emulator is, and already people are saying Sony is throwing in the towel.

Sony completely owns the IP for the PS2. Microsoft doesn't own the IP to the XBox chipset. There's no reason at all to think that Sony's emulator will suck just because Microsoft's emulator does.

Wait until the European launch to see just how terrible the emulation is. Over 1,000 PS2 games are confirmed to work, which means that there's probably thousands more that work fine -- they just haven't been officially tested, yet. Also, only badly coded games might have problems with an emulator. Is a badly coded game even worth playing?

Posted at 3:16AM on Mar 11th 2007 by Burnt Meatloaf

19. Boot,

I'd rather take the slow start than a crappy finish. If they spend so much time working on making compatibility possible, they won't be able to dedicate as much manpower to the things that really matter. Namely, future content. If I can't play Driving Emotion Type S or MLB 04 because they're working on Home or background downloading, then so be it.

It'd be nice to be 100% backwards compatible. But ya know, I'd give up backwards compatibility for a great God of War III, or an intuitive new XMB.

In this day an age, people seem to think that the immediate pickup of a system is necessary. Blogs and 24/7 news channels make us feel that if it's not going to happen now, then it's going to fail.

The PS1 was slow on the uptake, but sold like wildfire after the first year or two. The PS2 didn't sell well because of backwards compatibility, even though it was highly touted. I remember most of my fellow gamers bought it for the new games coming out (like then-called GT2000), and a cheap DVD player for the home.

The Genesis was a good enough system to take shares away from the SNES. Not supporting the NES wasn't the reason why Sega was able to take market share. Sonic saw to that.

It's not the only feature, you're right, and I would rather see it pushed lower on the ranks to make way for the new generation.

Posted at 3:45AM on Mar 11th 2007 by PreGHz

20. good, I don't care about backwards compatibility at all.

Posted at 9:02AM on Mar 11th 2007 by Ciaran Gallagher

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