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Is Backward Compatibility important to you?


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Home consoles, it's desirable but not a deal breaker.

 

Portables, it's extremely desirable.  Loved taking my 3DS and a mixture of my favourite DS and 3DS games.

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I'm not sure why Namco and the like aren't getting in on the streaming act, I'd be well up for playing the Ridge games again and they'd make loads of money. 

 

Maybe a different answer to a different question but it would be dead good. 

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7 minutes ago, Fry Crayola said:

I wanted to make a comparison there with films, and how we wouldn't put an arbitrary cut off in the last decade for what we'd decide to watch, but then films aren't backwards compatible either. They get re-released in a new format. A Blu Ray player will play DVDs, but a DVD player didn't play VHS or Laserdisc and your Fire TV won't play any of them. 

 

And books, they're not backwards compatible either. You can't read your paperbacks on a Kindle so you can take a few on holiday. Music is a bit more portable, ripping CDs to MP3 was properly supported and generally considered "the done thing", but your Spotify subscription won't play any of your vinyl unless the songs are on the service, which again is a re-release.

 

Backwards compatibility is always hamstrung by physical technology. But in the future, when we're not using a physical storage medium, I'd like to see progress being made. Mind you, I'd happily accept a streaming service with a large catalogue as an alternative - I think Nintendo's Switch Online services for the SNES and NES are excellent. 

agreed with all of that - backwards compatibility is an issue with those things too. And yet people still want them, rebuy them and if it is possible to make them backward compatible (like with Bluray to DVD) then people like that and accept it.

 

Games seem more transient to some and people just say "nah not bothered about the old stuff".

 

Maybe I just have a different view on older media and I am the same for older games. I prefer to SWOS to any modern football game - I can see the modern ones have technical advantages but I'd prefer to play SWOS. Similarly I prefer Dracula from 1931 to most of the versions since then (of Maybe Hammer's 1958 original with Christopher Lee)... even though effects,sound etc are all "bettered" by modern versions.

 

So yes BC is tricky for many media forms but if it is possible then I'd rather have it than not.

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25 minutes ago, Clipper said:

I am not sure I agree with those

 

1) Books are also long

2) Games create emotional engagement from even the first videogames in terms of excitement and adrenaline rush - similar to the level of engagement we get from, say, action films.

3) Films from more than 20 yrs ago suffer from the "jank" of rudimentary effects etc and yet still engage.

 

 


1) Books can be consumed anywhere you are, plus I’d argue that the percentage of books any one person ever rereads is probably quite small relative to the overall number they will ever read.

2) Action rush sure, but they don’t operate at the numerous other levels that older media does. There’s no video game equivalent of the whole family watching The Sound Of Music at Christmas every year.

3) Lots of older films don’t have any jank - Heat or Pulp Fiction are 25 years old and look like they could have come out yesterday. But even with films that do have ‘old jank’ like dodgy effects etc - these issues do not fundamentally interfere with the viewer’s experience in the way that, say, the brutally unforgiving difficulty of so many early 90s platformers or rubbish controls and cameras for early 3D games turns modern day players off.

 

Sensi is a very good example - I gave it a go for nostalgia’s sake when it came out on the 360 and found it near impossible to play to any reasonable standard.

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21 minutes ago, Fry Crayola said:

I wanted to make a comparison there with films, and how we wouldn't put an arbitrary cut off in the last decade for what we'd decide to watch, but then films aren't backwards compatible either. They get re-released in a new format. A Blu Ray player will play DVDs, but a DVD player didn't play VHS or Laserdisc and your Fire TV won't play any of them. 

 

And books, they're not backwards compatible either. You can't read your paperbacks on a Kindle so you can take a few on holiday. Music is a bit more portable, ripping CDs to MP3 was properly supported and generally considered "the done thing", but your Spotify subscription won't play any of your vinyl unless the songs are on the service, which again is a re-release.

 

Backwards compatibility is always hamstrung by physical technology. But in the future, when we're not using a physical storage medium, I'd like to see progress being made. Mind you, I'd happily accept a streaming service with a large catalogue as an alternative - I think Nintendo's Switch Online services for the SNES and NES are excellent. 

 

The thing is though that DVD has been around since 1997 and every modern player will play them so that's not a decade that's 23 years now which takes us back to well before the PS2 was launched. People just wouldn't buy a physical movie player now that didn't support DVD.

 

Also we are at the point where to your CD point it's equally as easy to rip your DVD collection and play it on your Fire TV.

 

I don't feel books are a valid comparision either (although obviously now you can get them on 'a device'), as in and of itself a book is all you need, you don't need something to play them on. Looked after properly books are perfectly readable centuries later.

