Friday Debate: How important will backwards compatibility be in the next generation of consoles?

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BackwardsCompatibility

The current console generation is undoubtedly winding down, as the existing Xbox One and PlayStation consoles begin showing their age. It’s more than likely that we’ll see something from the next generation this year, whether that be the successor to the PlayStation, or the next Xbox systems.

There are all sorts of rumours about what those systems might do – and one of the biggest ones is that the next Xbox at least will make a move towards streaming from the cloud. We know very little about the upcoming new PlayStation or Xbox systems, but the one thing we do know for certain is that their underlying technology will be provided by AMD. That means that, as we saw with this generation, the new consoles will probably use X86 instruction sets. That would, theoretically, make backwards compatibility with the current generation of systems relatively trivial.

Speaking on Twitter, Digital Foundry’s John Linneman guessed the PS5 will have the feature

Here’s the question then: Is it an important feature to you.? A few years ago I would have said no, but I think it non only makes sense for the next generation, but would be a welcome feature. Microsoft proved this generation that there’s still value in playing older games, and the increasing backwards compatibility library holds a few gems that are still worth playing. I’d honestly be delighted if I were able to play the Ps4 and Xbox One’s games on the future consoles, especially as so many of my games are digital. When the shift happens, grabbing a new console and having a tonne of games to play out of the box would be a good feature.

While I was happy to say goodbye to the PS3 at the start of this generation, the increase in digital libraries this time around would make the exclusion of the feature a huge letdown. What do you think? Big deal, or not something you give a damn about?

Last Updated: February 1, 2019

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