Why is Microsoft so far ahead of Sony with Back Compat?

Discussion in 'Console Technology' started by invictis, Apr 19, 2020.

  1. PSman1700

    Veteran Newcomer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2019
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    776
    Nothing in the world of emulation is easy. Even the SNES isn't accurately emulated yet, i think there's one emulator that comes close to 100% accuracy, and thats kinda demanding, considering the age of the console. So it depends on how accurate/fast they want it to be, i can imagine they want close to the real thing, and doing that for ALL PS1/PS2 titles would be rather costly, time consuming and not even then trouble free. It's one thing to have a reworked gta vice city on PS4 then having native BC for all titles for all past consoles.

    Ye that's a problem with older 3d games. 2D games aged better somehow. The first unreal still looks nice at higher resolutions, while giants citizen kabuto doesn't. MGS2/splinter cell still look ok. Some age better then others. It's indeed worse for PS1 era titles as their resolution is extremely low, a higher res makes things worse in some cases.
     
  2. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
    Moderator Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Messages:
    43,461
    Likes Received:
    15,902
    Location:
    Under my bridge
    Who says they don't. Almost certainly they do as they can port over the existing emulator on PS4.
     
  3. mrcorbo

    mrcorbo Foo Fighter
    Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Messages:
    3,915
    Likes Received:
    2,617
    What an amazing coincidence. :razz:

    Sorry, with your prior statements on platform allegiance that was too easy to let pass.

    I don't disagree materially with your points, but more with the point of view. Why should my perception of the value of BC be affected by how the platform holder views the value of BC. In the case of how MS has supported BC with the One, X and Series X it is a value-add with no cost to me. Of course I want it.
     
    #23 mrcorbo, Apr 19, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
    VitaminB6 likes this.
  4. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
    Legend Regular Subscriber

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2014
    Messages:
    10,424
    Likes Received:
    10,086
    Location:
    The North
    I don't think it's all that hard to believe that Sony and MS would arrive to the same conclusions. there is little wonder they have similar features, similar hardware, and similar services. They talk to the same studios. They work with the same studios. They work with the same partners, they talk with the same partners. Even in complete isolation (in some magical world) they would have likely reached the same conclusions as they have now, even in competition.
     
    egoless likes this.
  5. zed

    zed
    Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2005
    Messages:
    4,737
    Likes Received:
    856
    From wiki, it looks like less than a third of 360 games are playable on the Xbox one, so certainly not a slam dunk
    There are 576 games made backward compatible out of 2084 that are released for Xbox 360.

    Though this is far far superior than ps4, which only allows some of them through psnow.
    Why does Ms do this better than Sony? I assume since they are in the weaker position they have to offer more incentives to get people to buy their console.
    The question is the revenue hit that MS take from this worth the extra buyers they will gain?
     
    egoless likes this.
  6. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
    Moderator Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Messages:
    43,461
    Likes Received:
    15,902
    Location:
    Under my bridge
    PS4's PS2 emulator can play a lot more games* than the handful Sony has on the store. Sony just haven't cared to QA more titles. We don't know if that's because the publishers don't care, or Sony found the effort not worth the investment.

    Total Games = 1075:
    523 Games are "Playable" ·
    175 Games have "Minor Issues" ·
    85 Games have "Major Issues" ·
    238 Games are "Unplayable" ·
    54 Games are "Official PS2 Classics"
     
  7. chris1515

    Veteran Regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2005
    Messages:
    4,650
    Likes Received:
    3,548
    Location:
    Barcelona Spain
    I think having PS4 BC is important. I am in PS + since the beginning of PS4 generation. I want to keep my PS+ game and my digital games. I am fully digital since 2018. PS1 and some PS2 games look like very old now but some PS3 games like Motorstorm would have been great to be in BC after it is not the end of the world and many Ps3/360 games have a remake. There is a rumored Mass Effect Trilogy remake. We will have a Crysis remake.
     
    BRiT likes this.
  8. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
    Legend Regular Subscriber

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2014
    Messages:
    10,424
    Likes Received:
    10,086
    Location:
    The North
    Licensing is the main issue. Not the technology. They can emulate everything; but they don’t have the license to do so. This was the bigger challenge for MS. Some games contain licenses that have expired like music and third party wares etc.

    the emulation is a new file being downloaded. It doesn’t use the content on the disc. This is the legal factor they both cannot ignore unfortunately.
     
