Backward compatability is 'backwards' strategy, says Microsoft

Microsoft's Don Mattrick says only 5% of customers play older games on their new consoles, concluding, "if you're backwards compatible, you're really backwards."

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Given that the PlayStation 4 won't run PlayStation 3 games natively, and the Xbox 360's rocky history with emulating Xbox games, it didn't come as much surprise that the Xbox One isn't backward compatible. You'll have to keep your 360 hooked up to play the last eight years of games. Don Mattrick, president of the interactive entertainment division at Microsoft, says the demand for the feature just isn't there.

Mattrick told the The Wall Street Journal that only about 5% of customers play older games on their new system, which makes the feature too costly and time-intensive to be worth it. This led him to coin the confounding turn of phrase, "If you're backwards compatible, you're really backwards."

The transition to new architecture does make it difficult to offer the functionality. A social media research firm said a survey of potential customers showed only 12% said they would be unhappy if it didn't have backward compatibility. That makes the decision somewhat understandable, but yesterday's presentation was followed quickly by some skepticism and mixed messages from Microsoft, so it might behoove executives to be careful with their statements.

Editor-In-Chief
From The Chatty
  • reply
    May 22, 2013 1:00 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Backward compatability is 'backwards' strategy, says Microsoft.

    Microsoft's Don Mattrick says only 5% of customers play older games on their new consoles, concluding, "if you're backwards compatible, you're really backwards."

    • reply
      May 22, 2013 1:03 PM

      How many consoles actually did backwards compatibility well? Only the Wii and Nintendo handhelds?

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        May 22, 2013 1:07 PM

        PS2 did wonderfully as well.

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        May 22, 2013 1:07 PM

        PS2 did PS1 well didn't it? And PS3 does PS1 and used to do PS2 for a brief time. 360 did a subset of the Xbox games.

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          May 22, 2013 3:21 PM

          I believe in the case of playstation, each iteration has contained essentially a PS1 SOC partly for backwards compatibility but mostly as a control chip for other stuff.

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        May 22, 2013 1:12 PM

        Sega Master System

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          May 22, 2013 7:54 PM

          Power Base Converter? Except F16 Fighting Falcon never worked. Otherwise, flawless.

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        May 22, 2013 1:19 PM

        Atari 7800 did it perfect

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          May 22, 2013 1:25 PM

          My Robot Tank cartridge has a few words for you.

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            May 22, 2013 2:45 PM

            OK 1st rev 7800 did it perfect, didn't realize the later revs had issues

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        May 22, 2013 1:22 PM

        Fat PS3 (still have mine), Nintendo handhelds

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        May 22, 2013 6:12 PM

        Commodore 128 had only like 2 C64 games it couldn't run.

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      May 22, 2013 1:09 PM

      I wonder where those stats are from? I mean, what systems have been fully backwards compatible? I can think of the PS2, the Wii, and the Wii U. I don't have a Wii U, but I played some PS1 games on my PS2 and some GC games on my Wii (I still do, viva Wind Waker!).

      I think being able to play older system games really helps ease the growing pains of new systems. For this newest gen, I'll really miss the downloadable games I purchased on the PS3 and the 360. Some of my favorite games on both systems were the downloadable ones, and I'd be more comfortable buying both systems if those games carried over. Oh well.

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        May 22, 2013 1:12 PM

        don't you need to download a patch for each Xbox game when you first try to play it on the 360?

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          May 22, 2013 1:14 PM

          The emulation of Xbox games on the 360 was so shitty that I stopped trying. I remember some games, like Red Dead Revolver, having serious graphical glitches. It wasn't true backwards compatibility.

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            May 22, 2013 2:21 PM

            right, they were basically ports, you had to download a patch to make them work iirc, which would lead to data like what percentage of owners even tried to run a single Xbox game on the 360.

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              May 22, 2013 2:45 PM

              Since they worked and looked like shit, those are pretty skewed numbers. I tried it, it sucked, I stopped trying. I would have kept doing it if it worked like on my PS2 and my Wii.

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                May 22, 2013 2:50 PM

                but then you would register as one of the 5% having tried even once. This wasn't about how much time people spent playing older games, or how many older games they play. The statement was only 5% of customers play older games, implying only 5% of customers even tried to play a single Xbox game (and I would guess like 80%+ of that 5% was people trying to play Halo/Halo 2). Whether it was a poor experience or not once they tried is irrelevant, the vast majority of people didn't even care to try it.

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                  May 22, 2013 3:02 PM

                  But then, as an early adopter, I told all my friends and family not to bother playing old games on the system.

                  My negative experience skewed the numgers.

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      May 22, 2013 1:11 PM

      Yeah, let's make them pay for everything all over again through XBLA, On demand. Get fucked.

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        May 22, 2013 1:13 PM

        what solution are you proposing? You can pay Sony for a streaming version of your already purchased content, you can ask every XBLA developer to port their game (for free since you refuse to pay for that work), or ...?

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          May 22, 2013 1:14 PM

          Not having to pay for it all over again when we've already paid a shitload for titles that still are delivering content (i.e. Zen Pinball 2, Pinball Arcade). It's shady business tactics. Period.

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            May 22, 2013 1:23 PM

            So you think the games will be available on the XO?

            If the games are manually ported, I suppose you might expect them to be free. On the other hand, I don't expect to get Fez for free on steam, just because I already bought it on XBLA.

            Porting to a new platform is an investment that might not be worth it. Usually it would probably make more sense to use your energy on creating new titles.

