*spin-off* Importance of Backward Compatibility Discussion

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by function, May 12, 2011.

  1. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    The argument is that digital content is now expected to be portable across compatible devices, such that your iOS game runs on both your iPhone and iPad. Though I agree expectations are headed that way, I don't think it's ingrained enough to affect next-gen yet, because:

    1) Software isn't completely portable. It's possible to buy software for a device and find it doesn't run on your new device.

    2) Consoles have a history among the gamers who use them of leaving the old stuff behind.

    Joker's point about new users, like Kinect users, maybe has some merit. Perhaps they'll be miffed if their Kinect software doesn't work on XB3? Then again, perhaps they'll be too busy playing Kinect 2 stuff, or even waiting until the price drops because they aren't hardcore enough to want a new console from day one at full price? And that situation doesn't affect the other console either. People won't migrate to PS4 because Kinect games no longer work on XB3. PS4 won't lose customers to XB3 because Move games don't run on PS4. You may slow hardware adoption as people wait until the software they want is there, but that's key to any new platform anyway. Hence the idea that whatever money could be spent on BC should instead be spent on creating a next-gen experience that people will want enough to leave the old experience behind.
     
  2. Acert93

    Acert93 Artist formerly known as Acert93
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    I have zero expectation that my disk based games work on a new console.

    On the other hand if my XBLA content fails to work on the Xbox 3 that would be a major reason to completely re-evaluate my commitment to the platform. It would completely severe that and would, right or wrong, make me more inclined to look to "greener pastures" even if the other platform(s) had the same issue just for the fact they would likely have digital content I had yet to experience.

    As a pure marketing move I think in MS's case in particular with all their Marketplace (Zune and Games), gamescore, friend's list, etc that porting the ENTIRE experience over and improved is a huge deal because it screams, "Xbox Live is a PLATFORM" that is persistent, regardless of hardware. Business wise it is a strong "hook" into a consumer base no other platform has ever had (minus maybe PSN). Diminishing the perception among users I think would be a bad move and undercuts the fact I think, in my personal opinion (which isn't humble enough, so no IMHO!), that it is a MAJOR win for MS if they can trot out the Xbox 3 will full BC for XBLA. The Xbox 3 becomes an "upgrade" with built in value day 1 instead of Y.A.C. (yet another console).

    Of course if MS was silling to move back to X86 at the cost of BC that would open the way to new synergies and possibly XBLA becoming a "standard" across the PC and Xbox, same content, same features, different HW. They would have to pitch that pretty hard though to get me, as a user, to consider it something "good" for me. With their move to ARM support I think we will see a trend toward more, "Build a game and compile PPC, X86, and ARM versions."
     
  3. Shifty Geezer

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    I don't disagree, but MS are going that way anyway. Live is a platform. Still, the value is going to remain moderately low priority. For existing XB360 owners, they are already invested in their friends lists and Achievements. They won't want to give that up to have the same experience on another platform. And most importantly, it only takes one super-appealing feature to woo everyone. If sony come out with some must-have experience, every XB360 will drop MS like a hot potato, and vice versa, save the most loyal of fans. Even just the best new games trumps the ability to play old games more often than not.

    As for MS extending their platform, that's exactly what I expect, and what Sony will do with their VM platform. Going forwards it's pretty apparent to me that what I buy on PSN under the PSS brand or whatever will be portable across PSS devices, and what I buy under the Live brand will be portable across Windows devices. Having that in place next-gen and going forwards into next-next gen devices will be important, but I believe this gen can get away without that.
     
  4. joker454

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    Because you can't sell a digital library, that makes it totally different. If your digital library is suddenly obsoleted and you can't sell it, then it brings to light the entire issue of do you really own your content or are you just leasing it. If you are just leasing it, then why would people be happy paying purchase pricing for it? It will open a new can of worms. I don't think you necessarily need bc for ever, but at least you should have it between succesive hardware generations.

    EDIT: I'll word it another way. The premise of owning the content you buy on console has always been a given. The first next gen console that comes out without bc in this very heavy digital age will be the first console to challenge that notion that you own what you buy. Look how nuts people went over $10 online passes, it was treated like the end of the world and that's just for $10. Now imagine one sells their old machine first before buying a new one, a very likely proposition since these machines are expensive, then migrates their XBLive account over and their digital content is all gone. If $10 online passes made people take to the streets with pitchforks, then what will obsoleting ones entire digital library of hundreds of dollars cause? Plus I just don't think it's necessary to forgo bc in Microsoft's case especially if they go IBM->IBM on cpu, and Amd->Amd on gpu, they will have lots of help in the emulation department from those respective companies.