    Ivan, invictis and BRiT like this.
  9. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
    Moderator Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Messages:
    43,461
    Likes Received:
    15,902
    Location:
    Under my bridge
    That's been raised before, but I haven't seen a clear enough argument that has stuck in my head as the legitimate reason. The vast majority of games were surely licensed for the product rather than for a time limit. I can't imagine some middleware for a 360 title speculated a date at which the game could no longer be sold. for some titles there'll be licensing of music tracks, maybe, and for others, it's not clear who owns the copyright. But as there's a cost to test and possibly tweak the emulator per title, I think that's the more likely explanation - it's just not worth the effort.
     
  10. chris1515

    Veteran Regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2005
    Messages:
    4,650
    Likes Received:
    3,548
    Location:
    Barcelona Spain
    On car game they license the car sometimes. This is the reason some race games are delisted sometimes.
     
    #30 chris1515, Apr 19, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
    BRiT likes this.
  11. BRiT

    BRiT Verified (╯°□°)╯
    Moderator Legend Alpha

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Messages:
    15,498
    Likes Received:
    14,010
    Location:
    Cleveland
    As has been raised before for older games is the licensing of music which did indeed have an expiration on when it can be distributed. Playing it from Disc is allowed but they're not allowed to generate a new version of it (that was required for the Xbox One BC approach for X360 and OG titles). Microsoft has said they have changed the terms in their game licensing to explicitly cover this situation going forward.
     
  12. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
    Legend Regular Subscriber

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2014
    Messages:
    10,424
    Likes Received:
    10,086
    Location:
    The North
    It’s licensing for the original purposes. They cannot sell the emulation of the software or provide it without consent of the publisher. Many of these publisher who own the rights, or owners, may have moved on, difficult to contact, expired rights on certain things etc.

    just like we saw with nvidia GeForce now; the publishers can pull their games off their service even if it’s running off steam.
     
    Michellstar, chris1515 and BRiT like this.
  13. Silent_Buddha

    Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Messages:
    17,041
    Likes Received:
    6,330
    It likely comes down to redistribution. For physical games the distribution of the games is down to the publisher/developer. It gets more complex when it comes to digital distribution of games.

    If we take a look at Steam licensing we can get an idea of what is needed. To release on Steam a publisher/developer has to give Steam exclusive and indefinite rights to redistribute the title that has been provided to Steam for redistribution. This isn't Steam trying to take the rights of an IP away from a publisher/developer, but Steam ensuring that regardless of whether a publisher or developer pulls their product from the store that Steam can still allow users to download and install titles that they purchased but are no longer available for purchase on the platform.

    Going back to X360 titles. Digital Distribution was still a work in progress. Some titles never even had a digitally downloadable version. Licensing may have only covered distributing the digital version on X360.

    For BC, it requires MS to digitally distribute a version of the game that is wrapped in a VM. This presents many licensing issues.
    • If a person owns a physical copy of the game, Microsoft doesn't have the right to redistribute the game digitally.
      • Getting a license means going into negotiations with the rights holder.
      • This may include more than just the publisher/developer.
      • Music rights may have expired on those products which would necessitate negotiating with the all artists and music publishers of any music in a game.
      • Rights to the sound bites from voice actors may have expired. More negotiations.
      • Rights to some of the code may have expired if there was some proprietary chunk of code used in a game. More negotiation.
      • If the game is based a Movie or Book or other creative work, the license for those may have expired as well.
    • If a person owns a digital copy of a game, Microsoft may or may not have the right to distribute it on a platform other than X360.
      • If they don't then you have to go back through the same process as above.
      • If they do, they still aren't necessarily out of the licensing jungle.
        • Redistribution rights usually apply to the specific code (version) of the game that was provided.
        • This means that any modification to the code or game could make the redistribution license null and void.
          • Wrapping in a VM may not trigger this, however, if anything in the original contents was modified in any way for BC purposes, then rights may need to be renegotiated.
    There's likely other things I didn't touch on, but that should give a general idea of the issues that MS faces when it comes to BC.

    Regards,
    SB
     
    Pete, AzBat, PSman1700 and 1 other person like this.
  14. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
    Moderator Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Messages:
    43,461
    Likes Received:
    15,902
    Location:
    Under my bridge
    For games that license music, sure, but most games have an in-house soundtrack.

    Yes, I mentioned for some games it's a case that copyright can't be solved. For others it'll be licensing a soundtrack. But for every game that has a traceable publisher who doesn't need to do anything and who has full copyright, I can't see any reason for them to decline MS implementing BC.

    A quick Google suggests plenty of games that don't have licensed soundtracks/cars and have known, currently active publishers. Are we really to believe some 1500 titles are mostly not BC because of content licensing or lack of active publisher or lack of publisher interest? I'm unconvinced.
     
