Backwards Compatibility: It Still Friggin’ Matters
Don Mattrick Can Bite a Big One
I won’t be purchasing an Xbox One on November 22. The main reason I won’t be doing so is besides the fact that I can’t currently afford it, is the blatant lack of backwards compatibility. Two years ago I spent $400 on an Xbox 360 Slim. My old 360 had went kaput, as older 360s tend to do, so I upgraded. At that point I owned over 150 360 games; now I own over 200. That may sound insane, but hey, I love video games. And I can’t play a single one of those games on an Xbox One. So why should I invest in one?
I want to play theÂ BioShock Â games, theÂ Mass Effect Â trilogy,Â Grand Theft Auto IV Â andÂ V, Â The Orange Box Â and, hell, evenÂ Just Cause 2 Â in the future, and I won’t be able to, at least not yet. Sony and Microsoft are debating on whether or not they’ll allow backwards compatibility on their respective next generation consoles through the “cloud”, that mystical and idiotically-named feature that’s all the rage. What that essentially means is you may one day be able to play your Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 games again on an Xbox One/PlayStation 4, but you’re going to have to repurchase them, which is complete and utter nonsense. That’s like buying a Big Mac at McDonald’s, throwing it in a dumpster, and then turning right back around and buying a quarter-pounder.
“Why don’t you just keep your 360?” is a question I’ve been asked several times by people who have apparently never been poor. Maybe, just maybe, I want to trade in my 360 so I can perhaps be able to afford a slice of the future. Or maybe I don’t because from what I can tell the future is going to be an abominable time in which a lot of people are willing to forget about the past.Â Chrono Trigger? Â What’s that? Oh, it was made in 1995, so it must suck because it’s notÂ Call of Duty: 2035 Mega Warrior Super Duper Kickass Edition. Â What is a “Magnavox Odyssey”? That doesn’t matter anymore. This is what complacency and lack of a good education is doing to the world’s youth.
Don Mattrick, formerly of Microsoft, called supporters of backwards compatibility “backwards.” The man who left Microsoft, one of the most profitable companies in the history of the world, to go to Zynga, a rapidly failing developer that makes games about clicking on cows, had theÂ gall Â to actually call people “backwards.” Backwards indeed. It’s a good thing Mattrick is gone now because he had a lot of other stupid tricks up his sleeves, but while Microsoft was busy changing his policies they forgot to consider a very large portion of the gaming community. Here’s a fact: Microsoft could have made the Xbox One backwards compatible if they wanted to. They didn’t want to.
They didn’t want to make your $500 console backwards compatible. No way! Backwards compatibility AND Kinect?! Why, that’d be like including an Xbox 360 and a useless peripheral with the Xbox One, and we’d have to charge at least $1200 for that! Then Sony would be like, “We’ll just put a PlayStation 3 in the box with the PlayStation 4 and charge $1100 LOL PWND.” Atari founder Nolan Bushnell once said that video games are a race to the bottom. I’m beginning to think he’s right.
So no, I won’t be participating in “console launch madness” next month. I’ll probably pick up an Xbox One next year sometime when I’m absolutely certain I’ll be able to do so while also keeping my 360. Of course I want to play new games. Of course I want to experience whatever wonders technology may bring to my doorstep. But I also want to wax nostalgic from time to time. What’s wrong with that?