Backward compatibility most important next-gen feature for gamers - Survey

GameSpot survey indicates gamers keen on playing older software on new hardware, though they have little faith in companies to provide the means.

Yesterday, GameSpot published the results of a reader survey conducted by GameSpot Trax that indicated the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 360 successor already have a leg up on the Wii U, Nintendo's forthcoming tablet-based console in terms of consumer purchase intent.

GameSpot's reader survey found that backward compatibility is a big deal.

Also revealed was that backward compatibility was viewed as an important feature for next-gen consoles more than any other. Some 83 percent of respondents said backward compatibility was either "very important" or "somewhat important" to them in a new console. Better graphics was important to 80 percent, while ability to download full games was important to 49 percent, and better integration of motion controls was important to 32 percent.

Despite that, GameSpot's survey also found that just 24 percent of respondents believed backward compatibility is likely to be a feature of the next generation of consoles.

Nintendo has already confirmed that the Wii U will be backwards compatible with Wii games and controllers, but neither Sony nor Microsoft have offered such an indication. (Those two companies have not officially unveiled their new systems).

If the next Xbox and the PlayStation 4 are revealed at the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo, as the latest rumor suggests, will backwards compatibility be a component of these systems? If GameSpot's survey is any indication, backwards compatibility is what gamers want but perhaps not what they expect.

For more on the results of GameSpot's reader survey, check out the larger feature.

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137 comments
BestJinjo
BestJinjo

People will purchase PS4 even without BC. BC is always overhyped but when you think about it's irrelevant for the most part in the end. What's the point of spending $400-500 on a new console to play 10-15 year old game PS1-2 games? People buy a new console to play next generation games. This is why they spend $400-500 as early adopters to have the latest and greatest in graphics and features on the console side. If there aren't enough next generation games to make a new console worth buying, they just wait 2-3 years for the library to build up and prices to drop and buy it then. All this time they can wait and play their PS1, 2, 3 games if they so desire. In contrast, BC means higher manufacturing costs, lower profit margins for Sony and/or higher costs to us consumers for having physical hardware that allows for proper BC to work. With Sony losing so much $, they cannot afford to incorporate the Cell CPU into PS4 and new components. It would also mean a much larger cooling system, case, motherboard, etc. Also, as consumers, I bet most of us would choose a cheaper PS4 than a $50-80 more expensive PS4 with BC.

 

For anyone who never purchased a PS2/PS3, they'd also be better off buying full HD/remastered remakes of the best PS2/3 titles at the Sony online store. 

kamg6
kamg6

They should keep high launch price but give % of each console to charity eg africa or somewhere else. That would be a good idea, imagine if Sony said that 1% of every ps4 sold money goes to Africa or some charity...

Morphic
Morphic

I swear if PS4 has PS2 compatibility, I will buy it on day 1.

nate1222
nate1222

The lack of BC with consoles is part of what drove me to the PC gaming scene. At least with PC games you can download FREE patches so the new OSes can read the older games. Console makers usually stiff you on it.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

Durability is really my most important aspect of the next-gen consoles... *looks at 5th Xbox 360 with a suspicious glare*

dgnr82cool
dgnr82cool

I want the xbox to keep it custom soundtrack feature. Running across a huge-a$$ game like oblivion or skyrim was made much easier if I have a soundtrack that I wanna listen to, or a streamed audiobook. Its one of the coolest features that xbox has had since the first one, they better not screw this up.

darksiED70
darksiED70

i'm pretty sure the majority here agrees with me : if a new console does not have bc ... we won't buy it! it's that simple.

dunk_420
dunk_420

Seeing how sony pulled backwards compatibility from the ps3 i dont think they will put it into the ps4 they want people buying games for the new system

Gen007
Gen007

BC is def gonna be important to many people after all of the amazing games that came this gen but its far easier said then done. Bringing full BC to next gen systems comes with a ton of hurdles. Software emulation probably isnt gonna be an option as it is a massive undertaking with a bunch of pitfalls and compatibility issues. The next gen systems would also have to be really powerful to pull it off software based emulation.So for full BC they will probably go with hardware based emulation which is costly to them and us. Ill be impressed if Sony and MS can pull it off.

