We’ve already come to the conclusion, based on little more than rumoured specs, that hardware driven backwards compatibility just isn’t going to happen in the next generation of consoles. That’s especially true for the PS4, which looks to be ditching the fabled Cell processor for something a little more traditional. That doesn’t mean it won’t be completely without backwards compatibility though.
According to the Wall Street Journal though, the PlayStation 4 could still play your decidedly ancient PlayStation 3 games – through the magic of streaming. Apparently, Sony’s going to put its ownership of game streaming service Gaikai – which it acquired last year by spending $380 million it didn’t actually have.
It’s about the only feasible way of ensuring backwards compatibility in the new console – but it doesn’t come without problems. Obviously, and this is important for people without proper broadband internet – there’s the inherent lag involved with cloud-based gaming. the second, and bigger problem is that you’d likely have to end up buying or renting games you already own just to play them through the service.
If, however, Sony plays it smart and allows PlayStation Plus subscribers access to its vast library of games for free, I could see this working out rather well for them. In the first world at least.