    We're stuck in a loop. Time and again people bring up core gamer games as the example, and time and again I reply that it's not the core I'm talking about. I think I have infinitely less interest in the core gamers than most here, I just don't think they are where future business will be hence why we will continue to clash on this. I'm primarily concerned with non core gamers, for them I'll argue that they are the future and that for them bc will matter. Now we'll just have to wait and see.
     
    #304 joker454, Apr 7, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2012
  5. AlphaWolf

    AlphaWolf Specious Misanthrope
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    If they don't give you a choice what will you do? Play COD on your iphone?
     
  6. Nesh

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    Sure trophies and PSN friends are still attached to the PSN account. They didnt pay extra to acquire them though.
    But do you think that the current PS3 owner wont be dissatisfied when he sees lots of his purchased downloadable content disappeared when he accesses PSN through his PS4 and that content is worth more than a hundred or hundreds of $$??
    Downloadable content isnt necessarily as tied to its generation of release as our disk purchased games used to be. Its important for a brand to maintain loyalty and thats by offering consistent and quality serviceability. Customer dissatisfaction may have its impact in the long run.
    PSS games may be accessed across many platforms, but you cant force developers to make every PSN game PSS compatible. Its guaranteed that many games (many often released on both the XBOX Live and PSN) will be more demanding and will require hardware specificities.
    BC compatibility may not be a priority for the hardware design when viewed as an isolated case, but it becomes significant when you count competition and competition makes their own console BC and thats translated to 7 years of online store content carried over to the next generation, and you are left with less.
    Comparing our transition from PS2 to PS3 to out transition from PS3 to the next generation is not like for like. We had no online stores, we owned every game on a tangible format, PS3 wasnt a dominant success like the PS2 to carry over the same powerful loyalty to the PS4, and both PS4 and the XBOX3 will be compared more neck to neck, feature to feature, spec to spec, as most likely there wont be a big differentiating factor like BR vs DVD, Motion Controls vs Standard, big third party exclusives vs lack of third party exclusives (one of the major reasons that I bought a PS3 was the initial expectations that games like DMC, Final Fantasy etc would remain mostly exclusive to the PS brand, but third party exclusives are becoming rarer to reduce risk) etc
     
  7. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    No, I don't. I think it was considered by most as a disposable purchase. We're mostly used to buying content that becomes useless over time, or we just through out because it's old and we're bored with it. I can pick the VHS/DVD analogy. Someone will reply with the iOS/MP3 analogy. The cards are all on the table at this point. I may be wrong, but that's my expectation, and the only way to convonce me otherwise would be a properly performed report with effective poll of the buying public considering different user types.
     
  8. Nesh

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    How many of us have thrown away their video tapes by the time of DVD launch? How many of us have thrown away our old games by the moment we purchased the next console? Also you are comparing mediums! In this case there is no medium. The content exists in an online service under an account. Its like expecting people to accept losing digital purchases of old music/video they bought by the time a new iPhone/iPad/iPod is released because they are old
     
  9. -tkf-

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    I would like to turn this around instead, i think that from the get go Sony/Microsoft may have thought of it as "disposable purchase" in relation to the next gen, but in the mean time we got App store, Google Play, Origin and countless other Digital Stores that so far has kept most of the purchased good alive over hardware and software upgrades. Things have changed and it's time to pay the price for not owning any physical copy of your purchase.

    Excellent points, and i am with Joker on this one, the hardcore gamer doesn't give a damn about these issues, he knows the "game" and most likely keeps the consoles anyway.

    The more casuals, those that don't really know the unwritten rules will get a nice suprise when they sign in to the their new console and see everything they ever bought, gone.
     
