Next-Gen is running an Op-Ed that Sony was smart to drop the hardware emulation in the European PS3. They estimate that the move will save Sony around $30 per unit. Given the high price of the PS3 and that they will not dominate this round of the console wars Sony needs to trim costs where they can and lower the price. Given that the backward compatibility was not so great to begin with the move isn't a huge loss.
I for one have only used the backwards compatibility on my 360 a few times and not within the last 12 months. I never played a single PSOne game in my PS2. Next-Gen believes that this is "a lot of noise made by a vocal minority."
Are they right? Is backward compatibility not so important? Have you used the feature in any of your existing consoles?
Backwards compatibility was one of the reasons for PS2's huge success. Of course, it was also its great library of games, but being able to play PS games on it is absolutely cool and allows a much better, instant connection to the classics of the past. Some people started their console gaming with PS2, played the latest installments of a series, got curious, and bought earlier PS installments, playing them on the same machine. I still have a PS, but I barely use it, I just play PS games on my PS2.
Backwards compatibility is one of the big hard-core selling points of the Wii. You've got access to the Wii titles, the GameCube titles, and if you're willing to convert real money into Wii Points, you can get N64, SNES, NES and even some Genesis titles. That's, well, huge.
If you give a crap about playing old games, like most casual gamers do. If you want the latest 'n greatest only (which many of the early adopters of the PS3 are looking for), you're not going to care so much about backwards compatibility. But here's the rub: without PS3 having that backwards compatibility, there's only a handful of games that will work right away. You have to sit around and let your stunning new hardware (gasp, shock, horror, blanch) /AGE/.
Basically... backwards compatibility is good for winning converts from the previous generation consoles. Nintendo didn't learn that until Wii. Sony figured it out early, and Microsoft never seemed to miss the concept.
So my answer, in short, is: they're nuts. Backwards compatibility is paramount to a console's success.
Maybe Sony's thinking is that most people will keep their PS2s when they buy a PS3, so there isn't a great need for backwards compatibility.
Jae Rune Wrote:
So people are buying PS3s just so they can play OLD games? Error: logic.dll not found.
Not "just", but people do expect to be able to keep their $1000 libraries a little longer when they upgrade. It's inconvenient to swap consoles just to play older games, and Sony's already given them the incentive to expect full backwards compatibility since PS2 did it. There's no reason not to expect it from PS3.
As I was saying: it's a major selling point of Wii and probably a decent selling point of X-Box 360. But 360 came with a bunch of games already released or announced in the works. I've only heard of a few titles for PS3, so if you play games quickly, you're either going to replay games you've already beaten or you're going to sit around waiting for new stuff to be released for PS3 while new stuff constantly streams out for PS2.
It's not unrealistic to expect people to own a PS2 who would be most likely to own a PS3. But they're unlikely to win any new converts, which I'm given to understand was the whole thrust of the current gaming trend.
People may not buy a PS3 for the sole purpose of being able to play old games, but the issue of backward compatibility may be a big enough factor to make up the minds of those on the fence about the purchase.
I wouldn't buy a Geforce 8800GTX for the purpose of playing Win 95 games, but if it prevented me from doing so, I might consider NOT buying it.
Like the article says backwards compatibility is way down on the list of Sony's priorities. If things miraculously improve for the PS3 they could always release add-on emulation packs or something, but right now their $30 savings on each unit is probably more important in Sony's eyes.
I can see doing this only if they're at the point where they're just trying to cut losses and bail, but if sales are down making the product less attractive isn't going to fix things. I doubt $30 per unit will fix the problem, but we'll see. Sony better hope that the amount saved is greater than the amount of business lost from customers that expect backward compatibility, because they will lose business from it.
The fact that they even have to take such gambles to begin with shows a trend of mismanagement. But hey, since PC gaming is dead I suppose it won't be long for the computer gamers to pick up a PS3 and save Sony :P
Sony's been repeatedly making bad calls with the PS3 as far as I'm concerned. Their outright arrogance and seeming attitude of being out of touch with their audience (and reality) has been one of the larger factors as to why I have not invested in a PS3, or plan to in the near future.
Getting rid of a major feature like backwards compatibility to save a few bucks, when it's become a fairly standard feature for game systems in the 2000's is about as disastrous a move as they can make.
Sony needs to wake up. They can't keep making foolish moves like this and expect the gaming audiences to just take it.