Please Sony, Include Backwards Compatibility with the PlayStation 4

by Joey Davidson | February 1, 2013

Mark your calendars, fans of gaming. Sony is set to unveil the future of the PlayStation brand on February 20th. They’ll be holding a special event (we’ve heard it’s set to be in New York) specifically to show us what’s next.

There have been a lot of rumors flying around regarding the next generation of consoles. These rumors say that Sony’s PlayStation 4 will supposedly be called “Orbis,” it might banish the play of used games (I don’t buy that one), it won’t use the DualShock controller and its new input device will feature a touchscreen.

Because everything apparently needs a touchscreen.

What I’m concerned about most? Backwards compatibility. I haven’t seen it discussed much in these projections and rumors, and I’m afraid Sony will elect to scrap backwards compatibility for the PlayStation 4.

The PlayStation 3 launched with the ability to play PlayStation 2 games.

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Did you know that? I assume a lot of you probably did.

When the PlayStation 3 launched, part of its massive price tag ($600+) included a chip that made it possible to play PlayStation 2 games. The PlayStation 2 features one of the most robust gaming libraries on any console since, well, ever, and buying a PlayStation 3 meant being able to enjoy each and every one of them.

Then Sony had to make their machine cheaper. As they dropped the price of the unit, they dropped its backwards compatibility. The backwards compatible PlayStation 3s became a rare good, like diamonds that played old copies of Mister Mosquito.

That price cut wound up saving the PlayStation 3 from certain doom, and that’s certainly something Sony doesn’t want to repeat again.

Recent history says Sony’s not planning to include backwards compatibility.

Gamers complained when Sony nixed PS2 support from the PS3. We were a rowdy bunch, lighting torches and gathering pitchforks while sobbing over our pile of now useless PlayStation 2 games. They were only useless because we’d either sold off our PS2s, or we put them in a closet and became too lazy to fish them out.

Those complaints didn’t convince Sony to reintroduce a backwards compatible model, either. And, when Sony launched the PS Vita, the device lacked a UMD drive. Sony told PSP owners that they’d be able to re-buy their old games in the PlayStation Store.

Fast forward to today, and Sony’s made it a-okay to package and resell PlayStation 2 games beneath a remastered banner with a budget price tag. Sly Cooper? Let’s bundle it and sell it. Ratchet & Clank? Yep, make it a collection and have the fans pay…again. We slop it up, of course, because better looking editions of games we remember from yesteryear are exactly the thing us gaming nerds love to enjoy.

I’m not kidding, I enjoy them tremendously.

Why should Sony spend the extra money to include backwards compatibility in the PlayStation 4 if the PlayStation 3 is doing so gosh darn well without it? They shouldn’t. No company would, and I don’t blame them at all.

Please, make the PlayStation 4 backwards compatible to the PlayStation 3.

I don’t need to be able to play PlayStation One or PS2 games on the PS4. If you want to sell the best games from back then, I have no reason to suggest you shouldn’t make a Virtual Console of sorts and ship them out for $5. I’d love that, in fact.

However, the PlayStation 3 library still feels fresh. I want to be able to enjoy the collection of games I have on your brand new console. I don’t want to drag the PS3 out of the closet every time I’m looking to relive Nate’s finest moments in Uncharted.

It’s a small wish, I know. I will probably hold on to my PlayStation 3, regardless of whether or not the PS4 features backwards compatibility.

We’re all big fans. No matter which platform you support (and I hope you support them all), I know that you love looking back at games from last generation with nostalgia in mind. How often do we reminisce about Ocarina of TimeFusion Frenzy and Crash Bandicoot? We love these games, and we want to continue playing them for as long as we can.



Joey Davidson

Joey Davidson leads the gaming department here on TechnoBuffalo. He's been covering games online for more than 10 years, and he's a lover of all...