Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
01 June 2006
Microsoft odd-man-out on backward compatibility?
First, the context, from Kotaku:
Nobody is concerned anymore about backwards compatibility. We under promised and over delivered on that. It's a very complicated thing... very complex work. I'm just stunned that we have hundreds of games that are backwards compatible.

He added: "more are coming, but at some point, you just go, there's enough, let's move on, or people aren't as worried about a game being backwards compatible - and I like to think we've upheld our end of the bargain in making at least two or maybe three hundred games backwards compat."
Sony set the standard for backward compatibility with the PlayStation 2. We already know that the Wii will be playing GameCube games. (This is because Nintendo didn't really design a brand new system; instead they focused on a whole new control interface and simply turned the hardware they had up to 11.) Furthermore, the Wii virtual console will give access to much of Nintendo's back catalog, so in that sense it is more backward compatible than anything else available.

So why is Moore so down on it? Perhaps it is because it's one of the things that they know they won't do as well as the other guys. They won't have a motion-sensing controller, either, so instead of getting with the program or simply touting their own advantages we have Microsoft reps pushing the "Sony copied Nintendo" line pretty hard.

Labels:

--Matt Matthews at 10:54
Comment [ 13 ]

Comments on this post:

"under promised" and "over delivered"? How exactly, Peter? Didn't MS promise near complete backwards compatability, even when naysayers suggested that going the emulation route was problematic? Don't titles like Jet Set Radio Future, Mercenaries, Psychonauts, GTAIII, and Conker (a Rare/MS first-party title) still not work?

While it may be true that the mainstream customer probably doesn't care about BC, and, add to this the fact that the original XBox library wasn't that deep to begin with, it doesn't change the fact that their PR machine lied, at some level. Just like Sony's. Just like every big business, I guess.

I've heard the PS3 BC will be going the emulation route too, which means it'll be just as bad. But, knowing how Sony likes to milk HW for as long as they can, at least I'll be able to buy a cheap, new PS2 a couple years after the PS3 launch.

By Blogger Dan-o, at 01 June, 2006 14:38  

I can see "under promised." At one time, they had pretty much changed their promise to hoping that Halo would work, and going forward from there... As more than Halo is supported, in that sense they under promised and over delivered.

On the flip side, I've read complaints that even some of the officially supported games may not be working that well.

The PS3 will probably be emulation. The PS2 didn't do the greatest job, particularly in regards to hardware issues for PS1 games. And heck, it bears repeating that Sony's slim-line PS2s couldn't even properly play some PS2 games, much less encountered an increasing number of PS1 games that they wouldn't support.

And the Wii will most certainly use software emulation. They've a NES and N64 emulator for the Gamecube already. Though even the GC N64 emulator had issues. Majora's Mask had emulation problems mentioned in its manual. And people copying/hacking Gamecube games found the emulator was only finished enough to play arguably unambitious code, or mostly first party Nintendo games.

By Anonymous Baines, at 01 June, 2006 20:49  

I really do wish people would drop that idiotic "It's backwards compatible with everything" B.S. about the Wii. It is BC with the Cube, and EMULATING everything else. BIG DIFFERENCE!!!!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 01 June, 2006 23:49  

Anon: What are you talking about? I made a clear distinction between hardware backward compatibility (since it's a GC++) and the virtual console (which is emulation). They're different means, to be sure, but the hardware makes the effect the same.

By Blogger jvm, at 02 June, 2006 02:30  

baines, the current guess on the N64 Zeldas on the collectors and bonus disks are that they were recompiled to be GC native, not emulated.

By Blogger JohnH, at 02 June, 2006 05:37  

I really have to watch "This is Spinal Tap".

By Anonymous tony, at 02 June, 2006 07:47  

I'm pretty sure that Microsoft doesn't really make money on backwards compatability (you probably are more likely to buy a used game or already own the game for it), which is why they don't really want you to be interested in it.

By Anonymous zachary, at 02 June, 2006 12:42  

To JVM.

It wasn't directed at you specifically, just the fanboy hype that seems to clog up the net lately.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 June, 2006 19:52  

Perhaps it is because it's one of the things that they know they won't do as well as the other guys.

I think this is on the money. Microsoft PR, it seems to me, tends to pooh-pooh whatever features they lack (even more than average). It's very much a "We don't have that because really you don't want that -- you just don't know you don't want it" sort of company.

However, as has been said here, whether they'd do it "as well as the other guys" if they set their minds to it probably isn't the biggest issue. Backward compatibility gave the PS2, in my opinion, had a big competitive edge for the first-time console buyer. XBox doesn't have the vast back-catalog to make it as useful a feature for Microsoft.

It's also probably not big an advantage for the PS3 as it was a generation ago, either. I think Sony would've preferred sitting in the PS2/XBox generation for several more years, until backwards compatibility became a must-have. And a $600 price tag would look more reasonable, considering how long your previous console lasted.

To be honest, I prefer that scenario too. I don't think the lack of next-gen high-def whatever is holding my gaming experience back. In that sense, Wii is better targetted toward me -- near impulse-purchase price and focussing on funky interface rather than processor-intensive graphics.

By Blogger Bob, at 03 June, 2006 06:55  

Bob said: I think Sony would've preferred sitting in the PS2/XBox generation for several more years, until backwards compatibility became a must-have. And a $600 price tag would look more reasonable, considering how long your previous console lasted.

I'm not sure how much longer they'd've liked to stay. After all, Sony has already pushed the PS2 further than it pushed the PSone. Go back and check the graph in my Xbox2Soon article.

I think the PS2 also has more software than the PSOne had. Backward compatibility, if it's near 100%, would already be a great value.

By Blogger jvm, at 03 June, 2006 09:42  

I think the PS2 also has more software than the PSOne had. Backward compatibility, if it's near 100%, would already be a great value.

I'm afraid I'll nitpick "great value". 100% PS2 backwards compat on PS3 would be numerically greater than PS2's near 100% bkwds compat w/ PS1.

If Sony could release [the $600] PS3 [with Ridge Racer!] for $450 without such bkwds compat, is it still such a great value? Pretty obviously not. $50 less? Perhaps, if I don't already own a PS2. Though this is one big reason I got the PS2 (never owned a PS1, unless you count the Virtual Game Station), it ultimately wasn't such a great benefit to me. I doubt I've purchased more than a half-dozen PS1 games since.

I haven't heard anyone complain that the GB DS doesn't play GB"1" games. Well, except for me, and even I have two pieces of hardware that'll fill the old school niche nicely.

By Blogger rufbo, at 04 June, 2006 20:09  

As I've noted before, my PSOne collection probably doubled in size during my first year with a PS2. The combination of an all-in-one machine, a glut of used PSOne software, and dropping PSOne game prices was too much for me to resist. So, an all-in-one PSOne/PS2/PS3 machine is something I look forward to owning.

By Blogger jvm, at 04 June, 2006 21:17  

I think it is pretty ridiculous that the DS doesn't have backwards compatability with game boy games, and especially multiplayer gba games.

By Anonymous zachary, at 04 June, 2006 21:17  

Contact Us

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

 Feedburner

Playing

Warm bile sold separately:

Browse Curmudgeon Gamer Memorial Library

Blogroll:

Internet game search:


Archives:
Classic: 02/2002 to 10/2005
Google
 
Web curmudgeongamer.com

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?