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              May 22, 2013 1:33 PM

              Obviously Steam and XBLA are different platforms. I've bought Zen and Pinball Arcade on PS Store and XBLA, I dont expect it to apply to the other console. I'm saying, if you do put out a new console, and you do make said game you've already purchased on XBLA / PS Store available to the new console, people will buy the future content for that title rather than say, fuck off, you're buying it all over again.

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            May 22, 2013 1:26 PM

            They should give developers the opportunity to bring their existing game to the One outside of the normal Wed only 1 game a week cycle. Sony should do the same for the PS4.

            So if Behemoth wants to bring Castle Crashers out on XBox1 and you bought it for 360 you automatically get the new version if you bought it for 360. At the bare minimum even if you don't automatically give the new version to the customer allow the developer the say in whether or not to do so.

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              May 22, 2013 1:27 PM

              But then why bother porting it? Most of the people that would be interested in the port probably already bought the original.

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                May 22, 2013 1:42 PM

                Let the developers make that decision though.

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                  May 22, 2013 1:47 PM

                  But why would the developer make a port of an older game only to give it away to the majority of the people that might be interested?

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                    May 22, 2013 6:11 PM

                    Same reason all games are made to make money. I am not saying it would be a 100% success rate but it should at least be an option for developers.

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                      May 22, 2013 6:12 PM

                      I don't see where it isn't an option for developers.

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              May 22, 2013 1:31 PM

              Or at least, continue the content train going for the title while porting it over if you already bought it on the 360. I'd happily buy new content for it if they allow porting of the title over to the console.

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            May 22, 2013 1:31 PM

            You don't have to pay again, you can just play on your 360....

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              May 22, 2013 1:34 PM

              Until your 360 famously dies, and they no longer produce them... then what? :)

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            May 22, 2013 1:41 PM

            so which of my proposals are you asking for then? Every XBLA dev to port their game to the Xbox One for free?

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              May 22, 2013 1:45 PM

              I'm overlooking some of the older XBLA games barely anyone touches anymore but as for the stuff that's still delivering content, it should be ported considering a gamer will most likely buy content for it.

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                May 22, 2013 1:47 PM

                ok so why are you complaining about MS? Your issue is with the XBLA and PSN developers who aren't willing to port their content to their respective new systems for free to please you. Both platforms have the same issue.

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                  May 22, 2013 1:53 PM

                  Because only MS has made this clear. We have no clue what Sony may or may not do. When we do, we can bitch about that also as sucking. They couldn't figure out how to carry people's purchases over 1 generation? And we're supposed to cheer that on?

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                    May 22, 2013 1:55 PM

                    Sony confirmed the PS4 is not backwards compatible with your existing PS3 PSN purchases or discs, because of course it's not, because that's how CPU architecture changes work.

                    Are there alternative solutions? Sure, Sony could give away the emulated/ported/cloud streaming version. So could MS if you believe that's a realistic possibility.

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              May 22, 2013 1:48 PM

              Why are you acting like playing games on future consoles is something new and only MS faces this challenge? You tell us, how did Sony and Nintendo manage it? PS3 plays PS1 games, Wii U plays Wii games, Wii played GC games, this is nothing new and not a big mystery. It's poor forward thinking on the manufacturers part.

              Maybe less money and time spent on superfluous TV and Skype stuff, more focus on backwards compat. The onus isn't on Wolfanoz to solve MS incompetence and poor planning.

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                May 22, 2013 1:59 PM

                Why is MS and Sony incompetent for making machines that are focused on playing new games rather than ones you already have?

                TV and Skype might be fluff, but the choice of an AMD APU for both consoles seems incredibly sound. (If anything, if they had taken this step last generation, they would probably have been able to deliver backwards compatibility today).

                On the other hand, continuing down the same technical paths of the 360 and PS3, solely to make backwards compatibility possible, would have been incredibly short sighted.

                And lots of older consoles weren't backwards compatible. For example SNES couldn't play NES games, and N64 couldn't play SNES games.

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                May 22, 2013 1:59 PM

                Sony managed it by including the old hardware in the new hardware. Then they realized no one actually cares about this feature and removed the old hardware from the PS3 so that the new hardware could be cheaper for the consumer and have higher margins for Sony. It didn't make any sense to incur those costs for the 5% of people who use it.

                Nintendo managed it by not significantly changing their architecture because they don't care about chasing performance gains with new hardware.

                Pick your poison. The new Xbox could've continued to use a PowerPC architecture, and then been harder to develop for and port for compared to PC and PS4. Who knows what other effects that would've had on the overall power level and cost of the system. But then you'd get a great backwards compatibility story for free. Would you prefer that trade off?

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                  May 22, 2013 2:10 PM

                  They also realized they could turn it into a profit center as well and now sell classic PS2 games on their storefronts and continue to sell them weekly. They kept in the PS1 compat.

                  And yes, Nintendo found more things important than what MS is doing with their box with everything they are putting their resources into I guess.

                  I would enjoy a console focused on me being able to play games, the past ones and future ones if possible. It's not a must, but I def. don't like this hubris about how we're "really backwards".

                  The PC also handles it very well and continues to increase gains much higher than what consoles do. If I put in a new video card or buy a new PC, Steam doesn't tell me "Sorry, buy all your games again." The problem is shortsightedness by the console manufs. combined with them finding it a profit center and maybe a dab of just not giving a shit. The Cell processor was about the biggest mistake Sony made in their console lifetime I would say for this and other reasons and while they haven't openly admitted that, their new direction agrees. How it will affect their future with BC is unknown. Thankfully, there is still hope with Gaikei or whatever it's called. MS's "you're really backwards" comes across differently.

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                    May 22, 2013 2:16 PM

                    The PC also handles it very well and continues to increase gains much higher than what consoles do.