Trickymaster
Trickymaster

I think the most difficult backwards compatibility is going to be the PS3. It will be a pain to map the tasks of the SPEs to a new CPU because the Cell processor is already complicated. -SPEs calculate shaders. Those tasks would have to be remapped to the GPU. -The Cell uses RAM in a completely different way. Only the PPE (main core) has access to the main memory while the SPEs only have access to 256KiB. I think PS4 might drop backwards compatibility altogether and just expects you to keep your PS3. It's too damn complicated unless they will use another Cell processor that works just like the PS3 one. Xbox will have fewer issues but still. How do you split up the shared memory when the next console strictly divides memory between GPU and CPU? The only console that doesn't have to worry about this is the Wii because any future console could simply run an emulator to simulate the older console since the games wouldn't take that many resources.

Gurzociurlo
Gurzociurlo

I wish that Wii U had Wii + Gamecube retrocompatibility... How much more would it cost?

Omega_Zero69
Omega_Zero69

BC is where its at Sony needs to up ante and get in gear before Microsoft beats them to it.

Kane04
Kane04

Sony shot themselves im the foot when they took away BC on the PS3, I had it on my original 60GB euro day 1, sadly that YLOD. Just yesterday I was dying to play some MGS3. And I've been betting for like 2 years the new Xbox is gonna be called Xbox4Live. Bring back BC, I know you want us to re-buy our games as HD remakes but I'll be the one deciding if it's worth the money or I'll stick with th version I already got and paid for.

tsiper
tsiper

Its very important to me but I don't believe Sony or MS will offer it in the next system ( which I hope is at least 2 years away) a guy can dream right lol!

stick2zero
stick2zero

It's Very important! I have to complete all the great jrpg on ps1 classics before beating all jrpg on ps2., Why? dont you want to play the original ff7 anymore?

sirkibble2
sirkibble2

@Annoyboy_uk I see what you're saying. But here's what I'm trying to say: when Nintendo has done backwards compatibility, they have done it right. Only the PS2 was the only other console to do it right and for some reason, Sony couldn't maintain that.360 failed miserably. Nintendo did what was expected with BC on the Wii. Gamecube was their only other disc medium. All I'm saying is, when Nintendo does do BC, they do it right.

yukinaze
yukinaze

there a good things when you have a backward console you can play old games and back the old memories with friends playing old school game, but the only problem is the hacker they will made the console to install a game on hdd.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

@ maxwell97 Yes, i agree that it's more than just a change in format. But as consoles become more and more like PC's, it shouldn't be that much of a struggle to try and find a way to make most games work. The 360 never had full BC, but you could play a lot of the Xbox games, and the PS3 can handle PS games with few hiccups. I also hate being asked to repurchase games I already own with no enhancements for the same price as a current gen downloadable game. If the new systems come out with no BC, I'll be fine with that. At least they will have said "NO BC" upfront, and don't slowly phase it out later.

powerman1426
powerman1426

Backwards compatibility could be good for both sides. It is good for the gamer because you retain the ability to play your favorites, and cuts the possibility of switching cables/adding clutter that multiple consoles would involve. I'd think videogame companies would like it because it may help cut down on the "problem" of second hand games because they'd still work

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

Gamespot's taking their own polls too seriously :P Anyway,Microsoft and Sony better take note of this, Otherwise Nintendo's been on track on this, Wii can play GC, DS/DSlite played GBA,3DS can play DS, and Wii U will not only play Wii games, but give certain games some of its innovation, which i find to be pretty awesome that we can use newer hardware for older stuff.

