PS3: It Only Still Does No Backwards Compatibility

By Joel Taveras

December 11, 2009

Recenlty, whilst watching the most recent yearly console “prize fight” on CNET I  began to think about one very important topic that wasn’t really discussed. Something that definitely would have made the most recent match up a much more even fight, and might have even swayed it in the 360’s favor. Its something that Sony fans have been accustomed to for quite sometime and at the same time Xbox fans are experiencing for the first time this generation. That little something is a lovely feature called backwards compatibility.

If this feature had been mentioned somewhere along the line during the “prize fight” I honestly believe there could have possibly been a tie. Some (and when I say some, I actually mean the rabid Sony fanboys who foam at the mouth when anything negative is said about their beloved console of choice) will argue that although the 360 has backwards compatibility, the library 0f games available is not even on the same level as what was available on the PS2 (with Halo:CE, Halo 2 and Rainbow Six as a few of the standouts). And in that respect they may be right. However, the fact that Microsoft’s “inferior” (in the eyes of PS3 fans) system is able to accomplish that feat, does speak volumes.

What’s most bizarre is how some people are pointing fingers at CNET for being biased towards the 360, yet the PS3 still won the contest in the end. Did I miss something? It seems as the though the people that follow online gaming journalism have turned their PS3 fanaticism into an online witch hunt. Even if you say something positive, if it doesn’t come out positive enough and/or you don’t also bash the 360, you are a non-believer and should prepare to feel the wrath from the fanboys in the Playstation nation, or whatever the hell they refer to themselves nowadays. Well if you even slightly fit that description listed above, then you probably won’t like what I’m about to say, backwards compatibility as you know it, will never come back to the PS3 and we can only blame ourselves (the gamers) for it.

Just like any other company in the video games business, Sony is a profit driven corporation. And corporations are in the business of making money. In order for them to make money, they need us to open our wallets. Now I’m not calling for a crazy-hippie-tree-huggin’ boycott, but as consumers (and most importantly gamers) we have the ability of swaying trends in certain directions. To put it simply… money talks.

The recent re-hashing of the PS2 classics God of War I & II, I consider it to be somewhat of field test. I’m sure there are teams of marketing strategists closely watching the title’s performance. And although I doubt the GOW collection will sell as much as it did when each respective title launched, I do still believe that if it sells even let’s say about a 5th of what the original games sold, then that will be the only confirmation Sony needs. They will be laughing all the way to the bank as they have just found the ultimate sucker and that sucker is all of us.

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Sony went out of their way and poured millions of dollars into R&D to figure out how to emulate the emotion engine on the Cell Processor. This past summer they filed for a patent describing just that. Only to follow it up with a statement that they will no longer support backwards compatibility! They wait a couple months then announce God of War Collection and it is received as the second coming. Did anyone pay attention to anything going on before that?

Why would backwards compatibility even be an issue for Sony anymore? If all they have to do is pretty the game up with some HD graphics and a new frame rate. There will be consumers there, at the ready, to eat that shit up. Sure you don’t have to re-buy the games, and no one at Sony is putting a gun to your head. Hell if you still have a PS2 laying around, bust it out whenever you feel nostalgic. However, what happens when your old reliable PS2 finally kicks the bucket? What happens when you misplace a memory card with game saves that span 10 years? What happens when you simply don’t have the room for both systems? And most importantly, what the hell are you supposed to do with the collection of great games you’ve amassed this passed decade?

Not only was the PS2, the most successful console of all time. It also had (arguably) the best library in video game history. Now that this decade is coming to a close, it can be said that it was the game console that defined it. By not allowing this simple feature to re-enter into the PS3’s many offerings, Sony is dealing us all one big “frak you.”

If you played and still own games from the PS2 era and can honestly sit down and truly empathize or rationalize with Sony’s plan of re-releasing classic titles then you are a lost cause. As you are officially the quintessential brain-dead consumer that most companies look for so they can treat you like the little guy in a penitentiary shower. If you are like me, and growing increasingly worried as less and less talk about backwards compatibility returning on the PS3 is heard, rest assure that you are not alone.

The most ironic part about this whole situation, is that the PS3 only does everything, right? You can use it to watch Blu-Ray’s. Browse the web over wifi. You can even help Stanford Unniversity fold proteins, by using your PS3’s cell processor to make calculations over a world wide computer network when you aren’t using it (folding @ home).

The NSA has a cluster of 2,200 PS3s . Those same PS3s make up the worlds most powerful supercomputer. A computer that will be used to closely monitor and digitally test the United States stockpile of nuclear weapons. Yet… if for whatever reason i have the itch to bust out and play let’s say Amored Core 2 for example, Sony can’t figure out how the PS3 can emulate a 10 year old system? What. The. Frak.

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Joel Taveras

Joel Taveras is one of the founding members of DualShockers. He hails from New York City where he lives with his wife and two sons. During his tenure with the site, he's held every position from news writer to community manager to editor in chief. Currently he manages the behind the scenes and day-to-day operations at the publication.

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