                    Because the PC doesn't change CPU architecture frequently like consoles, because MS + Intel won that battle long ago. Of course, if you use Windows on ARM now this actually isn't the case. If you had a PowerPC Mac before Apple made the switch to Intel you'll also have encountered this problem. My copies of Diablo 2 and other old Blizzard games have the Mac version on the same disc as the PC version. Except it's for the old PowerPC Macs. I can't install them on a new Mac, and Apple removed Rosetta (the PowerPC emulation layer) in recent versions of OSX. So now I have to rebuy Diablo 2 if I want to play it on my Mac.

                    The problem is shortsightedness by the console manufs

                    How exactly is it short sighted? What should Sony have done in 1994 with the PS1? Correctly predicted which CPU architecture was and would be best for games for the next 20 years so they could get backwards compatibility at the same level as the PC? Do you know how much Intel charges for their x86 stuff (hint: it's not cheap)? And they should do all this for a feature they know a tiny percentage of customers use throughout the entire console's lifetime? Why didn't Nintendo correctly predict this from the NES era so that back compat worked through the N64 and GC rather than now just reselling you VC games?

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                      May 22, 2013 2:20 PM

                      " What should Sony have done in 1994 with the PS1? Correctly predicted which CPU architecture was and would be best for games for the next 20 years so they could get backwards compatibility at the same level as the PC?"

                      Well, you can play PS1 games on a PS2 and a PS3 so I'm not sure your point there. Sony's was shortsighted for many reasons with the Cell. From developers to gamers to their own situation now having to eat crow and go back on their whole investment into Cell.

                      And Nintendo knows the value of their past catalog, yes, which is why you can buy NES games on the Wii U. You will not be able to buy XBOX 1 games on the XBOX One will you? Much less XBOX 360? Isn't that what he's saying, that that's a backwards idea? They don't even seem to care.

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                        May 22, 2013 2:24 PM

                        My point is you're bouncing around between different concepts and not understanding the actual issues at play here. Sony 'solving' backwards compat by including the old hardware in the new is an untenable long term solution, as they proved with the PS3.

                        Then you go and contradict yourself by saying you're actually happy to rebuy old games for the right price anyway, so why should the console owner invest in true backwards compat at a hardware level? Since that's the feature that the original quote is about.

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                        May 22, 2013 2:30 PM

                        Emulating an NES game and emulating an xbox 1 game require two entirely different levels of cost/effort. It doesn't even make sense to compare the two the way you're doing here.

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                          May 22, 2013 2:34 PM

                          I think he genuinely does not grok the differences in engineering, even if perhaps you were trying to make a cycle-accurate emulator between the two. It would be a simpler, easier effort to create an XBox emulator for the XBox One being that they share an x86 arch, but there is still the AMD/Nvidia GPU to wrestle with, plus testing across the several hundred games involved, and at the end of the day us nerds who play them are fewer, farther between, disjointed, and like different games in such a variety that it is way less worth their time today to even go down this road.

                          But we can always still play Vampire Rain on our XBox 360. Or on the PS3. That is what is really important.

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                            May 22, 2013 2:35 PM

                            Ok, what is this Vampire Rain game? Now I'm interested, it worked.

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                May 22, 2013 2:57 PM

                The "superfluous TV and Skype stuff" is a big part of their strategy. Like it or not, competition for the hardware Americans keep in the cabinets under their TVs is getting more and more fierce. Many hardware makers are understandably looking for ways to make their device be the one that appeals to the broadest possible range of customers.

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          May 22, 2013 1:17 PM

          Has Sony mentioned anything about streaming, much less if they did have the capabilities, you'd have to pay to play your already purchased content?

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            May 22, 2013 1:47 PM

            Sony spent $400 million to acquire Gakai's streaming game service. That's the only way they could provide any form of backwards compatibility. That shit isn't gonna come for free, it'll be in PSN+. They talked about some of it during the PS4 reveal but only in vague terms since they don't actually know how/if it'll work, when that would be, and how much it would cost.

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              May 22, 2013 1:49 PM

              You don't know if your past purchases will come for free or not. You have no clue.

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                May 22, 2013 1:54 PM

                I'm sure Sony will happily give away the ongoing cost of streaming old games to recoup their $400 million investment. I didn't say you would have to rebuy the game, I said you would have to pay to be able to use the back compat system. Whether that gives you access to your old purchases or not is an open question, but I cannot imagine a streaming game service running for free. Sony already has a subscription service they're trying to push and add value to, streaming games are a perfect complement to that and we've already seen streaming game services go bankrupt while charging a subscription. Sony doesn't have the cash to just eat the cost for goodwill. The entire point would be to allow people who care about BC to pay for it, while those who don't care, don't pay, and Sony saves money by not having to do things like include old hardware in the new like they did with the PS2 hardware in the PS3.

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                  May 22, 2013 1:56 PM

                  Guys guys, I'm sure Vampire Rain will be there for all to play, no worries.

      • reply
        May 22, 2013 1:26 PM

        Don't get so upset, you can still play Vampire Rain on your 360.

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        May 22, 2013 1:45 PM

        Pay for what again? 360 titles of any sort, xbla or retail, won't work on Xbox One since it's an entirely different architecture. Same for the ps4.

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      May 22, 2013 1:11 PM

      Not too worried about the 360 games but no transfer of my Arcade purchases just seems crazy.

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        May 22, 2013 1:14 PM

        I do agree with this. If anythingn if you own the 360 version, you should at least be able to download the version on the xone for free.

