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EA: Next-Gen "Most Likely" Won't Have Backwards Compatibility

Most gamers say they want backwards compatibility when the next-generation consoles arrive. But maybe you shouldn't hold out hope.

It's unlikely that either the new PlayStation or Xbox will boast such a feature, at least according to publisher Electronic Arts. During a Q&A session for the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen said- "An important thing to remember is that next-gen consoles will most likely not be backwards compatible."

He also said that those who want to play multiplayer will "most likely not be able to play with someone" using a different-generation machine. This isn't great news for consumers but then again, it may not have a huge impact on launch sales. The Xbox 360 was never fully backwards compatible, for instance, and PS3 sales have risen steeply since Sony removed the b/c feature that existed in earlier models. Sony is also on record saying that as a generation advances, backwards compatibility becomes a less and less important feature, and they're probably right.

As for when people will spring for the next-gen consoles, Jorgensen said he believes some customers will hold off on upgrading their hardware. But regardless, EA is in a good position:

"I think that works for us positively in both ways. It helps us continue to sell gen-three products, and it will help us sell gen-four product as that cycle finally gets into place."

So is backwards compatibility a necessary feature for you? And if the next-gen consoles don't have it, how long will you wait to buy one?

Tags: next gen, next gen consoles, next gen backwards compatibility, ea

2/13/2013 10:16:41 PM Ben Dutka

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New Comment System

Legacy Comment System (23 posts)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 @ 11:01:30 PM

Backwards compatibility isn't a big issue for me. When I first got my PS3 when it came out, it was a big selling point and I was really glad to have it. It kind of lost its novelty fast though, as more and more games came out for the current generation. I use the B/C occasionally now, but don't see a big need to since a lot of PS2 games are now making their way to the Playstation Store and I have a massive backlog of current gen games to finish. I don't think it will be the end of the world if the PS4 doesn't have it.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013 @ 11:04:02 PM

Although it is a cool feature, I dont care especially after this gen. I did sell my PS2 when I got my 60gb PS3 and I wish I didnt every day. I realized quickly that I wasn't ever playing my PS2 games, and it was mainly because "why use my new machine to play an old game"? Thats a strange way to look at things but seriously aside from GoW2, when I would go to turn the PS3 on wether to play a PS2 game or not, a PS3 game always ended up in the machine.

I really just would have rather had my PS2 still around. This time I'm keeping the PS3 around, if for anything the awesome Blu Ray player.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013 @ 11:21:49 PM

I do wonder about those HD Collections that took a lot of effort to develop if the PS4 isn't able to play PS3 games, along with the PSN trophies and downloads.. Anyways, the Backwards compatabilty is a very important feature for me, not for nostalgia reasons, but there are certain genres that have yet to be replicated as well as during the PS1 and PS2 era. It's less worrisome if the older system dies out and more frugal to be able to play it on a newer all-in-one system. (Wouldn't want that "It only does everything" to be a false statement).

During the PS3's release it was difficult to find the time to save up the amount of money (had graduation and college, so gaming took a backseat) so by the time I was able to, the feature had already been removed. I was looking forward to replaying my PS2-online games (Killzone, Call of Duty 2, etc.) on the PS3 after a storm ruined the ethernet port of my slim PS2, making it unable to play online anymore..
But since it's been a while, I've had little choice but to deal with not enjoying those games as much anymore. Killzone's still fun to replay and all, but the memories online still remind me of it's abrupt fun ending.

Well, since I'm running out of shelf space, as long as the PS4 can run PS3 games, I can safely "replace" it. Otherwise, well.. I'll have to wait and see if the rumor's true.

Last edited by VampDeLeon on 2/13/2013 11:28:55 PM

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013 @ 11:28:58 PM

I think that Backwards compatibility might be more important this time round because of all the online services. I have PS Plus, Home and numerous games that rely on PSN. PSN obviously isn't going anywhere, but if the PS4 isn't somehow able to play all the content tied up in my PS Plus account, it's potentially a waste of money. PS Plus is a service we pay for. Granted Sony could keep making PS3s until they literally fit in the palm of your hand and cost $25 to buy to support that. But it might be easier to either poert everything to PS4, or produce some kinds of BC accessory to bring that PSN/PS3/PSPlus/Home content forwards with the gamers that own it.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013 @ 11:39:05 PM

I certainly hope so.. That is true though about PS+ members. Perhaps they would offer members the option of cross transferring their game saves, and digital downloads to subscribers in the case that only PS3 emulation is available?