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The point I was trying to make really was that games aren't terribly unique in offering half-hearted compatibility options. As the technology moves on, these will all be left behind and people will not carry their collections forward.

 

Except books. Print is eternal.

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The bigger issue for me, which is so far being skirted around, isn't so much around the replaying of old games, but simply the, well, playing of new games. It may be true that most of us also don't e.g. re-read all of our books, but I imagine there's not too many of us who refuse outright to read a book because it came out over 5 years ago, or would be delighted at the idea that, once every 5 years, a new film medium would come out, require a brand new machine to play it, and that machine wouldn't support anything older so we'd have to only watch films released in the next few years or remastered for the new format.*

 

Games culture still seems to normalise the idea that we only play new(ish) games, or revisit games we've previously played - the idea of people wanting to, say, go and try a ten year old game for the first time seems to be treated as aberrant. An attitude which presumably largely comes down to two things: 1. the idea of video games, still, as a 'technoligically driven' medium for whom technical advancement == improvement, so why would you want to go back? And 2. the fact that the companies heading the industry (and particularly driving the technological arms race) absolutely want to keep things that way.

 

*of course instead people have accepted the ephemeral horror that is streaming in its place, which is at least as bad, but in different, exciting ways

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MS's commitment to BC has been a real differentiator for the Xbox platform and it looks as though they've doubled down on it further with the Series X. I think it's great, I've set up a bit of a retro room in the house and I was playing my OG Xbox last night. Universal disc BC is of course the holy grail, but I'm delighted with what MS have delivered so far and it's secured them a sale from me in the future.

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It wasn't important for me going from 360/PS3 to PS4/Xbox One mainly because nobody wants to play that janky shit anymore, it's hugely important going from PS4 > PS5 or XO > XSX because this gen games will hold up still visually.

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Nope. I always think it will, I always keep old games, but I never actually play them again outside of very occasional exceptions. I'm not buying a new console to play old games, I'm usually buying it to play a single new game.

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I have to add that I feel that Backward Compatibility goes forward is equally important. I'm more drawn to buy Xbox in the knowledge that the games I own for the Xbox, Xbox360 and Xbox One may well work on it , but also my Xbox Series X games will still work when whatever supercedes it in the future. There's going to be a time where my old consoles break and need to be replaced. As time goes on a working old console might be hard to come by, or could be collectable and expensive. Or it might not connect to your 8K TV with its new connectors. So the idea of buying games with the confidence they will be playable at any point in the future really appeals.  Also, making BC a standard facility of your console range removes the discrimination of personal tastes. There are so many games that I really enjoyed that are not considered all time classics that single game emulation would never cater for.  Like, it's obvious that Halo on Xbox would be a candidate for a remaster and rerelease, the Halo MC collection was surely an inevitability but I'd bet no-ones going to do a remaster of Wreckless, Splashdown or Quantum Redshift anytime soon.  And licencing prevents a re-release of Jet Set Radio Future and Outrun 2, but I still have the disks and would be happier buying a next gen console if I knew it would play those disks.

 

I also think it's amazing that Microsoft are working in this way at all, because you'd imagine that any time you spend playing your games collection is time you're spending not spending money on new stuff.  From a business point of view they must think the benefit of increased console sales that BC might bring will generate more sales for the publishers of the new stuff. Like, they might get 20% more console customers because of the BC, and lose only 10% of the game time to old games, so it's a win.  I know this has definitely caused me to (a) buy a Series X at launch, and (b) given me the preference of buying Xbox over PS5.

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Most of my gaming on the Xbox One is local multiplayer and backwards compatibility has some bangers on that front, ironically mostly older. Perfect Dark, NBA Jam, Sensi, EDF, a bunch of fighting games. Those will all be among my most played games this gen, with probably Human Fall Flat at the top along with Minecraft and recently Minecraft Dungeons. 
 

Losing all those would be rubbish. As noted above, I think it’s a PC gamer mentality to be able to hop back into almost-anything either thanks to the games just working or a dedicated community. Test Drive Unlimited is still a pretty great game on the PC thanks to the community, for instance.
 

@Marlew Microsoft don’t decide which titles are backwards compatible, the emulation is pretty complete. They need permission from the publishers to enable it.

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1 hour ago, Wiper said:

The bigger issue for me, which is so far being skirted around, isn't so much around the replaying of old games, but simply the, well, playing of new games

 

That's it.

 

And it's not just about the past, either. In twenty years time, it's plausible I could be reading retrospectives about some cult hit from 2021. I'd quite like to be able to just buy the game and play it on my system, rather than needing to hunt down a physical copy and a working PS5.

