Take-Two CEO: "I don't think backwards compatibility affects consumers at all"

GTA 5 parent publisher executive Strauss Zelnick not worried about the Xbox One and PS4's inability to play older games.

Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Max Payne 3 and Grand Theft Auto V parent company Take-Two Interactive, is not worried about the fact that the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are not backwards compatible.

"I don't see it as a problem at all," Zelnick said today during the Credit Suisse 2013 Annual Technology Conference. "I don't think backwards compatibility affects consumers at all."

Zelnick said gamers who want to continue to play their Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 games can simply keep their existing consoles and use an input switch. It's "no big deal," he said. His comments match up with what former Xbox executive Don Mattrick said during E3 in June.

At the time, Mattrick claimed that only 5 percent of gamers play past-generation titles on new machines. Thus, it would not make sense to invest time and resources into creating technology to allow gamers to play older games on Xbox One, he said.

"If you're backwards compatible, you're really backwards," he said at the time.

Though the Xbox One and PS4 do not support Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 physical discs, Microsoft has said its cloud servers are capable of streaming full games, while Sony has confirmed users can stream PS3 titles on PS4 through Gaikai beginning in 2014.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

392 comments
mrjesus6660
mrjesus6660

well I mean according to this -----> https://www.facebook.com/backcompatiblexbone you can actually play backwards compatible games sort of like a console hack. The Producers put it in there to test it but must not have liked it or decided to pitch it but it is still in the coding so you can still get to it

speedycerv1
speedycerv1

I disagree. and glad Nintendo at least is still doing it even if everyone else thinks it's a waste of time and money. I'd pay $200 more for a ps4 or xb1 that will play a faster loading, slightly uprezed version of the old system's titles. I have hundreds of games, half of which I haven't played yet, and the old games are just as fun as the new ones, so wtf.

Jak-25
Jak-25

I don't care what anyone says, backwards compatibility is important. I want to preserve my game library and not have my games stuck on the old console and lose them once the old console dies. Plus,  I want the newest console to eliminate the need for all the old ones. Nothing else about this subject needs to be said! This is not a problem for PC. I wish these companies can give us backwards compatibility like the PC has.


LonelyHippie27
LonelyHippie27

Really, it doesn't? That explains why I don't want a PS4 because I can't play The Last of Us on it (still haven't gotten a chance to play it)

dmdavenport
dmdavenport

I thought BC was important but it turned out to a talking point for fanboys and nothing else.  

Boddicker
Boddicker

There's no reason MS, Sony, and Nintendo's entire libraries shouldn't be online.  Just don't make us buy the same games over again every new console gen.


YearoftheSnake5
YearoftheSnake5

Backwards compatibility is a nice feature, but not an essential one.

DeFiLeDTitan
DeFiLeDTitan

This would be true if the new consoles were worth buying, and as of right now, I don't think they are. The next gen jump is no where near as large as the last one, so far anyway.

JDWolfie
JDWolfie

It's a money maker not having backwards compatibility. They can just re-release their old games. Just a add a few new touches to an already finished game.

UnrealPro
UnrealPro

That's why Don Mattrick works for Zynga now.

Nitroc
Nitroc

IF backwards gaming etc was there.. could older DVD disc effect a blu ray lens, dont know a lot about it , but I recall reading awhile back that a old DVD disc will burn out the blu ray faster?

Chaos_Dante_456
Chaos_Dante_456

Actually if the PS4 had been backwards compatible I would have had pre-ordered one. One of the main things that made me go ahead and get a ps3 was the idea that i could use as an upgradable/replacement to my ps2 as it could already play the 25+ Ps2 games I had at the tome plus the 2 or 3 ps3 games that were worth playing at the time. Right now there is little to no point in owning a console that has a library of less than 10 games.

You'd think backwards compatible would be a given at this day and age. I understand hardware complications, but some of these things should have been foreseen. Hearing remarks like this just feel more like a middle finger. Not to mention people who may not have had a ps3 or 360. If they want to play those games as well they either have to forgo buying an an xb1/ps4 and buy a ps3/360 instead or buy consoles form both generations.