I could see an accessory offering backward compatabilty happening, since they already have an adaptor that allows PS1/PS2 Memory cards to be read, transferred, and saved on the PS3 via USB port.

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Killa Tequilla
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 @ 11:46:06 PM

Hmmm... when the peeps over at the asked Morgan Haro about ps+ and next gen (im paraphrasing) Mr. Haro said, "Plus is here to stay". So maybe we will see some form of BC (digital)?

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Killa Tequilla
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 @ 11:42:27 PM

As time passes by, BC is less and less attractive. Weird.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 2:00:06 AM

Another big reason why they don't want to give priority to BC, a reason they don't speak too loud about, is that it will force owners of the new generation to buy more games, it will boost the sales of new games. It is simply poor economical sense to offer BC.

With a backlog of hundreds of great titles for the PS3 to pick up from bargain bins everywhere, it would ram the software sales for many years, and weaken that platform (from a commercial point of view).

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Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 3:56:39 AM

Offering a BC accessory is good economic sense though, it supports the purchase of the new system and sells another $100 item.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 7:29:56 AM

I'm not so sure if it is, High.

The new systems are subsided by the new software that are sold with them. There is a direct relation there.

And the industry has over and over complained about how hard it is to introduce new IPs late in a console cycle. So if they started off with a machine that *already* had a backlog of many hundred titles and well established franchises that today are sold for next to nothing, it sounds at least plausible that it could damage the sales of new titles, and hamper establishing new IPs.

By all means, I don't sit on their spreadsheets and know no answers, but my instinct tells me that there are more than pure technical reasons why BC is not more eagerly talked about by any of the console manufacturers.

Last edited by Beamboom on 2/14/2013 7:48:34 AM

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Comic Shaman
Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 11:17:22 AM

I don't agree that it makes poor economic sense. I think that there is a very simple equation when it comes to hardware: More available software = more sales.

And as for damaging new IPs, I think the more systems you have out there, the better chance a new IP has. People always gravitate towards newer material when it's available. With a large backwards library, though, you have an antidote to the "my console is gathering dust" problem that happens during the inevitable delay between big new releases, especially at the beginning of the console cycle.

That's what I'd be arguing if I were in Sony's boardroom, anyway. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much momentum behind backwards compatibility, at least not that we've seen in the press releases.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 5:50:37 AM

hope manufactures would do what they did with the ps3, 2 models so people can choose.
and offer some sort of accessory to add to the system for those who dont want to pony up upfront.
its just not worth keeping systems, retailers always offer really good deals when new systems come out so keeping them is just not logical.
i remember trading in my ps2 towards my ps3 and i almost got what they were charging new for it!
give us your old system and we will give you the price of a new one, how could you say no?
always a catch though, its only towards the new system so you cant use it for a replacement old system or games or anything, always has to be towards the price of the new system.
but your getting new retail price for your old machine, how could you say no to that?

plus, i hope they do have a BC version because they will sell out VERY quickly!
ill preorder 2 of them, and sell the other one at twice the price of retail on ebay like i did my ps3.
gotta love ebay, people are so desperate they will pay so much more than things are worth!
i remember paying 2K for 2 vitas on launch, than a month later sold 1 of them and because they were sold out and so hard to find i ended up selling my spare one, even though it was used, for 1400!
not bad, hold onto the thing for 4 months and sell it for 400 bucks more than you paid for it!
100 bucks a month for playing games, yup its a hard life but hey someones gotta do it.

Last edited by ___________ on 2/14/2013 5:53:13 AM

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Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 6:43:30 AM

Not necessary, but it does help.

I'll buy a PS4 sooner if it has backwards compatability, since I can still play all my PS3 backlog on it.