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

I don't like paying for my games more than once. That's why I still have my PS2, and I'll still have my PS3 once the PS4 comes out. Unless there's a 100% backwards compatibility mode, I won't get rid of my old stuff. If you want to completely re-do Final Fantasy 1 through 6 with brand-new graphics and gameplay, and not just port it over, then, MAYBE, I might buy the new version if I think it adds enough. I won't fork out money for a straight port - backwards compatibility solves that problem. And don't tell me it's a disc laser issue. We have combo drive technology already. And just so you understand how dedicated I am to my stance, I still have MS-DOS 5.0 in a virtual machine so I can run really, really old games. And Win95. And Win98. And MoSlo. When I see a fully backwards compatible OS, I'll get rid of the deadweight...but until then, it's the only way I can play these games. Some I can't play because the virtual machine emulation isn't 100% correct (Privateer 2 comes to mind). I see no reason to throw away good games. I'll play them until the hardware dies (and that will be decades from now). Maybe Sony, Microsoft and the rest will honor that legacy one of these days. I'm not holding my breath, though.

Nova_Mongoose
Nova_Mongoose

I don't know which console I will buy next gen but I can tell you which one it won't be: Wii U. That controller looks horrific. I really don't know what the big N is thinking, but it's crazy and I don't think it's going to sell. I think this gen may find Nintendo ending up as nothing more than developers for Sony and Microsoft.

servb0ts
servb0ts

BC is Important, because these new GEN seem to delay, awesome games and give use average generic games. IMO PS3 and Slim should of been mandatory requirement for B/C.instead of BS PS2 games they put on PSN.

amirzaim
amirzaim

BC is most important part where most current-gen games are too generic and not cool and sometimes old games are pretty much better than current-gen games.

cdog21
cdog21

I was a Nintendo kid up until the release of the PS2. Thanks to the PS2's BC I was able to enjoy some of the games that I never played before. I had never even heard of Xenogears, but I got to play it thanks to BC on the PS2. A BC PS2 allowed me to play the last 3 Final Fantasy games before the jump to the PS2 FFX. For me BC is the most important feature on a console. I hate the PS3 for getting rid of that ability, but I hope that it gets brought back in the PS4. Microsoft hasn't disappointed me so far since all we need to play BC games is a small download and I hope they keep it up with 360 successor.

hatieshorrer
hatieshorrer

But the Sony representatives said backward compatibility was a lest gen. feature why would they be wrong.

wyan_
wyan_

Only 24% of those surveyed thought backwards compatibility would be in next gen consoles. All three current systems are, so I'm surprised at the pessimism. That's one of the few things I would be willing to bet money on. In fact, I think we will see even better, more robust backwards compatibility features.

Lach0121
Lach0121

I plan on getting a WiiU, not just for good graphics Nintendo games. But to have basically the bulk of the entire Nintendo backlog available to download and play on that one system. We have a Gamecube. Don't have a wii, were thinking about a Wii, but then we heard WiiU is coming so we didn't worry with getting a Wii. So yeah BC is a must for us to be getting a WiiU. I expect the same from Sony and MS, otherwise we may not be getting (or investing much) into either of their new systems. May just stick with our PCs.

Sigil-otaku
Sigil-otaku

Backwards compatibility really is one of the best features, after all it's not only shockingly convenient (people complain about just changing discs, when you have 10 consoles you can't have them all plugged in so changing consoles is a hassle) and if you miss one of the consoles (say you got a PS3 rather than a 360) then it the 360's successor had backwards compatbility you'd have 2 consoles worth of games for the price of 1. That is a brilliant feature for replayability of old classics, convenience and sometimes even improvement such as the PS3 which had HD upscaling on old games until it got removed.

The-Neon-Seal
The-Neon-Seal

Yes, it is important. Ten years down the line I still want to be able to rock Skyrim and Halo 3 old school style. If it can be done on pc then console makers need to make it happen. With out BC it's like the company's are saying, you can have these shiny, all flash no substance games right this instant but once your old system dies you can never play your favorite games ever again... which is really sad.

trdrstv
trdrstv

I'll give you my #1 reason for BC... Rock Band. I've been a heavy supporter since the (midnight) launch of the first game and if I can't port / migrate the hundreds of tracks I have then I will be MUCH less interested in the new X-Box. At least so far Nintendo Announce Wii U will be BC with Wii games AND peripherals, so if they don't overprice their kit at launch like the PS3 did they can count on a sale from me.