WeWerePirates
WeWerePirates

You heard the guy, just keep your older consoles plugged utilising an input switch and keep all those consoles in the infinite space that apparently exists under your telly.

Ceclor
Ceclor

Zelnick is like most CEOs.  We are numbers to them.  Beyond that, what do they care?  They can make their speeches about what we, their customers, want and don't want.  You cannot tell them they are wrong.  

I like backwards compatibility.  It is a factor when I buy a new system.  Sure, I can leave my older system plugged in.  But it's convenient to use the new system to play old games.  But if the companies do not feel the need to spend time on a feature they don't believe I bother to use, that's ok.  They don't need my money either.

Neither system has any games on them that I want to play so I have not bought them.  I'd like to think that makes me a smart consumer since a game system with no games is merely an energy-using paperweight.  Or at least, I think it is.

forcefactor13
forcefactor13

What about people like me? I have an Xbox 360 (on which I play original Xbox games like Battlefront, Republic Commando, Halo 1 and 2, and the original Splinter Cell games). But I want to play PS3 exclusives like inFamous, Journey, Heavy Rain, Uncharted, Beyond: Two Souls and The Last of Us. I was planning on some day getting a PS3 in order to play these games. Then I saw that the PS4 was coming out and thought, "Hey, I'll just switch to Sony for the next gen, and I'll get to play all of these exclusives to boot. Two birds with one stone."

But no. If I want to play those exclusives, I have to get a whole different system (the PS3). I'm not made of money. I'm not buying two consoles. So sorry Mr. Zelnick, but you're wrong; the lack of backwards compatibility has certainly affected my buying decisions in that I'm not getting a PS4 in the near future, if at all.

That being said, I do understand that in order to move on to a better OS, old technology would become incompatible on new consoles. I understand, and I agree. Heck, I appreciate it in a way, because some day when I do get a next gen console (when the price drops quite a bit) I'm going to appreciate all the things possible on a better system that would not be possible on an older system or on a new system that is backwards compatible.

So I'm not fuming about the new tech; that's fine. I'm just a little ticked that this guy says it has no affect on consumers.

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

Going to have to disagree.  When purchasing my PS3 slim a few years back I was very surprised to see that they removed the backwards compatibility.  Looking at my stack of PS2 titles that my son and I had accumulated over the years and the fourth PS2 I had gotten due to shitty hardware failures, disappointment doesn't quite cover it.  Yes I still have my PS2 and if I'm lucky I can get it to play Crash Bandicoot or Spyro for my 6 yr old daughter.  It takes multiple multiple tries to get it to read the disc at all.

I'd say the reason for backwards compatibility is that I do not consider my 50+$ purchases as disposable products like paper plates.  If you feel that way I'm glad you have that kind of disposable income, but my family does not.  Esp when you're buying licenses these days and not the gd game/disc itself.  If they want to send me a new copy when my old one gets unusable (aka the kids have handled the disc too much) I'll complain less about backwards compatibility.  For someone who can't stand a good majority of the actors of this generation, I avoid movies and TV almost completely and I still enjoy most of my old games because I'm not of the opinion that better graphics = better game.

That being said they can keep talking like putting an emulator on their machine would be just too much work, I'll just get the ones online for my PC where all their games across all platforms are there to just take.

OGKNav
OGKNav

Uhhh... the reason I don't have a PS4 or XB1 right now is because of that very reason, NOT backwards compatible. And I'm sick of all this controversial console shit. Which is why I stick to PC 90% of the time.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

I can only agree. If you care so much about being able to carry on playing your last generation games, then keep your old machines.

UnstoppableKARL
UnstoppableKARL

If it wasn't an issue, it would have never came up.  Get real son.

vicsrealms
vicsrealms

Considering I spend most of my time on Fallout 3, New Vegas, Skyrim, and the Sega Genesis Collection (which is about the only game I play on my PS3 until the HD remake of FF10 comes out)  I would have to disagree.  The last new game I purchased was Rome 2...Ohhh was that a mistake!  Thanks to the numerous problems I have had with the last generation of consoles I have decided to stick with PC gaming anyway.