 

A lack of BC isn't the only barrier to that - licensing deals expiring, digital games pulled from sale, and entire stores closing down all get in the way of that ideal, but it's an ideal I think the industry should be striving for rather than being focused entirely around contemporary releases and celebratory re-releases.

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12 minutes ago, mansizerooster said:

I love going back to the PS1 and 2 stuff, and would have loved to be able to chuck in discs from those gens into the PS5.

See, the irony is that if you decided to shun the next gen consoles and get a gaming PC, you could play all your PS1 and PS2 disks.  There's surely no reason they can't do BC for all PlayStation consoles on the PS5, it must be their choice not to do it, and I think it's going to cost them sales if they don't.

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1 minute ago, dumpster said:

There's surely no reason they can't do BC for all PlayStation consoles on the PS5, it must be their choice not to do it, and I think it's going to cost them sales if they don't.

 

It presumably didn't cost them many sales this gen, and they're clearly not arsed about it. 

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The only thing that remotely tempts me to buy the new Xbox is the backwards comparability. I have enough OG Xbox and 360 games, plus digital games on my XBL account, that it would make it worthwhile, especially if they run better. Mind you, if the current Xbox emulators get any better and easier to use I'd happily spend the money upgrading my PC and playing them that way. I have no loyalty to Microsoft in that regard. 

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For the moment, I'm indifferent - I've kept my 360 and a few games, and I'm happy emulating a lot of older stuff. However, I might support some kind of official re-release marketplace thing if there was enough of a catalogue and the prices were reasonable.

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Playing older games when/if I feel like it is pretty important to me, and it's pretty much half the reason why I play on PC most of the time.

 

I've joined communities that are dedicated to reopening servers of scuffed action RPGs (namely Phantasy Star Online and Universe), ran emulators to play rom files that can genuinely be extracted from official rereleases to play them better (the ACA Neogeo collections on Steam/Twitch), and I'm probably going to have a go on the recently patched version of Unreal Tournament '98 this weekend for a giggle.

 

For modern games? I'm not incredibly bothered - most of the games I want these days are bound to land on PC, and the ones that don't will end up in a situation like Teknoparrot's approach to Arcade preservation - someone will just end up making a front end that loads up all the x86 code in a manageable format, because consoles are nothing better than made-to-spec x86 computers anyway.

 

Such features were big reasons I wanted the PS2 and DS Lite, however - I distinctly recall going back to some looong JRPGs when I ran out of PS2 games to play in the early years of the console, and obviously playing GBA games on the Lite's screen was fantastic at the time. Still is, actually, I charged the bloody thing up the other day and it's still sharp and bright as a brass tack.

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The lines are very blurred now on xbox and what backwards compatibility really means. 

 

It's much more like a pc, there's no backwards compatibility, just better hardware. I like this for xbox because it's as much about forwards compatibility as backwards. 

 

I've not had an Xbox one, 360, nor ps3 or 4 so there are a lot of cross platform games I can be playing while I wait for more series X games to come out. That's obviously a bit of a temporary edge case for me but we're at the point where BC isn't necessarily something that requires dev effort to make happen.

 

Similarly the common reason for people not wanting to get PS5 or XSX is because it doesn't feel like a jump. No matter if the newer games are coming out on XBOne too, because things are blurred. It's much more pro consumer, much more like the mobile phone ecosystem. 

 

I don't particularly care or expect original xbox games to work nor ps1... There are obviously practical limits. 

 

I think I agree that going too far back isn't something I particularly want to do because unless the gameplay is more cerebral, eg an adventure game usually the improvements in fidelity, framerate and so on do generally translate to a better gameplay experience in purest terms. I think the switch Mario 3D collection demonstrates that a bit, considering they're examples of three generations of "the best games available" 

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4 minutes ago, cowfields said:

I don't particularly care or expect original xbox games to work nor ps1... There are obviously practical limits. 

 

A bunch of original Xbox games do work, and do so in 4K for that matter. :) It's a limited selection compared to the 360 games available, but there's some good stuff in there.

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4 hours ago, joffocakes said:

Hugely so. Very disappointed that I won't be able to play PS1/2/3 games on PS4 but I have a load of PS4 games so PS5 is still my choice for next gen as I'll finally get around to some of them in the coming years. I hope they see performance benefits similar to what Series X offers.

 

The excellent backward compatibility implementation of Microsoft is gonna see me picking up a Series X soon enough, since most of my 360 games were digital. Quite keen to play PGR 2 again as well.