  10. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Not at launch. I never even suggested as much! You kept your VCR until you had enough DVDs. But pretty much everyone has given up on their old tapes. Even if you have a film on VHS that you don't have on DVD, it looks so bad to watch I doubt anyone would bother!
    No, because media is platform agnostic. It's just a datatype, implemented across all devices. The difference between a PS3 native download and a PS4 native download may not be the shape of the distrubtion medium, but the difference is as pronounced. Joe Public may be too dumb to realise the difference (but then they're not buying PS3 games to put in their XB360, or buying iPhone apps and wondering why they aren't on Live!, so they can probably understand the difference) but the nature is still the same. The content is incompatible with the new device. Consumer don't care too much - the new stuff is better than the old stuff.

    I can agree with that thinking, but it's impossible to measure. And given incompatibility of even Android apps, I don't believe Joe Public is currently conditioned to expect seemless transistions of their download content to new hardware.
     
  11. function

    function Wrong thread
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    Kung Fu films are better on VHS! Even if you taped them off the telly! I've got Armour of God on DVD, bought VHS and taped from Channel 4 VHS. The channel 4 version every time. Except for when I have to dig my VCR out from under my Xbox. Which is where it is atm . Ffs.
     
  12. fearsomepirate

    fearsomepirate Dinosaur Hunter
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    I think non-core gamers largely have iPads and Facebook accounts, not PS3s and 360s.
    I could in theory sell my PS2 games for anywhere from $0.25 to $2.00 apiece. I see you point about non-ownership, but I think it will be moot for games people don't actually play anymore. Besides, if you look at software stored on physical media, backwards compatibility has always mattered for application software. Apple did quite a bit to get as much OS9 software working in OSX as possible, and MS always goes to great lengths to make sure last gen's software works on this gen's Windows (and when they don't, like with ME and Vista, customers rebel). But that's because apps are used continuously. It's a severe inconvenience when something you use all the time is suddenly useless. It's a much, much smaller inconvenience if it's something you've touched twice in the last twelve months. The vast majority of games are consumed that way. People stop using them in a few months, unlike, say, MS Office.

    Yeah, BC is nice. But unless the value proposition of downloadable games completely changes, i.e., more and more games are things you want to play more than three weeks after purchase, I don't see it being a big deal.
     
  13. sham63

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    Well, not exactly COD but Gameloft has the Modern Combat series for IOS and android. There will be other options, whether people will use them is another story.
     
  14. Phil

    Phil wipEout bastard
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    Perhaps people prefer their investments to be longer lived than just a single generation. I know I do. I bought over 35 disc based games on the PS3 and at least 20 PSN titles. While some of the disc based games may not be important to me, I sure would like to think that the money I've invested into the PSN will be still usuable when the next hardware builds up on the existing PSN experience.

    Things may have been different when we were still playing on NES or on the Gameboy but things have moved on considerably since then. After 3 generations and more than that in other products (Windows, cds, dvds, blurays etc), many of us have come to expect BC in our products - especially now that things are moving towards DD content. To stop offering it would be a major step back, regardless if you, Shifty, as an individual, don't care for it.

    That's the point of view, of a customer, with vested interest in his investments.

    The point of view from Sony or one of the other hardware makers would be simply to try to get most of their existing userbase to stay loyal to their platform as they move to another generation. The best way to offer that is to make the transition as smooth as possible. If everyone has to start from Zero, what point is there to stay loyal to the platform (besides exclusives, most 3rd party games are multiplatform anyway).
     
  15. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Would be a major step back for you, Phil, as an individual (besides which I've already stated I'd like BC, but I just don't consider it a particularly important business focus despite my personal preferences). None of these companies are targeting what certain individuals want, but what is necessary for the mainstream. Do you believe that the majority of console gamers have a substantial vested interested in their back catalogue of disks? The tie ratio for some will include FIFA 2009, FIFA2010, FIFA 2011 and FIFA 2012, or COD3, COD MW1, COD MW2, of which the old version is of no interest when the next0gen version is available.

    Besides exclusives, cost, features, online networks, inter-device functionality, etc.

    Putting it another way, if PS4 is two times PS3 and fully BC with just a dual-stick controller as standard, and XB3 is the same price for a monster gaming platform with an incredible launch lineup, faster loading due to hardware choices, Kinect 2 with versatile wand+dual-stick combo controllers, yadayada, would you still stay loyal to PS4? What if PS4 offers everything XB3 does only at $200 launch price instead of $400 for XB3 because PS4 ignores BC whereas XB3 includes it? Of course such differences won't be as extreme, but they illustrate the point that BC is one factor among many of which others have higher priority with most gamers by my reckoning.

