Close
Report Comment to a Moderator Our Moderators review all comments for abusive and offensive language, and ensure comments are from Verified Users only.
Please report a comment only if you feel it requires our urgent attention.
I understand, report it. Cancel

Xbox boss: Backwards compatibility is "really backwards"

Xbox boss: Backwards compatibility is "really backwards"

Wed 22 May 2013 8:48pm GMT / 4:48pm EDT / 1:48pm PDT
Hardware

Mattrick believes players won't miss Xbox 360 games on Xbox One

With yesterday's Xbox One reveal, we now know that Microsoft's latest console and the Sony PlayStation 4 won't be backwards compatible with their PowerPC-based predecessors. Microsoft Interactive Entertainment president Don Mattrick told the Wall Street Journal that the company is not planning on offering even a token backwards compatibility system, like it did with the Xbox 360.

"If you're backwards compatible, you're really backwards," he said.

Mattrick said that only 5 percent of customers play older titles on a new system, so Microsoft doesn't find the option worthwhile. Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson believes that a lack of backwards compatibility could hurt the system in the short term, but it could help software sales as players "rebuild their entire library for a new console."

Sony is working on some form of backwards compatibility for the PlayStation 4, possibly based on the cloud-streaming Gaikai service, but no concrete plans have been announced.

34 Comments

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd

1,020 1,467 1.4
Popular Comment
5% play older tiles? BS Mattrick. 5% only used original Xbox games on the Xbox 360 because it only played 5% of Xbox games well.

Posted:A year ago

#1
Popular Comment
Can't someone stop Microsoft executives from making arrogant and offensive statements!
Their level of arrogance and perceived entitlement will be their downfall!
Xbone!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by kevin williams on 23rd May 2013 1:44am

Posted:A year ago

#2

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
Popular Comment
Oh, good lord... what a carrot...

OK, if Mattrick's going by Xbox to Xbox 360 history, Nicholas' comments are right, as the company was hell bent on killing off the original system as quickly as possible once the 360 hit retail.

The One avoids this entirely (a dumb move for a few reasons - you can't tell me a system with EIGHT cores can't dedicate one to some sort of emulation or perhaps a paid cloud-based option for older digital-only titles), but unless EVERY damn game coming for the new console is a bona-fide hit, what the hell are people going to play during dry spells?

Unless they have the greatest launch lineup EVER plus a solid XBLA roll out that carries some older indie and Arcade games onto the new hardware, you'll hear cicadas chirping between releases as gamers who want more content go find something else to play on. Trust me, they won't be watching Halo and waiting around, that's for sure. Maybe that new user base they're trying to tempt won't care, but as usual, gambling seems to be a sport these guys love...

Anyway, so what happens when some enterprising hacker voids a warranty, cracks open a system and figures out it can run 360 games with some fiddling? Granted, that person can't use the console at all online, so it's a moot point at the end of the day.

UNLESS (dun dun dunnnn!)... this is a REALLY clever (and f'ed up) ploy to get MORE people to buy up all those Xbox 360's that will be rendered "obsolete" by the One. Eh, whatever - if the investors are happy, Microsoft is happy, damn the torpedoes...

@Kevin: Xbone!? For some reason that made me laugh so much that I think I broke something...

Posted:A year ago

#3

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
Sooooo....
Sega have made a nice sideline selling us Megadrive (Genesis) games on XBLA. Do people buy Sonic/ SoR/ Toejam & Earl/ Gunstar Heroes et al because they don't like old games. Capcom and others have done the same, everyone bought the Secret of Monkey Island. Microsoft released Halo anniversary, with the original version included.

It would have actually been nice if I wasn't asked to buy these all again in five years. Whilst I may not need CoD MW2 (I never had it anyway, but hey) now Ghosts is out, I do want Peggle and Limbo, and don't want to buy them again. Ok, Limbo I have the PC version off Humble Bundle, but the point stands. With the resurgence of smaller games, and stuff like Minecraft, that do not need the full extent of a powerful system, that we love playing anyway, why would we not want to play them? Of course MS may like to sell them as "360 classics" for 25 with new textures in 3 years, but they can only do that if we do want to play them.

Posted:A year ago

#4

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
Also, lot lot of Xbox 360 early adopters never owned an original Xbox, a lot migrated from PS2. Also, in the early years of Xbox 360, I knew at lot of people with no broadband, or no router, and who therefore never connected a 360 to the internet, meaning backwards compatibility was not an option, if they couldn't download emulator patches.
On the flipside, a lot of people used the function on PS2.

Posted:A year ago

#5

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
@Andrew: In the US (well, at least at the indie shop I worked at for a few years), it was the reverse. While I left the shop before the 360 was released, we had a lot of Xbox owners interested in the new console, as I believe the old black box did better sales in North America than any other country. Granted, the PS2 user base was more massive and we did have a lot of cross-platform customers as well.