Jak-25
Jak-25

The PlayStation brand has such a MASSIVE game library. I think opposing the idea of backwards compatibility is stupid. T I really wish we had backwards compatibility. 

I wish they made a higher priced SKU that included full backwards compatibility with PSone, PS2 and PS3 games. I don't understand why there is no emulation software for PSone and PS2 games at least. My PS3 games are permanently tied to the PS3 and once my PS3 dies and Sony no longer makes them, my PS3 game library will die...So i think opposing the idea of backwards compatibility is dumb...

 I also never really understood why some people strongly oppose backwards compatibility and calling it stupid...

nousername66
nousername66

I tend to agree, once I have a new console I rarely even play older games any ways, and if I did,I would play them on the older console. Life is too short to be re-playing old games on new hardware.


If you want backwards capability to play old games, why even buy a new console in the first place?

IanNottinghamX
IanNottinghamX

Backwards compatibility is a HUUUUUUUUUGE reason Im not an early adopter of the Ps4. Because I  know that once I hook up the Ps4 theres no going back and there isnt space for both Ps3 AND 4 where I have my systems set up,..it would be too much of a mess I can do up to 3 consoles. in 1 area.

somebody336
somebody336

O rly?Thats the whole reason I didn't get either so it at least effects 1 person :p

Get_Shorty
Get_Shorty

It's no worry because people won't move on and buy a new system, just keep the old one.  My "old" ones are still keeping me busy. Nothing new (gameswise) on the new systems... yet.

boringdork
boringdork

I'm 32 years old. I'm a gamer - its my hobby and passion. Outside of mmos, I don't game with a lot of people - though I love games that give the option to. I play every console, although I try to keep one platform as my platform of choice for third party titles. Last generation was the 360 - the online gameplay was solid, party chat, first for Netflix and innovation, hell - even Kinect was an incredible site even if it doesn't do a whole lot.... /yells CANCEL.

However because of this lackluster attitude for backward compatibility is the reason that i'm doing more gaming with Steam and less with Microsoft. In fact, I haven't purchased a single title on XBLA since the new console (and lack of compatibility) announcement. That may not seem like a big deal, but I own over 160 digital titles on 360 alone. It adds up - and I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels this way.

It's because of this that I will NOT be making Xbox One my console of choice for the next generation for third party games. I don't want to purchase yet another 360 cause my current broke... again. Six of one console is too many.

Actually this time, I'm giving it time for the Xbox One and PS4 to work out the kinks - cause I don't want to beta test new hardware. It will be a bit before great, exclusive software will be available to each system. Will I purchase them? Eh... I know me, I'm sure I will... but for now? I'm going to play some Wii U - some great titles are out, and even more are on the horizon.

sinthytech
sinthytech

"Backwards compatibility only effects how much money we can get from the consumer", this is what he meant to say. 

boringdork
boringdork

If only 5% played past generation games on new machines they wouldn't be re-releasing games like Street Fighter 2, Frogger, etc - or are those now 'current generation' cause they were released for this console?

Fine_TableLamp
Fine_TableLamp

@Jak-25 Yeah, it's like they don't think about the fact that a few more years and it's likely that your old consoles will probably die. Then what are you suppose to do with all those old games that you might want to play for old times sake? And don't even bring up the stupid streaming option cause we all know they are going to charge us another ridiculous price for the same games we already own on disc.

Fine_TableLamp
Fine_TableLamp

@Boddicker Exactly. Why is it that Sony thinks it's alright to try to sell me PS1 games on my PS Vita for $5.99 and up (seriously some of them are $10.99)? I bought many of my PS1 games for cheaper than that when PS1 was current gen.

Jak-25
Jak-25

@YearoftheSnake5 Well considering there are hardly anything to play on PS4 and Xbox One, it is essential.

Duke_51
Duke_51

@JDWolfie To be honest, there's a few games I'd buy again if they re-released them in HD or something.

Manifest_78
Manifest_78

@Chaos_Dante_456 I bought my PS3(fat) at the time because I heard rumors that backwards compatibility was going away. I didn't think the trade off of no backwards compatibility for a larger HDD was worth it. Truthfully though I haven't used the feature much on the 360 or PS3. The feature was worth more on the PS3 just because you could bring your memory and save files from the PS2 to the PS3, but in hindsight, it really isn't a big deal.

