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Unlike Microsoft, Sony offers a less ambitious answer to the demand for backwards compatibility.

Sony’s Unfortunate Choice for Backwards Compatibility

Unlike Microsoft, Sony offers a less ambitious answer to the demand for backwards compatibility.
This article is over 7 years old and may contain outdated information

Since Microsoft made the announcement that they would offer backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 games in November 2015, there has been a growing list of Xbox 360 games that are available on the Xbox One. But another big developer is lagging behind: Sony and its PlayStation brand. While PlayStation does have a streaming service, PS Now, we will not see PS3 discs working in PS4 consoles anytime soon. 

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In recent comments made by Sony’s Global Sales Chief Jim Ryan in a Time Magazine interview, it was revealed that Sony has considered backwards compatibility, but it is not something they deem worth currently working toward.

When we’ve dabbled with backwards compatibility, I can say it is one of those features that is much requested, but not actually used much. That, and I was at a Gran Turismo event recently where they had PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 games, and the PS1 and the PS2 games, they looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?”

This is unsurprising yet disappointing news for those of us who have held onto our old games, hoping that Sony would at some point catch up with Microsoft. Sony may not fully commit to backwards compatibility, but PS Now may offer a solution.

The service that Sony offers certainly fulfills one type of desire that many PlayStation players have; the craving to quickly play an old, classic game, like Red Dead Redemptioncan be satisfied with a PS Now subscription. A gamer like that may decide it is worth the $20 a month subscription fee.

However, this option also means gamers that may already own a game like RDR on the PS3 would have to theoretically pay more money for a game they already own. This subscription service disadvantages those players since they must be a subscriber to be able to stream games, rather than being able to pop in a disc they definitively (already) own. 

Microsoft has brilliantly been able to continue to port over myriad 360 games to the Xbox One, whether from digital download or disc. Essentially combining the capabilities of two systems into one makes for a much more streamlined gaming experience.

Xbox users who kept their 360 games also don’t have to worry about spending more money just to play their favorite games on a new system. Even if gamers got rid of their previous library, they can pay a one-time fee to purchase the game again and play it at their leisure. This way, they have access to that game when they want to enjoy it. And unlike PS Now, those players own the game — they don’t rent it. 

Microsoft and Sony have always been competitors and will continue to be so in the future. Microsoft is doing a great job in offering options for those players who want to play 360 games on the Xbox One. While Sony has offered a service that allows players to play older games as well, it is not nearly as beneficial as total backwards compatibility. 

Is Sony doing what they can to accommodate players who want backwards compatibility or taking the easy way out? Sound off in the comments and let us know what you think! 

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I write things about video games sometimes. 🙃