Sunday Meditation: Thoughts On 'PS3 Classics' For PS4?
The trend up for discussion today is one that may or may not continue. I'd like to know how it would go over with everyone if things go down the way I think they might.
Backwards compatibility for new consoles is a big deal for a certain subset of gamers but in general most people are okay with their new console only playing new games. The PS2 was the system that made people think the feature should be normal. After all it allowed you to sell your last system and put that money toward a new one, which is great for both the gamer and the console maker.
The Xbox 360 had some selective backward emulation abilities but it was the PS3 that eventually made the biggest stir by pulling PS2 B/C from the PS3. Gamers were mostly understanding because it did cost some money to put the extra chip set in there. But you know, those systems that did software emulation ran most games just fine. Why remove that?
We could still play our PS1 games at least, which was cool. Just in case we didn't have the classics Sony was nice enough to provide them for sale digitally on the store. Later on we learned that PS2 classics would be coming, and they did. So much was going on surrounding the excitement of what PS3 had to offer that the fact PS2 emulation was dropped so we could be resold our PS2 games got lost in the shuffle. A lot of people had held onto their PS2s anyway, further obscuring the move by Sony in the minds of gamers.
Now things are different, we are entering into an extended cross-gen period where these things might matter to gamers more. It makes perfect sense that the PS4 can't play PS3 games, they are so different you'd have to jam a whole PS3 in there to make it work. Even the mighty PS4 wouldn't be able to emulate the PS3 with software by my estimation. So on its face PS3 classics might seem like just a nice available offering.
Supposedly somewhere down the line the Gaikai streaming service is going to provide some backward compatibility. I think based on the information we have it's safe to say that not all titles will work with it, and probably only a few select games if history is any judge. So what would you think if “PS3 Classics” started popping up on the PS4 store?
There are a few conflicts of interest if this happens. The biggest one is how it will impact the Gaikai streaming service. If there are PS3 classics for sale on the store then Sony has little or no motivation to provide the game as a backwards compatible Gaikai offering, essentially extorting those who want to play their old games and don't have their old console (or don't want a stack of consoles in their entertainment center).
With the announcement of Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition and rumors swirling about PS4 versions of Gran Turismo 6, The Last of Us, and other games I get the feeling we might be in for more of these Definitive Editions. I would also expect them to be sold as outdated PS3 classics first with Sony continuing to deny rumors of a PS4 version. That would ensure nobody passed on the classic to get the full PS4 version.
Finally there's the Gaikai service itself. I can guarantee you that you'll need a PS Plus subscription to use it. That seems fair, it costs money to run servers. Still, it adds to the list of things (which now include basic multiplayer) that only come with paying more. Remember, Gaikai was purchased by Sony for $380,000,000. We might get that cost passed down to us in some kind of silver or gold level PS Plus subscription. That subscription might be required to use the service. If that happens there will be a lot of second class gamers left out, forced to rebuy their old games to play them again or sit and hope for a Definitive Edition to buy them again at full price.
It's gut check time. Do you think there will be PS3 classics on the PS4 store? What would you make of it? I know a lot of us are keeping our PS3s but set that aside a moment and feel free to go with your gut reaction.
1/4/2014 David D. Nelson