Thursday, December 05, 2013

The War on Backwards Compatibility Continues

Man, not this again. I'll concede that even as someone who like to play old games I've barely used the backward compatibility options on a lot of my consoles (portables are another story though). However, the thing that really bugs me about this is it ignores the rise of downloadable games this generation. In fact, I can actually see how the lack of backwards compatibility could actually hurt more in the long term plan.

Let's say I'm a gamer that insists on staying on top of the latest trends so I rarely ever replay games. In the past, when a new console comes out I could trade in the old one and all the old titles I still own to finance the new one. Technically I cold be "evil" (in the eyes of publishers) and use that credit to by used, but if I insist at getting the console at launch I'm probably going to be buying new by default.

With this generation though I'd only be able to trade in the games I bought on disc. I'd be effectively throwing away any titles I bought digitally, be it arcade or retail titles. That might not discourage me from upgrading to the current generation, but it might make me hesitant to get as many downloadable titles.

Now I'm pretty sure the the CEO of Take Two doesn't give a crap that I can't get anything back from my downloadable titles. Plus he could point out that right now the Xbox One and PS4 are selling better now than the lifetime sales of the Wii U, the only console still with full backwards compatibility. I still maintain that a system's launch sales don't necessarily predict a system's success (see the Dreamcast) and it will be much more interesting to see how all three consoles are doing in a year.

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