If not, I'll get through my PS3 backlog, wait for a PS4 price drop or slight hardware revision, then get it.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 6:51:35 AM

I'm pretty surprised at the number of people who don't see backwards compatability as being much of an issue. I remember when Sony started removing it from all consoles and a lot of people were really upset about it.

Personally, I don't care that much. I think that Sony does a lot for us by providing downloadable copies of older games. I was really surprised to see that a lot of my favorites were on the PSN for download, and that the prices weren't that bad either. Plus, they have sales all the time. Legend of Dragoon, Chrono Cross, Harvest Moon... oh yeah.

I think that their stance on backwards compatability may very well play in to their strategy on combating used games sales. This would be a good way to draw the line in the sand with a system and say "If the game doesn't include our new way of tracking whether this is YOUR game or not, then you can't play it on this system."

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Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 7:35:50 AM

Oh I don't care. I have two of playstation ones, 4 of playstation twos and a PS3. Backwards compatibility is the last thing that worries me. I'm more worried that the new PS4 will turn out to be rubbish for some reason. I hope I'm wrong...

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Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 9:34:52 AM

It's only a problem if I can't play all the games I've downloaded from the store after I eventually retire my PS3. Hopefully regardless of the next gen I'll still be playing on the PS3 for a long time but when it's time to move on that's a lot of money and games lost.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 10:12:17 AM

I'm not worried. Sony and Microsoft are just going to have us re-buy and download the older games.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 10:38:16 AM

I think I'd rather have b/c than be without it. Especially with PS3 games still releasing that won't be on the PS4. Sure I could leave the PS3 hooked up as well but I'd rather not have 3 to 4 gaming consoles hooked up to one tv.

Last edited by slugga_status on 2/14/2013 10:39:01 AM

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Comic Shaman
Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 11:09:04 AM

Not only is it a big deal for me (I would put off buying a new machine for quite a while if it didn't have BC), I wonder at this whole idea of the "new console = fresh start."

MS and Sony have been plugging the hell out of all the extra features on their consoles. Online features, social features, trophies/achievements, music collections, photo albums... on and on. Some people have presumably made use of those features, and thus have a ton of content on their console.

I would think they would want you to be able to migrate your entire library of all your stuff to a new system, much like you do when you pick up a new computer or smartphone. That library should include games, saves, trophies, etc. Shouldn't it?

I hope EA is wrong on this (it wouldn't be the first time). It would seem very foolish of the console manufacturers not to give their customers the chance to port over to the new system without having to sacrifice the investment of time and money they've put into the old.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 11:36:50 AM

I don't need backward compatibility for PS3 games. Love my PS3 and will be keeping it. However, Sony really should include PSOne and PS2 backward compatibility for the PS4. They discontinued production of PS2's so there's really no reason they can't just add it.

Plus, I sold my PS2 last year since I only have a handful of games left on it that aren't HD collections (only ones left are Dark Cloud 1 & 2, GTA Trilogy, and Shadow Hearts Trilogy). Granted if someday those games were all remastered as HD collections, THEN I wouldn't really care anymore.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013 @ 1:54:10 PM

No compatibility means no buy for me until they put 10 great games on the system to buy.

I will play Final fantasy 14 on my ps3 and Phantasy Star 2 Online on my Vita for a few years then.

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Sunday, February 17, 2013 @ 5:25:08 PM

Necessary. Until my backlog of games is played, I'm not buying (entering to win) any new system. For starters, no room for a new system. I'm not swapping them out. So, no new system from any company unless someone's perfected multiphasic technology.

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Sunday, February 17, 2013 @ 9:10:40 PM

I was lucky enough to buy a b/c 80gb PS3 and although I do not use the PS3 to play PS2 games everyday (I don't even play the system everyday) but I can say that I use the b/c enough to make it of great importance to me. Personally, I cannot live without being able to play my PS2 RPGs like the Champions and Baldur's Gate:Dark Alliance series along with a few other games because I just haven't found any new games that can compare with those games in every way for me. These are just my thoughts and I personally don't see myself buying the new generation of consoles for a good while (and I've been a Sony girl ever since the PS1).

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