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          May 22, 2013 1:26 PM

          You are expecting most games to be ported? Most of the XBLA games are written in C++ with tons of low level optimizations for the 360 hardware. If there is a PC version available, that might be pretty easy to port, but otherwise it could be quite a lot of work.

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            May 22, 2013 1:36 PM

            No, not really. maybe some of the higher profile ones. I honestly only have like 5-6 arcade games.

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          May 22, 2013 1:26 PM

          Thing is how do you prove you "own" it. You could rent games from things like Gamefly or, if any still exists that rent them out, local video stores and say they own them that way. Or take advantage of Gamestop's return policy on used games by buying a bunch of games and then returning them.

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            May 22, 2013 1:36 PM

            Im talking about Arcade games, not actual discs.

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              May 22, 2013 2:19 PM

              Then people would complain about why they go to the extremes of making just Arcade games work on One but not their disc games. That or a lot of developers would be doing a lot of work to port the games for little to no new revenue, depending on the age of said game.

              Then there's the fact that Microsoft would probably still charge them to "patch" the game to be able to run on One (assuming that his will still be the case. But seeing as they still require publishers to be even consider putting a game on the system I would be surprised if that policy would change)

    • reply
      May 22, 2013 1:12 PM

      BC seems like something that I should like, but I never once played PS2 game on the PS3, nor did I play an Xbox game on the 360. :(
      I DID play a Gamecube game on the Wii, but I honestly can't remember what that was. Resident Evil 4 maybe?

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      May 22, 2013 1:13 PM

      Never really understood people caring so much about BC. Just use the original system.

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        May 22, 2013 1:17 PM

        Yeah my friend wanted to resell his PSP to get a Vita and they only offered $25 bucks for it at Gamestop which is retarded. So there's no real benefit to trade in a system to get a new one.

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          May 22, 2013 1:19 PM

          I see PSP's selling a lot (and for more) through Craigslist and Ebay. Not worth the taking it up the ass with a free subscription to GameInformer.

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        May 22, 2013 1:18 PM

        I'm not too hung up on BC either.

        I can see where it would be kind of nice to have only one thing hooked up to the TV. Also, when your PS3/360 decides to shit the bed, I would be pretty cool to just be able to play them on your current system than have to hunt down a working system (especially many years down the road).

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        May 22, 2013 1:19 PM

        Old hardware fails, services can go kaput (look at the shutting down of Xbox Live for the original Xbox). Your discs will still be around but what happens to digital purchases after that if you can't download them?

        They're guaranteed more money by re-releasing the most popular games for the new systems and having people buy them all over again. Nintendo has been doing it for years. Time for Sony and Microsoft to jump on board.

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        May 22, 2013 1:21 PM

        While I don't care a ton about BC for this reason, I think it'll matter more possibly some this generation and definitely next generation with so much online activation and the rest. We may be fast approaching a point it becomes impossible even with the original system.

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        May 22, 2013 3:19 PM

        I play PSX and PS2 games quite often on my PS3 and I like having all those games available to play only using one input on my TV, one controller, one console. I guess I'm in the minority and am backwards.

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        May 22, 2013 3:22 PM

        At the start of a new console cycle we all would like free BC if they could do it, because it means we can instantly buy the new console, discard our old one, keep playing our old and great games.

        By the middle to end of that console cycle we couldn't care less about most of the emulated games but right at the beginning it's that one sticking point which would take a lot of us from "oh maybe / eventually" to "day one, no problems"

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        May 22, 2013 3:32 PM

        The whole idea behind the XboxOne is integration and consolidation and the one thing they leave out is themselves.

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      May 22, 2013 1:16 PM

      [deleted]

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        May 22, 2013 1:25 PM

        When it comes down to it, what motivation do they have to develop BC?

        Its apparently complicated to pull off, not to mention they can't resell you games later.

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        May 22, 2013 1:29 PM

        I'd imagine the budget and man-hours needed to adapt and debug the 360 architecture to the new x86 architecture for the Xbox One would be rather high and costly.

        So it's not so much they couldn't figure it out, they just don't want to spend the time and money to implement it.

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      May 22, 2013 1:17 PM

      I recognize that I am a minority, but I used my Wii a TON for playing Gamecube games. My Gamecube broke just a couple weeks after I got my Wii, so without BC in the original release Wii I would have had to have paid a ton of money to find a working Gamecube.

      The convenience factor of BC cannot be understated, and ignoring users from your previous generation console who want to get engaged with your new system but don't want to abandon their old beloved games seems extremely short-sighted.

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      May 22, 2013 1:35 PM

      They all seem to ignore the fact this is the first time many console users have a built up digital library (PSN / XBLA) may end up losing all access to those titles in the future. A lot of those digital games which are already HD, and some are visually timeless. There's too many unknowns. We've already seen Xbox Live for the first Xbox go away, and access to certain released XBLA games come and go after rights change or expire.

      It's a shame there's no effort made towards discussing the preservation of the smaller, digital games when saying no one cared about BC in the past when the situation was totally different. To me, it would be just as bad as buying new PC and losing my Steam account.



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        May 22, 2013 1:43 PM

        I've mentioned this before, but wouldn't Steam users find it odd if the SteamBox 1 came out, then the SteamBox 2, but oh, the SteamBox 2 only plays games released after the SteamBox 2 came out. None of your older games.

        It's a mistake in planning and forward thinking on behalf of the manufacturers that even Nintendo gets right. It's like they never even contemplated it while designing the systems. Well, MS did with that whole "forward thinking software" or whatever that was supposed to make games even better when you play them on the next console. What happened to that idea?

