A disgruntled PS3 owner laments the lack of backward compatibility in Sony’s upcoming console.
When the PlayStation 4 is released in the fourth quarter of 2013 and I’ve spent a huge wad of my hard-earned cash to finally bring it home, I’ll be faced with a conundrum. Not over whether to play it or not, but what to do with the pile of discs towering next to my obsolete friend, the Playstation 3.
The PlayStation 4 will not be backward compatible. Instead, Sony is tinkering with the idea of supporting its catalogue of games via a service called Gaikai, a digital cloud-based system which will allow users to play games via internet streaming. Sony spent a mind-blowing $380 million to get it for their new console. It sounded like the perfect solution to the lack of backwards compatibility until Sony also announced that the service won’t be available from day one. As a streaming service it will require an ‘always-on’ net connection like OnLive, which hasn’t flourished as hoped. Oh, and it will probably cost a subscription fee too.
Sony’s decision has spawned a series of hot debates amongst gamers and critics. There are two camps: those that aren’t too bothered about losing money on old games and even spending more on them, and people like me who feel Sony have made a massive blunder.
Supporters of Sony have pointed out that in order to make the console’s cost more accessible, not everything could be integrated into the new console. Couldn’t it be argued that with all the advances in technology, backwards compatibility is a must in a new console, especially when components are cheaper and easier to get hold of? The notorious Cell Architecture may be to blame here…
Gamers will have to think wisely about their expenditure on new games over the next couple of months.
Sony’s decision is an insult to the fans who have spent ludicrous amounts of money supporting their products over the years. Most gamers I know don’t have the disposable income to throw at new games. They ponder long and hard before deciding what their next game will be because money is extremely tight nowadays. The game they do eventually choose is more than just a game; it’s a memento, an investment which represents the opportunity to escape reality for a few enjoyable hours.
In the past year alone, millions of gamers have purchased copies of the new Tomb Raider, Bioshock Infinite or are intending to spend £40 on The Last of Us or Grand Theft Auto V. After Sony’s declaration, however, it seems pointless investing in these games because their shelf-life has been massively decreased. Gamers will have to think wisely about their expenditure on new games over the next couple of months.
PCs have never had a problem with supporting old titles. In fact, they’ve always been prized and won gamers’ affection for allowing them to relive old classics. The new PlayStation should have been able to pride itself on that too, despite the architectural difficulties.
There’s no doubt that the PS4 will reap in the riches and sell in the millions. But for many gamers like myself, who have supported the company for over a decade, we’ll be the ones whose pockets are stung the most and we’ll be the ones left with a pile of extravagant disc-shaped bookends.
I guess I’ll just have to keep my PS3 running.