The only reason most people care about backwards compatibility is that there is not enough content on next gen systems. Seriously, we had this same argument back in 2005. It was doom and gloom for the 360 because of limited backwards compatibility and once more when Sony took the feature away. Anyone notice we didn't get what we want and those consoles did just as well without it? 

boringdork
boringdork

@WeWerePirates HAHAHA, LOVE IT!!

With this mindset and the fact that I'm going on my sixth 360... Microsoft will definitely shatter all sales records of total units ever sold of any console ever. I love getting my annual 360, how about you?

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

@forcefactor13 These gaming company CEOs seem to be just as disconnected from their gaming fans as politicians from their constituents.

Jak-25
Jak-25

@nousername66 What's wrong with wanting to play both old and new games? I never understood this way of thinking.

reyno174
reyno174

@IanNottinghamX Agreed.  Not to mention the fact that the next-gen games don't really reach their true potential for at least a year, PLUS most of the good games are getting released on both consoles still.  I'ma wait.

RobDev
RobDev

@boringdork what he is saying is when companies went through the time and cost to include backwards compatibility next to no one used it, so why bother?

RobDev
RobDev

@Jak-25 @nousername66 Whats stopping you from playing old and new games? could you play blu rays on your dvd player or dvd's on your vhs?

Jak-25
Jak-25

@RobDev @boringdork I use it. I don't know where these companies are getting their numbers from but I was never asked by them about it.

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

@RobDev @boringdork Next to no one?  Where is your source because I've been using it since the PS2 was playing PS1 games standard.  Time and cost?  There are FREE emulators on the internet for your PC that are small enough of an install size as to be non existent.  If a nerd with too much time can hook me up with emulators and roms for no charge, these assholes can include it for the not so fickle with their money crowd one would think.

JohnAboy84
JohnAboy84

@RobDev I'm afraid that analogy doesn't work. Sounds like FORWARDS compatibility to me.

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

Not to mention Mattrick's comment was based on a survey of how many people were playing old games on Xbox Live and that seems to me to be a very shitty source to make such a claim.  Unless of course that claim lets you not put a trivial piece of software into your machine that in turn lets you resell the gd software someones already bought a license for.  Stop being manipulated by the marketing divisions purposely misleading choice of wording.

Also very LOL @ hard facts of the industry, a single survey does not a fact make.  They are guesstimates at best.

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

@RobDev @Tuckpoint @boringdork I understand what he is saying, I read the article too.  What you don't seem to realize is I dont think this guy is any sort of gamer at all, nor the people building his consoles.  So they saw a report that said 5%.  You know that statistics are easily misinterpreted or manipulated right?  

You DO realize that 5% is just 5% of who ever they surveyed correct?  That a survey of a few hundred people or even a few thousand is still wildly inaccurate considering there are several million gamers world wide right?  Were you one of the commenters in the *58% of parents don't know what ESRB ratings mean" article saying OH MY GOD 58% OF PARENTS ARE IDIOTS.  They surveyed 1300~ people and didnt even state if they jumped a church congregation after Sunday school and asked all the old folks.  Your lack of understanding of how statistics are gathered and interpreted is frustrating at best.

RobDev
RobDev

@Tuckpoint @RobDev @boringdork my point is he has the capability to ACTUALLY TALK to the console makers who told him this little point. why would a software guy be talking about hardware if he hadn't been told it by his business partners. Nothing about the pulse of gamers but the hard facts of the industry.

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

@RobDev @Tuckpoint @boringdork Yea I'm sure he does know the business side of things much better than I.  I have been a gamer for 25 years now though and I know that myself and friends still enjoy our old games.  Why don't you go ask Bobby Kotick which of his companies titles you will most enjoy because I'm sure he's got his finger on the pulse of gamers.  pssh.

RobDev
RobDev

@Tuckpoint @RobDev @boringdork try reading and comprehending. what HE IS SAYING (not me) is that next to no one used it. I imiagine he knows  a little bit more about the industry than you do.