        Sony makes attempts then found out they could turn it into a profit center. Noone plays old games.. Yeah, ask Nintendo or Sony how those sales on classic games are going they do weekly in their stores. Some games Sony releases were never released in the US so the market for playing the classics is most def. there, they all want to turn it into a profit center and remove the ability to purchase 2nd hand.

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          May 22, 2013 2:13 PM

          Nintendo doesn't get it right all the time. Software sure but you can't play SNES games on a N64 or put N64 into a GCN. They re-released some games or offer them online which gets around it.

          Now don't forget even though the Wii-U can play old Wii games, it was a pain in the ass because they tie it to the console not an account.
          http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2013/02/fourth-times-the-charm-nintendo-eases-wii-u-transfer-issue-with-store-credit/

          Going forward for Sony or MSFT things should be easier for BC if it's going to keep the same style architecture in the next-next generation.

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            May 22, 2013 2:15 PM

            "Going forward for Sony or MSFT things should be easier for BC if it's going to keep the same style architecture in the next-next generation."

            Thsi si what I am really hoping, and no, Nintendo does not always get it right, but they also don't say, "You're really backwards" when it comes to the topic. They understand the value of their past library and try very hard to make that still available even today. For $.30 I can buy Super Metroid and play it on my Wii U.

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              May 22, 2013 2:18 PM

              so you're actually completely ok being forced to rebuy your old content for the right price

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                May 22, 2013 2:22 PM

                Yes, that is a much different message completely than "You're backwards". If I don't own the cartridge and it won't fit in the console, at least allowing me to repurchase it for a measly few bucks (or $.30 ), is a good thing. MS seems to think that's backwards as do you apparently.

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                  May 22, 2013 2:27 PM

                  no I just understand what the number 5% means. There was a non-trivial effort put into enabling Xbox games to run on the 360 without having to rebuy them with real backwards compatibility. Which is what this article is about. Hardware backwards compatibility is completely different from offering the ability to rebuy old games via emulation or an HD remake. People complaining about backwards compatibility are complaining that they can't use their existing purchases on the new hardware. They're not complaining that they can't rebuy it on the new hardware. They're explicitly complaining that they don't want to rebuy it. They're completely different things that you seem to think are the same while people in this very thread demonstrate how untrue that is.

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                May 22, 2013 3:41 PM

                That's not really true. You can play all your Wii VC titles in the Wii emulated mode. The additional price is for updated versions. Sure, transferring the Wii to the Wii U was a bit of a PITA, but it was free and it had Pikmin.

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                  May 22, 2013 3:47 PM

                  but aren't the Wii VC titles NES/SNES games you rebought on the Wii VC? It wasn't backwards compatible with our old NES/SNES purchases.

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                    May 22, 2013 3:55 PM

                    There was no NES/SNES/GC upgrade pricing for the Wii because the Wii was the first to have a VC.

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                      May 22, 2013 4:04 PM

                      You're talking about stuff that isn't really relevant to what's going on here.

                      This is how this started http://www.shacknews.com/chatty?id=30207802#item_30207802

                      It's a mistake in planning and forward thinking on behalf of the manufacturers that even Nintendo gets right. It's like they never even contemplated it while designing the systems

                      Nintendo wasn't any more forward thinking than anyone else. They dropped true backwards compatibility and instead had you repurchase games you once paid for before. Because they understand the costs of true hardware BC and what the market is willing to do. The Wii U happens to run the Wii VC games because they didn't switch architectures because they're not chasing high performance games. I already asked him if this was a trade off he was willing to make for true BC, I don't suspect the answer is 'yes I'm happy with that trade off'

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                        May 22, 2013 4:21 PM

                        The Wii U plays Wii games because it has a Wii built into the system. It plays Wii Disk or Wii games you've purchased and transferred. You go into Wii mode which essentially boots the Wii up.

                        I don't care how we get to play our old games. Stream them, repurchase them, the issue I have is this carefree and near PS3-launch hubris he's exhibiting by claiming BC is backwards thinking or whatever. Just that mindset that the old library is not worth playing as only 5% cared. Maybe only 5% cared because you half assed it and the service weasn't up to speed? I disagree with his idea that "people don't care about old games". Ok, maybe MS old games, but Nintendo and Sony disagree as they continue to sell them in one way or another. MS seems to imply they see zero point at all. None. Streaming, repurchasing, anything much less a free transfer.

                        That's my issue, the mindset. Not how it's technically handled. I can't understand the mindset of someone that is ok with never being able to play the past games they've paid for and supports that for everyone.

                        I would have much rather seen MS say, "We know our past catalog is full of great titles people enjoy playing and we're looking into how we can make that happen." instead of "you're really backwards."

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                          May 22, 2013 4:22 PM

                          And no, you don't repurchase games you've bought before. They transfer over. If you want the newer Wii U version that supports the paid, you pay a fee and guess what? If you've bought the non-Wii U version and want the update they *give you a discount* holy shit imagine that.

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                            May 22, 2013 4:32 PM

                            you had to rebuy Metroid on the Wii VC even if you owned the original Metroid cart because the Wii didn't have the hardware back compat you want out of the new consoles

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                              May 22, 2013 4:37 PM

                              That is true, and I will leave it with this as I think we've both beat this horse to a fine mist. If down the road MS introduces a streaming solution, which I have no doubt they will, I'll be super happy. I really enjoy some of the older games and as someone who only owned a 360 for a few months, I want to be able to play some of those titles one day is all.