    Personally I'd like a fully BC platform that enhances old games at higher framerate and with post-AA, with 8GBs RAM, SSD, meaty hardware, sophisticated motion tracking as standard, and at a very pleasant loss-leading price, but I wouldn't advocate any company going that route as it'd be bad business.
     
  16. Phil

    Phil wipEout bastard
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    I think the problem is you're looking at it too much from a technical angle, hence the topic main direction "at what cost is it feasable or not". In the end, it's not the technical division that will make these decisions - it's the blokes in suits who figure what is necessary to expand on their existing userbase and shift as many consoles as possible.

    Now, Sony, obviously is in a harder position here, but we can only speculate on their options. And as for the above, I wasn't speaking as an individual but making a point on the trend where backwards compatibility is concerned. Consoles have come a long way and backwards-compatibilty has become widely accepted in consumer electronic devices, regarldess of their necessity or not. The point pretty much everyone in this topic who is arguing in favour of BC is also naming solid reasons why DD and the tie in to the online network makes the inclusion of BC is even more important then ever.

    To say that you as an individual is not interested in this, doesn't negate the obvious advantages of having it, on day one inside the box and launching with +1000 backwrards compatible titles instead of 20 rushed launch titles. On launch day, the new consoles are not only competing with one another, but also with the old stock of 7 year old consoles and their +1000 software libraries. These may not be interesting to the hardcore enthusiasts, but between the hardcore enthusiasts and the majority of casual gamers that look out for a good deal, we both know which market share is more important.
     
  17. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    As someone who's keen for BC, what dollar price would you personally put on it? Imagine that PS4 launches in two SKUs; a plain, vanilla, no BC SKU at...£250-300, and a BC enabled SKU. how much more would you be willing to pay for the BC SKU? Me, I'd stretch an extra £20. £20, probably not. I'd keep on the PS3 until the price came down, and then get the no BC SKU.
     
  18. fearsomepirate

    fearsomepirate Dinosaur Hunter
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    And now we've come full circle, because PS3 was built with that philosophy. Being able to play nearly the entire PS1 and PS2 catalogs didn't help it much. In fact, one of the first things they did to cut costs was remove the PS2 silicon. We all agree that BC would be a nice thing. Shifty and I think that it won't attract enough customers to justify the cost of including it in the console, not as long as there are substantial hardware differences from one generation to the next.
     
  19. Phil

    Phil wipEout bastard
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    That's assuming BC is as important as it was when going from PSone to PS2 and from PS2 to PS3. I don't necessarely agree with this. From PS2 to PS3, PS2 games looked very dated compared to the newer generation titles. Much higher (progressive) resolution and a shift to HD plus the inclusion of a fully online network makes this last transition a much bigger one than what we can expect with the next one.

    From this generation on to the next, we're not even necessarely expecting a jump in resolution. We might go from sub-hd to default 1280x720 - if we're lucky (and at the expense of complexity) we'll get 1080p. Due to rising costs, the economy and the success of alternative gameplay thanks to Move/Kinect, the jump in technology might not be as big as before either.

    The result will be a smaller difference between this generation of games and the next. Sure, blockbuster games will be many times more impressive - but if you come to think of the fun and addictive games people have been buying en-mass though DD on live and PSN, they will not be as 'out-dated' on the new console.

    A game like Super Stardust HD or PixelJunk Racers/Shooter whatever will be still as fun and fresh on the new generation of consoles and you can bet that even on the new PS4, you'll get simple easy games on the network that are graphically just as simple as what you can get now already. It is these games that are sold through DD that will be important that they run on new hardware (not so much the disc based games) - and these titles will not be as outdated like coming from the latest Medal of Honour on PS2 and comparing that with the launch gem RFOM.

    Gaming has changed. PSone to PS2 was more sophisticated gameplay and higher resolution. PS2 to PS3 brought a standardised resolution (more or less HD), fully online compatible and an entire network to build up a social identity with trophies, interact with buddies and buy DD content. The next generation will only improve on the basis already layed. Who would want to start from scratch again in their right mind if you could have a continuous seemingless transistion?
     
  20. Prophecy2k

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    seconded ;-)
     

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