  15. BRiT

    BRiT Verified (╯°□°)╯
    Moderator Legend Alpha

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Messages:
    15,498
    Likes Received:
    14,010
    Location:
    Cleveland
    Yes, because that is what Microsoft said.

    Occam's Razor.
     
  16. Silent_Buddha

    Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Messages:
    17,041
    Likes Received:
    6,330
    There are many things that get licensed on a per game basis. I've already mentioned some of them like game based on another creative work. But there are also licenses related to guns. Licenses related to in game representations of real life people (most often comes up with Sports games). A game like Death Stranding may have time sensitive licensing for using Actor's likenesses in game. That will come down to negotiations that the Death Stranding team had with each individual actor. Even voice acting may have actor related licenses that may or may not be indefinite. Was there any product placement in the game? License rights to those might have expired. Did you use a sound bite from a sound "library"? The license for that might or might not be applicable to redistribution. And all of this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    And if it isn't specifically negotiated as indefinite, the license could potentially be pulled at X time in the future. The license may have been negotiated only WRT to the current platform at the time. If there is no mention of redistribution on other platforms than the one the title is released on, then rights holders (other than the publisher/developer) can either deny their use when redistributed or demand additional recompense for distribution on another platform.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  17. see colon

    see colon All Ham & No Potatos
    Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,620
    Likes Received:
    471
    What about all the PS1 games I bought digitally that worked on my PS3, PSP and Vita? How come I can't play those on my PS4?

    There are just over 1000 physical releases on 360. The 2084 number includes XBLA titles, many that aren't available anymore. Some of them weren't even real games. There were Doritos and Toyota Yaris titles on XBLA, for example.
    I'm pretty sure there ate about 1700 retail games for PS2 in North America, and 2500+ unique games worldwide (this would not count, say, tekken 5 3 times for it's PAL, NA, and JP releases). Also, what "works" and is "playable" and what would pass certification are two different things.

    The issue with me and current Sony backwards compatibility is that, unlike MS, I can't take my physical disc for a BC PS2 game and use it to unlock the BC version they are selling on PS4. Also, I can't play my PS1 games that I purchased digitally on PSN on PS4. PS4 is the only Playstation hardware that doesn't play PS1 games. Will PS5's backward compatibility include support for PS2 Classics? Or are they not considered PS4 games by Sony?
     
  18. goonergaz

    Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2005
    Messages:
    3,543
    Likes Received:
    1,011
    lol, well I’m always honest, I used to bang on about BC but never use it, it gave me a warm feeling that I could play a last gen game if I wanted to. I remember my Xbox mate not giving a rats backside about BC - especially at X360 launch what with PS3 having the hardware BC (I had a Japanese launch PS3)...now BC is massive to him - funny that.

    Having said that I will get the XSX day one because of their BC - I’m not sure if I could stomach the loading but that seems to be ‘next gen’d’ and also the RT solution looks very interesting...fair play to MS and credit where it’s due.
     
  19. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
    Legend Regular Subscriber

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2014
    Messages:
    10,424
    Likes Received:
    10,086
    Location:
    The North
    Or that they may not want to. For whatever reason.
     
  20. dobwal

    Legend Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2005
    Messages:
    5,373
    Likes Received:
    1,405
    BC in itself wasn’t all that impactful outside a group of users that diligently held on to their libraries. It’s BC in conjunction with DD and subscription based game services that changed the value of BC.

    DD meant not having to manufacture and maintain a large physical stock of titles by platform owners and retailers to keep titles regularly and widely available to gamers. It’s easier and cheaper to distribute digitally.

    Even $5 dollars a pop is a huge cost when you are talking hundreds of games. Subscription base services offer gamers access to hundreds of older games at a much lower cost.

    Plus, PS Now or Game Pass wouldn’t be as compelling a service if they have to start from scratch with each new gen. BC allows those service to seamlessly migrate to newer hardware.

    Sony didn’t feel the need to push BC because their past solutions was the console equivalent of maintaining VHS hardware on each new gen of media players. The cost of BC makes little sense when limited to the scope of allowing people to carry their old physical libraries forward. It makes a ton of sense as a library thats pulled forward to be accessible to swathes of users that find value in playing older titles that they haven’t before played.
     
    goonergaz, AzBat and PSman1700 like this.
Loading...

Share This Page

  • About Us

    Beyond3D has been around for over a decade and prides itself on being the best place on the web for in-depth, technically-driven discussion and analysis of 3D graphics hardware. If you love pixels and transistors, you've come to the right place!

    Beyond3D is proudly published by GPU Tools Ltd.
Loading...