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Sony Gets A Smack In The Chops From Microsoft, How Will They Respond To Backward Compatibility Challenge?

Sony Gets A Smack In The Chops From Microsoft, How Will They Respond To Backward Compatibility Challenge?

In 2013, Sony took to the E3 stage to announce that their PlayStation 4 would be priced one hundred dollars less than the Xbox One, sales rocketed. 

Fortune said that Sony’s blow was so savage and deep the Xbox One is still trying to recover.

Now the One’s new backward compatibility has got gaming heavyweights talking.

Eurogamer’s Shuhei Yoshida told Fortune, “I didn’t think it was possible. There must be lots of engineering effort.”

He’s also a little sceptical about how it might work in practice.

“They talked about 100 games, but what kind of games will be included? Is it smaller games or big games? We don’t know.”

Right now, Microsoft is having fans vote on which games they want to see supported the most, as the system works on a case by case basis to ensure whatever architecture the old game was built on can now fit into the new system.

Sony executives are currently saying that we will never see backwards compatibility for the PS4, with the main reason being that Sony has invested a ton into PlayStation Now, their game-streaming service which streams all manner of old Sony titles for a rental fee.

 Suddenly allowing the PS4 to play old games would negate a huge part of the reason anyone would bother to use the service, if they have a reasonably sized past-gen games library.

While Yoshida confirms that PS4 will likely not see backward compatibility any time soon, if ever, he instead cites technical reasons. “PS3 is such a unique architecture, and some games made use of SPUs very well,” he says. “It’s going to be super challenging to do so. I never say never, but we have no plans.”

I think this entire affair has been kind of a masterful move by Microsoft as a way to try and claw their way back to even ground with Sony after the PS4 took off like a rocket. I’m sure that while there are technical issues currently preventing the PS4 from playing older games, those issues were likely also in place for the Xbox One. 

The move by Microsoft puts Sony in an awkward position as they wonder how or if they should answer this. Do they spend Microsoft-level resources investigating how to make the PS4 backwards compatible? Do they do this knowing that it could potentially damage PlayStation Now, which has already been struggling to find its footing?