The PlayStation 3, when it originally launched at least, had full backwards compatibility – mostly because it had the PS2’s innards stuffed inside the big black box. Nintendo’s Wii had direct Gamecube support, and a Virtual console giving it generations of backwards compatibility. Even the Xbox 360 had some level of backwards compatibility with Xbox original games, even if it was emulation driven…and largely broken. Don’t expect the feature in the next generation though.
That’s according to EA chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen, at least. Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference (Via Gamasutra) in San Francisco about why the current consoles will still be popular in 2014.
"An important thing to remember is that next-gen consoles will most likely not be backwards compatible," said Jorgensen. "If you [play] multiplayer on a game, you’ll most likely not be able to play with someone on a different generation."
Though he talks about backwards compatibility, he seems to imply that it’s more about “cross generational multiplayer,” but I genuinely don’t expect the next consoles to play current games.
The PS3 required the PS2’s emotion engine for backwards compatibility – and if rumours are true, the next PlayStation will use wholly different architecture to the Cell that powers the PS3. I doubt Sony would throw in the expensive cell just for the sake of playing old games. On top of that, emulation of the older system isn’t likely to happen as its just not practical – or even feasible given the expected hardware.
How important is backwards compatibility to you when it comes to next gen considerations?
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I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces. I am also the emperor of the backend