I’d check the compatability list before getting too excited. I was in the same boat but turns out racing games are practically non existent. Same for the SEGA stuff unfortunately. 

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I thought it was interesting reading about the backward compatibility on Xbox One being hindered by the wording of contracts, some of which stated that Microsoft had the rights to publish the game on the Xbox 360 where others just said Xbox.  I *think* that meant that they could make some games back compat without needing any permissions, where for others  it would be costly to rewrite and renegotiate contracts for anything other than the biggest known games. I bet that Microsoft's contracts now don't specify a model number and all new games will be backward compatible in future.  It's a fantastic proposition to create brand loyalty. Every time a new generation comes along you just replace the console and keep the games.

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Taking the book example, I’m not particularly bothered by disk backwards compatibility. The chance of me going into the drawers and digging out a disk from the giant folder, for anything older than two years - let alone a 360 or PS3 game - is practically nil. And for the same reason I’m as likely to buy and download a book I already own in paperback or, particularly, hardback, simply for the weight savings and being able to read it in the dark.

 

being able to select a digital copy of a game and immediately start it, however, is much more likely: the equivalent of having a streaming service on tap and going back to old favourites - be that your forza/forza horizons, or your nuts and bolts, your geometry wars, or your upgraded red dead redemption. It does help that the cost of entry for most of that is nil, or peanuts. I’m not sure I’m yet at the stage where I’d buy a current gen game again digitally simply because I bought TLOU2 on disk.

 

 

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9 hours ago, dumpster said:

So for me, this video has been a real game changer!

 

 

 

In the current gen I have always been more drawn towards PS4, i am not sure why but I just prefer it.  I own an Xbox One but only because it was unusually cheap second hand so I snapped it up.  But this generation was the first where I was tempted to not buy every format and just do without those games I would miss.  As it turned out I bought them all eventually, but I only have a handful of games on the Switch, and the Xbox is primarily used for multiplayer Gamepass titles.  The PS4 remained my main console.  But recently I was tidying the garage and ended up looking at the boxes of stuff I can't bear to get rid of.  The Atari, the Snes, Megadrive, Dreamcast, Wii, even a Philips CDi, it's all there on the off chance I want to set it up, but getting covered in dust for 362 days of the year.

 

But the thing is, for me at least, there are many genres that peaked already. I've been banging on about how much I enjoy arcade racers and titles like Pure, Split Second, Sega Rally, Ridge Racer etc are already at the top of their game.  I'm really trying to like Hotshot Racing at the moment but for me, at best it will be as good as the games of the past, and at worst is a pale imitation.  Similarly, no-one can deny that GTA5 is an incredible piece of entertainment and an epic online experience.  But as as single player story mode, many people prefer GTA4.

 

I'm often not drawn to the Triple A game experience, and I don't have the time to devote 30 hours to The Last of Us 2, and can't imagine completing that, never mind shelling out for additional DLC. So for this forthcoming generation, I am prepared to wait.  I don't need a PS5 or Xbox Series X at launch and was quite happy to wait and see what games come out for each and make a choice when there are games I want to play.  But that video above is a proper game changer for me.

 

Because, it would appear that, for the most part, the Xbox Series X won't get consigned to the garage in a generations time.  All the games on the Xbox series will remain current, playable games on the console they bring out after the Series X.  I can flog the console, keep the games I like and buy the next Xbox, and the next Xbox after that and go back to those games I love, effectively playing a remaster on the new hardware.  Because when I play a game like Split Second, the graphics are still great, the gameplay is awesome and the only criticism is that it's 30fps.  If it's 60fps on the series X then it becomes every bit as good as the very latest racing games.  If a remaster of Sega Rally was released tomorrow I'd buy it - if a remaster of GTA3 or Vice City was released tomorrow I'd buy them all.  And now, according to Digital Foundry, I might well already own remastered versions of all my favourite games, in boxes, in my garage. 

 

In summary, Backward Compatibility could well be enough of a reason for me to switch to Xbox in the next gen, put the PS4 in the garage and buy an Xbox Series X on launch. My experience of playing Earth Defence Force 2017 on the Xbox One (the 360 game becomes a hell of a lot smoother even on the basic Xbox One) makes me excited to play other games I love on better hardware.  I know these benfits won't be the same on every game, but I'm very intrigued by the potential of a new console that effectively comes bundled with a 60fps remaster of all my favourites, right out of the box! In a world where Nintendo has proved that we will pay £50 for emulated Mario games, it seems an extremely generous and welcome way to move forward.

 

Sounds great but it's a shame EDF was ruined in that way.

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