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Why isn’t backwards compatibility more talked about (or is it)?

Content of the article: "Why isn’t backwards compatibility more talked about (or is it)?"

With lockdown this year I've certainly spent more time than I used to playing games. One thing that's kept crossing my mind is how frustrating the lack of backwards compatibility is on consoles.

If you were a Harry Potter, LOTR, etc, fan, despite the advances in video-tech (dvd -> blu-ray/digital downloads -> streaming), it's still ridiculously easy to watch older movies. You could:

  • Record them from freeview
  • Watch on-demand on a set-top box (sky/virgin/etc)
  • Pick up a DVD for pennies and plug into any dvd-player/blu-ray player/pc/laptop/console
  • Stream or purchase where available online

In part this is because movies have been migrated to newer platforms, and partly because the older media still work with present-day tech.

However the same certainly can't be said for games. Imagine your friend/relative got really into x universe, they could easily enjoy all the movies and even soundtracks, but you wouldn't be able to share your experiences playing older games from this world. In some cases the games often feature canon/storytelling that isn't found in other medium.

And I've only mentioned games that form part of mainstream series for the sake of making a point; let alone the majority of games that fall outside this description.

Releases that came out on PC, yes, if you can find a reasonably priced copy you can fiddle about with compatibility settings and generally get it to work, but the same can't be said for PS1/2/3 + PSP/Vita games and their Xbox and Nintendo counterparts.

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It feels like a whole universe of content is slowly becoming less accessible.

The only workarounds I see to this are:

  • Purchasing second-hand consoles which as time goes on, only increase in price and become less reliable.
  • PC emulators (patchy, not legal).
  • Console mods (e.g. PS3 can support all older PlayStation titles, but again not legal).

Surely for Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo, releasing all these older titles on their respective digital stores would be a huge cash cow. I imagine there would be some technical challenges but surely not overly difficult if people who aren't paid to do this can produce emulators.

I imagine I'm not the first to think of this, far from it, and would be interested to hear other people's thoughts.

Source: reddit.com

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