Welcome to State of Play, an editorial column brought to you by Pixelated Geek. In State of Play, we’ll be dealing with major issues in the gaming community, and we’ll be reaching out to our community for feedback and interaction. The intent of State of Play is to create a respectful, professional, and insightful dialogue within a group of serious interested parties. Games are serious business – not simply the largest moving part of the entertainment economy, but a form of expression where emotionally impactful stories are told throughout communities that grow and bond, and an important educational tool. We take play seriously here, and the goal of this article is to seriously analyze the serious business of gaming.
Of the many fields upon which the console wars are fought, and of the many points of consideration upon which purchasing decisions are made, it cannot be said that backwards compatibility is regarded as foremost in importance. It is far from the sexiest selling point, or the flashiest. In the heated arguments of message-boards and basement couches it is a feature rarely mentioned, and the ramifications of its absence is often overlooked by both parent and child when birthday and Christmas wishlists are lovingly prepared and frantically acquired.
Given their actions over the last 14 months, Sony and Microsoft are counting quite heavily on the above. Neither Microsoft’s XBOX division nor Sony’s PlayStation corps have paid more than lip service towards providing backwards compatibility, and it is the interest of neither to provide it. In this week’s State of Play, we’ll be taking a quick look at the history and role of backwards compatibility in the industry, the current attitude and motivations of the major players with regard to same, and what we can reasonably expect in the future. Read On