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                                May 22, 2013 4:42 PM

                                yep, I mean I will be sad if I have no way to go back and play Geometry Wars 2 and Trials HD and whatnot other than plugging in my old 360. I suspect playing something twitchy like that over a streaming service won't be very satisfying either. But there're good reasons that that is the case and I can't really argue with the business justifications that lead to this state. That's why Sony and MS are in very similar situations in this regard. It's unfortunate compared to the more stable architecture behind the PC but maybe that won't be a problem going forward if consoles are going to stick with x86 for new generations.

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                          May 22, 2013 4:40 PM

                          The Wii U plays Wii games because it has a Wii built into the system. It plays Wii Disk or Wii games you've purchased and transferred. You go into Wii mode which essentially boots the Wii up.

                          Right, and this is what Sony did with the PS3 and PS2 hardware. They very quickly reversed that decision and appear to be happy with the results because very few people actually care about it, even though Sony obviously has a great old library. It would appear people are more interested in spending real money purchasing an HD remake than trying to play blocky, low res 10+ year old games.

                          I don't care how we get to play our old games. Stream them, repurchase them, the issue I have is this carefree and near PS3-launch hubris he's exhibiting by claiming BC is backwards thinking or whatever. Just that mindset that the old library is not worth playing as only 5% cared.

                          I don't think this is the attitude at all. You're conflating hardware back compat with having HD rereleases and such. His comment was obviously a little abrasive while trying to be clever but the reality is few people care about true hardware back compat. All the platform owners have this data.

                          If you're willing to rebuy your old games I suspect you will have more than a few opportunities to do that across every console. MS has already done at least one HD remake on the 360, Sony has done a bunch on the PS3. Assuming those sell well I don't see any reason to think the practice won't continue into the next generation. They're using data to say people don't care about using their old discs on the new console. If other data says people do want to pay for and play HD versions of those old games (which is distinctly different from putting in the old disc and playing in its old low res form) then I can't imagine why developers wouldn't make such remakes or why the platform owner would stop them.

                          Putting in your old discs and having them 'just work' is expensive to make happen, hamstrings future development, appeals to a tiny share of customers, but costs everyone (the platform owner and every customer bears the brunt of the cost even if they don't care about BC, that's why Sony removed the PS2 hardware from the PS3). Playing HD remakes means only the people who care about going back to those games have to pay, they get a new/upgraded experience while they're at it, and new stuff isn't held back by (potentially poor) decisions of old. That's the same idea behind Sony using a paid streaming service to serve those people with back compat if they want it.

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      May 22, 2013 1:48 PM

      I wonder if part of the reason is that they will continue selling 360s, and perhaps have a cheap SKU for it after the One lands

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      May 22, 2013 2:15 PM

      The only reason I didn't play more Xbox games on my 360 was none of my favorites were BC. :/

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      May 22, 2013 2:22 PM

      I am the 5%.

      Joking aside, I see the wisdom in cutting BC. Designing hardware that can run old games and support cool new technologies forces manufacturers to keep one foot in the past when, realistically, most gamers want new games to show off their shiny new platforms. I've noticed over the last several years that many gamers burn through new games quickly. A Tuesday rolls around, they pick up the new releases, and clear their plate by the time more must-have games hit (virtual) shelves. These gamers, at least, don't look back. They want to consume new stuff and leave the past in the past.

      I replay old favorites more than I pick up new games, mostly because of time. I do that by hanging on to my old hardware, though. I have to imagine more gamers than ever before will choose to keep their 360 and/or PS3. This generation has lasted so long, and so many games have been released in so many formats, that I can't see many gamers willing to part with all the games they've accumulated for what will probably only be a few bucks in store credit at GameStop.

      If you want to play old games, just hang on to your old hardware. I love older, classic games, but they shouldn't prevent hardware makers and developers from pushing technology forward.

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        May 22, 2013 2:28 PM

        Look further into the future though: http://www.shacknews.com/chatty?id=30207733

        What's going to happen? Will we have to hope for some reverse engineering and emulators to keep all those digital games alive illegally on the PC? There's no guarantee they'll be accessible on the console you bought them on x years from now.

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          May 22, 2013 2:36 PM

          What are the options though?

          We could stick with the same architecture forever. Sony could be stuck with the Cell forever now to ensure good PS3 back compat. That doesn't really seem like it's doing the best thing for the future at the cost of the past.

          The platform owner could try to implement a general purpose emulation layer. Beyond the engineering cost of this, if you look at the hardware required to emulate an old console on PC, there's no way a next gen console will have the power to emulate the previous generation successfully.

          The dev could port their game to the new system. This is obviously perfectly feasible but you're never going to get everyone to do this and you're unlikely to get them to do this work and not charge a fee for the 'feature.'

          The platform owner could try to port at a higher granularity like the Xbox 360 did for Xbox games, targeting whole engines. Like leaving it up to individual devs, this doesn't hit everything, and is still error prone as noted in posts above.

          The platform owner could offer a streaming OnLive type service to access older hardware. This seems the most reasonable but is cost prohibitive to offer for free. It also doesn't avoid the issues around how this will work in 10-20 years if the original services the game was dependent on (ex XBL) aren't around.

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        May 22, 2013 7:43 PM

        "most gamers want new games to show off their shiny new platforms"

        I only remember this in the 16 bit days from the kid who had a Jaguar, 3DO or whatever and later on when the PS2 came out and it was really a humblebrag for their early flat screens with Madden, NBA and a box of Coronas. Something that only happened when the graphics jumped, but at a high price. Beyond those eras there isn't a lot to brag about since things are pretty monolithic.

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      May 22, 2013 2:28 PM

      I used my Wii to play Gamecube games more often than I did Wii games.

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      May 22, 2013 2:45 PM

      Look, it's not backwards if I poured thousands of dollars into your eco system in what is considered the longest console generation in gaming history.