Spacerac
Spacerac

Zaiwen got a lot of thumbs down but he has a point; I would actually like to see a backwardd compatible system available alongside a non backward compatible system. People like me can pay extra for the compatibility, people who only like the latest hot new thing or have infinite tv inputs can pay less for the one without it.

nurnberg
nurnberg

Most important feature for me would be the carrying on achievements and trophies.

Get_Shorty
Get_Shorty

NO THE LEAST IMPORTANT We have the old consoles to play old games. Concentrate on better system and not have to worry about fitting old game engine in new one like when the PS3 had backwards problems.

Vambran
Vambran

Would be nice to have Backward compatibility. And i don't mean Re-buying the game as DLC.

Gh05t_
Gh05t_

The next gen should DEFINITELY support this gen's hardware (the Wii U supports Wii, the PS4 supporting PS3...ect). Older formats should be digital. Wii has the virtual console which is GREAT! The Wii U needs to have ALL the Gamecube hits for download(eventualy)... I want Paper Mario and Windwaker on my hard drive! PS3 is starting this with its ps2 store front and the HD collections they have been pushing out. I know most of us have the hard copys of our favorite games and want them to play on our new system, but we are moving so far ahead of that format and so quickly, we just cant have all the hardware on one system. But digital IS possible and we DO want it!!!! So get a clue developers!!!

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

If they want people to buy the new hardware sooner then they should figure out how to include backwards compatibility at launch.

Icehearted
Icehearted

Sony and Microsoft both promised Backward Compatibility, then both dropped it and gave people the finger because they could. Sony's excuse was that they didn't want to compete with their own hardware (the PS2 was outselling the PS3), while Microsoft just didn't really care. Once bitten twice shy.

ads_legend
ads_legend

I really think that BC is important for the next generation of consoles. Maybe they could make a BC version and a version without BC so that the people that want BC can have it but the people that don't want it could save some money.

DeX2010
DeX2010

I think BC is most important this generation, especially with the Wii U, as this generation is unlike others imo. HD games will play smoother and they will still look stunning, plus it will give gamers an added choice of game to play.

MajinSquall
MajinSquall

while i agree that at the beginning backwards compatibility is important once the console has secured its self and has a good size library of games then it's no longer needed that's why i agree with sony removing PS2 compatibility from PS3's but they did do it to early in my opinion

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

It is the same every generation... "BC is important! We need it!" I was one of those who liked that the 360 was backwards compatible, and I played Half Life 2 ONCE. Then I went back to drooling as I played Gears of War. BC is most important before you buy the new system, after that, not so much.

shahroz47
shahroz47

Don't get me wrong, I like BC but I also love those HD collections.

HailHellfire
HailHellfire

they usually don't have the best launch titles or enough launch title... i say backwards compatibility is a must... theres no excuse for not having enough launch titles or great launch titles but i have yet to see a console come out & have a day one purchase due to how many great games it already has out... it usually takes a year or longer (PS3), till they finally have an array of games to choose from... backwards compatibility helps this out a bit... that & its a must!!!!

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

They really should be backwards compatible... I know loads of people say that we shouldn't expect it as we'll be playing next-gen games and this and that, but the bottom line is if you have a PC, it's 100% backwards compatible. No issues at all with that. There is absolutely nothing whatsoever to prevent a company implementing it other than a conscious financial choice - this is usually why it's left out.

kamg6
kamg6

might motivate people to buy lol

kamg6
kamg6

I think they have a market but I don't see it being as popular as Gamecube or wii relative to Sony and Microsoft next gen

kamg6
kamg6

I guess you're right...but it's mainly for people who like playing some of their old games, which is rare after you complete a game, or because people want to wait until the ps4 comes out and not buy a ps3 if they don't already have one and they see good games coming out for the ps3 like the last of us, and they hope to be able to buy a ps4 when it comes out and play that on it, but by the time ps4 came out there would probably be as good or better games for the ps4 that people would rather buy and play...

kamg6
kamg6

but they have mario, zelda, metroid,

Pokemon and some other exclusives I think