Microsoft Should Not Have Dismissed Backwards Compatibility

Backwards compatibility is more important than ever and whilst you may not agree now by the end of this article hopefully you will.

Microsoft have just announced their brand new Xbox One Console and whilst the rumors suggested the new console would have backwards comparability built in or allow you to purchase an add on this is not the case.

In fact Microsoft have even gone as far to say that customers wanting BC are ‘Backwards’.

Speaking with The Wall Street Journal, Mattrick said only 5 percent of gamers play past-generation titles on new machines.

Thus, it would not make sense to invest time and resources into creating technology to allow gamers to play older games on the Xbox One, he said.

“If you’re backwards compatible, you’re really backwards,” he said.

That is quite an insulting comment right there and even more so in this day of download only software. Some of you may agree with the quote, who cares about BC, it costs Microsoft money and doesn’t generate any.xbox360black

Wrong, in the past this was true. Bought a Wii that can also play your Gamecube games? Great but unless you were buying new Gamecube games, Nintendo was not seeing any more money from you, either because you’d already bought the games or were more likely buying second hand, especially a year after the Wiis launch.

And its been the same for generations but XBLA has changed all that. Games are not limited to a finite number of discs like in the past. Whilst its easy to buy a DVD of any film you’ve ever wanted games generally have a limited shelf life. One or two production runs are made and that’s your lot. Didn’t buy the game when it was new? Your only route is second hand then.

But XBLA does not have that issue, want to buy Rez, then you can do and it probably costs the same today as it did in 2010. Want to play Scott Pilgrim Online? Back when the game came out in 2011 you in fact couldn’t, it was local multiplayer only yet 2 years later online play was added in, which we can only assume is because the game is still making money to this day with new sales.

There is a huge amount of XBLA games available as well as Games on Demand and Indie games, a treasure trove of gaming delights all instantly available to buy. So things have now changed, before BC didn’t generate money, it may have made early sales but it long term it was a loss leader. Now though BC can generate sales, the XBL Marketplace is filled with thousands of games and Microsoft have been stupid to ignore it. Imagine if when the new iPhone came out Apple reset the iTunes stores? Google maps gone, whatsapp gone, Angry Birds gone. Stuff that generates Apple a lot of money all gone and that’s what Microsoft has done.

Wanting backwards compatibility isn’t backwards. Are you backwards for buying Die Hard 1 on DVD to rewatch it? No despite newer Die Hard films coming out the original is a classic and well worth your money. Mine Craft is one of XBLAs biggest sellers, still is months after release but get an Xbox One and you will no longer be able to buy or play that game.

The XBLA service has tonnes of classic games, some only available on it such as Daytona USA, Mark of the Ninja and Castle Crashers. Microsoft are ‘backwards’ for not giving us BC. When the XBLA servers are turned off or your old Xbox 360 dies how will you play these games? You won’t be able to is the answer, when previous systems died you still had the original game disc that could run in any system but downloaded games are tied to your Xbox and your live account. We haven’t even started talking about Games on Demand, but all those games you paid a lot of money for will also be out of reach.

If you’re wondering why we haven’t once mentioned Sony, that’s because they have said they will try and give us BC through Gaikai. At this moment in time we don’t know if they will succeed or quietly drop it but at least they show they care, even if its another way to make more money.468px-Xbox_one_console_controller_too

If BC was confirmed in the Xbox One, most Xbox owners probably would have jumped on board. They’d invested into the Xbox system and are now tied to it but in one swift move Microsoft have now cut those ties and allowed those 360 owners to contemplate buying another console, probably a PS4 and so far all signs are pointing to most 360 owners now jumping ship. Microsoft should have had BC in day one, even if it was an addon but by not including it they’ve lost future sales on XBLA games over the next year, they’ve lost future sales on the Xbox One and they will certainly lose sales on the console.

We however can’t wait to play Grand Theft Auto 5 on our new Xbox One…oh wait, Tomb raider…Mine Craft…Halo 4…erm actually we won’t be able to play any of those 360 games on our new Xbox One when it launches. At least we will be able to watch TV though right?