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EA Says Backwards Compatibility Unlikely for Next-Gen Consoles

by Ron Duwell | February 13, 2013February 13, 2013 2:30 pm PDT

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EA’s Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen has spilled quite a few secrets about the upcoming PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720. At a recent Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference panel session, he made mention of that chances of backwards compatibility with both systems is most likely zero.

“I think people are going to be pretty excited. An important thing to remember is that next-gen consoles will most likely not be backwards compatible. And if you [play] multiplayer on a game, you’ll most likely not be able to play with someone on a different generation.”

Microsoft has found themselves quite a large amount of backlash thanks to some fierce rumors spreading about the nature of its upcoming machine which is also believed to block used video games, require a Kinect motion sensor, and demand a constant internet connection. Sony has escaped with relative ease compared to Microsoft, but whispers on similar decisions being made continue to circle around the net.

With the latest rumors being sparked by someone who most likely is in the know, both Microsoft and Sony continue to walk an unpopular path when considering the needs of its consumers. By becoming less a machine for video games and more a machine for the living room, as Jorgensen puts it, facets which have kept gamers happy for many generations are slowly being stripped away one at a time.

“I do think once again without describing the new consoles, you’ve got to assume they’re going to be highly integrated into the living room and the house, and there will be a lot of capability for interaction.”

Microsoft has made no secret that their new motivation with the Xbox brand is to dominate the living room rather than provide a gaming experience, as shown by their lack of exclusive AAA content for gamers over this transition to the next generation. Sony, on the other hand, who pretty much invented backwards compatibility with the PlayStation 2 and has been painting themselves as the console for gamers over the last several years, has no excuse in continuing to abandon the integrity of its name brand.

EA even refers to the consoles as “gen-four” console, implying that the PlayStation is where video games began and all those wonderful NES, SNES, and Genesis classics you played as a kid don’t count anymore. The Nintendo Wii U is also apparently referred to as “gen-three.”

Video gamers need their video games, and they need new consoles to keep up with the latest offerings. Microsoft and Sony can be as anti-gamer as possible and still sell millions of units with little opportunity to turn elsewhere.

Wouldn’t it be the ultimate irony that Nintendo, after taking so much flak and criticism for abandoning the gaming crowd with the Wii, emerges as the haven for long time enthusiasts to turn to? I mean, it’s coming armed with backwards compatibility, guaranteed used video games, and never ending supply of classic franchises. More and more each day, it seems like Nintendo and PCs are they way to go, just like back when I was five years old. Crazy, huh?

Gamasutra

Ron Duwell

Ron has been living it up in Japan for the last decade, and he has no intention of leaving this technical wonderland any time soon. When he's not...

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