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        May 22, 2013 3:42 PM

        Oh, and my live subscription conveniently carries over but all my bought shit doesn't.

        And look, I don't give a shit how you solve it, be it an extra chip, add-on, emulation, streaming... that's your problem.

        In today's digital eco systems you can't pull that shit. The old console rules do not apply anymore, people are invested in Xbox Live Arcade/On Demand, not the Xbox 360 itself.

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      May 22, 2013 2:48 PM

      How long will MS be manufacturing 360s? I have 30+ games and my Xbox is 4 years old, seems like I might need to buy a spare 360 at some point just to be safe. Then of course how long before 360s get locked out of Xbox live preventing the transfer of dlc/xbla stuff? My sega genesis still works, Herzog Zwei must be played once a year to appease the German Gods of War.

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      May 22, 2013 3:06 PM

      The arcade part is the only thing that bothers me. I'd like trails, super meat boy, and a few others to still be playable.

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      May 22, 2013 3:11 PM

      Considering the platforms, original XBOX on XBone seems possible? but I doubt many people would dust off some Deathrow, Crimson Skies or Jade Empire

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        May 22, 2013 3:38 PM

        play some mother fucking Fatal Frame and The Suffering! and Links 2004

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      May 22, 2013 3:21 PM

      Echoes of derelict515 vis-a-vis Win32: http://www.shacknews.com/chatty?id=29906691#item_29906691

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      May 22, 2013 3:27 PM

      I agree with this actually. I was always so worried about this feature in consoles but in reality I hardly ever used it.

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        May 22, 2013 3:28 PM

        I'd rather they used the resources to make the new software better sooner.

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      May 22, 2013 3:42 PM

      Wii games is all i play on my wiiu .. Oh wait theres no wiiu games (still a nice to have)

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        May 22, 2013 5:20 PM

        I still love Tiger Woods, the wiimote is great with it. We still play Resort/Sports too.

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      May 22, 2013 3:46 PM

      You know, as much as I thought I was going to want BC on my 360 and PS3, I really didn't use it. I can count the BC games that I played on both systems on one hand. I'm sure you can make an argument that if BC had been more robust on the collective consoles it might have been more appealing, but in my case I doubt it.

      I would have played the fuck out of some RalliSport Challenge 2 and that would have been it.

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        May 22, 2013 3:53 PM

        The Rallisport games were some good times.

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      May 22, 2013 5:00 PM

      And with that quote, Microsoft can officially GO FUCK THEMSELVES.

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        May 22, 2013 5:04 PM

        As just a single example, note how many people just discovered System Shock 2. That could have happened with old XBox/360 games. But at least now they can cheaply port games over and sell them as new.

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          May 22, 2013 6:01 PM

          You are very right sir. I am actually on my way to my room to beat System Shock 2 as we speak.

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            May 22, 2013 6:40 PM

            Yeah but did you own it before or after it was RE-released from GOG? That is not just backwards compatibility. It is no different then games being released for the Wii virtual console. Great more people are trying out the game but it there was also some testing through GOG to get it working and installing on PC.

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              May 22, 2013 6:41 PM

              I play my original CD of it. Don't forget to salt the fries.

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                May 22, 2013 7:17 PM

                Yeah bu the whole resurgence happened because the game was re-released on GOG. It has always been available but most people are to lazy to look for it or go through any extra headache to get it working. The resurge of interest on it isn't entirely because of the backwards comparability of Windows at this point it could have been ported to run on android if they wanted.

                Also the difference between the system architecture of the PS3/PS4 and 360/XBox One is way more then just the steady evolution of PC hardware. Unless that system on a chip rumor had held true the chances of backwards compatibility were slim.

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                  May 22, 2013 7:23 PM

                  What I mean is that if someone bought an original copy of SS2 (assuming someone were foolish enough to sell theirs), they could run it on their brand new PC. This is true for many MANY PC games. It is true for NO XBox 360 games.

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                    May 22, 2013 7:27 PM

                    if you would like to propose a solution for binary compatibility across CPU architectures I'm sure a few people would be interested

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                      May 22, 2013 7:51 PM

                      Look, if I had that capability, I'd be playing Jane's ATF and Longbow, and not typing in this thread.

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                        May 22, 2013 8:15 PM

                        I mean, I get being disappointed, but I don't get the 'I'm taking my ball and going home' response if you understand the issues in play here. Sony and MS have the exact same problem in this regard.

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                          May 22, 2013 8:24 PM

                          No nononono. I don't own a 360, don't plan to own a XBone. "You are backwards." is what got to me. I *do* believe in playing old games and turning people on to old games (cough, play Terra Nova and Vietcong); he just came out of the blue and said not only that he doesn't care about such things, but I'm dumb because I do.

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                            May 22, 2013 8:27 PM

                            Oh, I also don't own a PS2 or PS3, and don't plan to own a PS4. Or an original XBox. Only a psone. Just clarifying.
                            Though I may still get a PS2 one of these days.

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                              May 22, 2013 8:41 PM

                              Pretty impressive, so you game solely on PC? I'm getting back into PC gaming recently, haven't touched a console in about a month. Planetside 2 is pretty badass so far.

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                                May 22, 2013 8:46 PM

                                Yeah. I mean, I miss some exclusives, but generally I don't MISS them, if you know what I mean. Already having a PC game available or coming that is similar or better, with few exceptions.
                                Mostly I'd be interested in niche Japanese games that no one would ever port like Godhand, Ken's Rage, Ookami...Brave Fencer Musashi maybe.

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                            May 22, 2013 8:32 PM

                            clearly MS believes the same thing, that's why things like Halo Anniversary exist and why significant effort was spent to enable back compat for Xbox games on the 360. He made a silly comment specifically about hardware back compat because it's expensive to do and for little gain as it turns out. You guys can turn it into a big thing about 'Microsoft hates gamers and old games and everything I love' if you want.

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                              May 22, 2013 8:38 PM

                              I said they could go fuck themselves. It became a big thing after that.

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                            May 22, 2013 11:43 PM

                            He's essentially telling us that playing Chrono Trigger (and all the other amazing games that paved the way for Microsoft to even have a console) is dumb.

                            Halo 5 or Super Metroid?

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              May 22, 2013 8:34 PM

              But that can't happen with the Xbox One. You wouldn't be able to buy a re-release of some obscure game because they'd have to put a ton of resources into porting the whole thing. Virtual Console stuff is trivial because of how easily it is to make an emulator for the NES and SNES, but when you're talking about playing good old Oddworld Stranger's Wrath on the Xbox One there's no chance in hell it'll happen.

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        May 22, 2013 5:16 PM

        Yeah. No BC? No big deal, but they don't have to be dicks about it. All they had to say was it wasn't a feature worth the resources required to do it right. The end. But no, just had to put the 'you're backwards' dig just to be dicks.

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          May 22, 2013 5:32 PM

          "It's something only STUPID people want. You're not STUPID, are you? Stop being STUPID."

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        May 22, 2013 5:26 PM

        They can xbone themselves.

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        May 22, 2013 6:56 PM

        Pretty much. Most of my Xbox games are live arcade games so forget them.

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          May 22, 2013 7:05 PM

          what are you going to do with all your PSN purchases?

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      May 22, 2013 5:47 PM

      I agree with this.

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      May 22, 2013 6:31 PM

      I guarantee in a few years they'll sell emulated "classics" just to grab the extra cash off that, but offer no backwards ownership rights on it.

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        May 22, 2013 6:35 PM

        so exactly what Sony did this generation?

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            May 22, 2013 7:45 PM

            Those were also full retail disc games on an SD platform turned into $20 HD digital releases on the new system, in addition to the disc compilations. Games from a system which (PS2) had no online account that digital licenses and achievements the same games could already be attached to.

            It's not just Sony either, Capcom and Ubisoft did the same with Resident Evil and Prince of Persia.

            But Who's going to bother porting a $10-15 XBLA game that's already HD and sell it for a much lower price than the original like that? What full retail 360 games are going to be worthy enough for remastering on the X'one? What can that offer already being in HD? Anisotropic filtering and clearer textures? Slightly better framerates? Unless they're doing a total overhaul / remake, which isn't the same as the PS3 examples, there won't be as much of a demand for rereleased "classics" on the new platform.

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              May 22, 2013 7:59 PM

              And the obvious overhaul example on the 360 is Halo Anniversary. I can see more of that kind of thing happening if there's a demand for it, but it will probably be just as rare.

              It's also unique in that it has the new art and visuals running on top of the same classic game, and original assets you could swap back to on the fly. While the PS3 HD releases were mostly the original stuff in a higher resolution without the completely overhauled visuals. Arguably a lot less work and resources doing it one way, and that way was acceptable for the SD to HD conversion, not so much in the HD to slightly better HD transition.

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                May 22, 2013 8:17 PM

                sure, all your points are reasonable, but what's the result? You're saying there won't be HD remakes. Well we know we can't do 'real' back compat. So that leaves what as our options? Keep the old hardware around or play via a streaming cloud service if you're willing to deal with the downsides of that system.

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                  May 22, 2013 8:41 PM

                  The result is we need people from Microsoft and Sony out there stating their intent to preserve their online digital libraries of games and our account purchases and alleviating some concerns, maybe even attempting to solve these problems rather than saying who cares? Because people will care. Eventually.

                  Problem is we're in uncharted territory right now, for the first time a large digital library of console games may possibly be lost to us for good. it's going to be years before we see how it shakes out, and few on our end will be saying much of anything until the time comes and the digital games or online services for the previous generation of hardware start to disappear forever. The less interest all parties show in keeping those digital games and libraries alive in the new systems, the less likely it is that I'll ever buy another game from these companies digitally. If the generation of hardware after this new one has enough architecture changes as well we could be going through the same process yet again.

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                    May 22, 2013 8:42 PM

                    maybe even attempting to solve these problems rather than saying who cares?

                    I mean, there is a known solution. Emulation is it. Current hardware just isn't capable of doing it well even if someone puts in the engineering work to make a capable general purpose emulator.

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        May 22, 2013 8:15 PM

        It costs money to port. It's not reasonable to expect devs to spend a lot of time and money making a port for free.

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      May 22, 2013 6:48 PM

      I still have my original PS3 that I bought a month after release, and I can count on one hand (actually about half of one hand) how many PS2 games I've played on it. Backwards Compatibility is overrated and I don't blame them them for not trying to include it on the next gen systems.

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      May 22, 2013 7:27 PM

      Yep. Pretty much.

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      May 23, 2013 12:01 AM

      I don't know. I'm not worried about backwards compatibility as far as physical media goes. But... XBLA games.. those should be backwards compatible.

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      May 23, 2013 12:14 AM

      I don't think I've ever put a previous generation game disc into a console of mine... so yeah, I actually prefer not having to pay for such a feature. Too bad for people who like to retro it up at times. I liked the rumors at one point that claimed that there would be a more expensive version of xone released with B/C, and a cheaper one without it. But I guess if the 5% figure is correct, there's no money to be made in that.

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