Anyway, yes, some people will end up holding onto their 360's for a while even if they buy a One, but I think getting them to spend money repurchasing content will tick a few off who'd rather sync the old HDD to the new console and perhaps play on that somehow. There's a solution for every problem, but telling people "Our way or the highway" on day one isn't going to win over some loyal users unless every question they have gets a straight answer...

Posted:A year ago

#6

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,138 1,179 1.0
Popular Comment
Continuing to insult the user base fraction by fraction. So far we got.

Used games scum.
Hippie game lenders
Privacy extremists.
Offline yokels.
Ancient games romantics
Indy games pseudo-hipsters


Still to go:

Beer guzzling sports lunatics.
Doritos munching CoD crazies.
Non-gaming TV watchers.
That one guy in New Jersey.


Is there a secret spy war going on, where operatives of competing companies have infiltrated Microsoft PR and are now working to destroy them? Everyday now we get these quotes which seem to be made to enrage established userbases. I thought the new Xbox wanted to expand the audience, not rebuild it after heavy pruning.

Posted:A year ago

#7
ITs a strangely backwards comment. There is a certain nostalgic appeal of retro games eg. X360. I even enjoy playing good ole FF6 on the SNES! Hours of riveting fun & challenges compared to some of the current 2010-2013 titles!

Posted:A year ago

#8

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
@Klaus: As a charter member of the first six clubs... I resemble that remark! Thanks for the laugh. Actually, three of those last four seem to be the target market for the console, so we'll see what happens. I was reading some Xbox forum posts and as noted elsewhere, people don't seem to be as happy as Microsoft thought they'd be... this is getting interesting and shows no signs of subsiding as E3 slowly rolls around...

Posted:A year ago

#9

Anthony Gowland Lead Designer, Outplay Entertainment

203 689 3.4
This statement really reminds me of the sixaxis "rumble is so last gen" idiocy.

Posted:A year ago

#10

James Boulton Tools & Tech Coder, Slightly Mad Studios

133 171 1.3
Now if some cunning person were to write a decent XBOX 360 emulator for the XBOX ONE you may be able to sell that for a tidy sum to MS. Not an easy task, mind you. Emulating a 3 core 6 thread PowerPC on an Intel architecture at a decent speed even with JIT recompilation is likely to be hard work. Still, it's do-able I reckon...

Edit: Should have searched for this first. Here we go, MS, use that for backwards compatibility -- http://xbox360emulator.net/

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Boulton on 23rd May 2013 9:59am

Posted:A year ago

#11

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,184 979 0.8
He'd be better off talking about the technical constraints and justify it that way, as opposed to the lack of demand. Many people complain about backwards compatibility.

Posted:A year ago

#12

Brian Smith Artist

196 85 0.4
I think it was a correct decision last generation not to include hardware back compatibility. This one however I think they're way wrong. This time folk have libraries of digital content that after 8 years can be pretty extensive. I'd buy one right away if it supported my current library but I'll hold off for maybe a year since it won't. I know folk will say, keep your old console and shut up but I don't know many folk who want two kinects grafted onto their tv etc... This is actually the most disappointing aspect of the Xbox one for me.

Posted:A year ago

#13

Nick Parker Consultant

290 161 0.6
This is like a political party in mid term - get the bad news out early and we'll make up the lost ground before the next election. At this moment in time, there are two decisions Microsoft has taken - no backward compatibility and no sharing/lending of games without a further access fee to be paid by the receiver. Both of these will have a negative impact on Xbox One sales for a lot of people (certainly for those early adopters with deep libraries who would rather keep their 360s plugged in) but we hope that by launch, Microsoft may soften its stance somehow. It's early days but some of the PR coming out of Microsoft at the moment is puzzling.

Posted:A year ago

#14

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,138 1,179 1.0
@Nick
this might work if asymmetric demobilization is your plan. It totally works in politics since you aim for a certain percentage of voters, not a total amount.

Commerce is not politics. There is nothing gained by scaring away people who would not voted for you in the first place and hope some of your regular voters will not be gone forever. There is no reason to scare the fringes of your spectrum by aiming at the very core or vice verse.

Posted:A year ago

#15

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
Backwards compatibility is an issue for me. I dont see why it cant be done. I know people who run OSX on PC's.The new consoles are almost 10 times as powerful as the previouse ones and I belive it can be done through software emulation. Not an easy task, I know, but possible, yes. But Im no programmer I have little say on it.

However its annoying to spend all this money on games and for something that will be obsolete and no longer supported. I like standars I like that USB, my wall power plug, Blu-Ray and DVDS, CDS still work. Imagine if every year or every 5 years all that changed. And the video game industry hasnt yet defined that. Imagine if Windows was no longer supported and that a new operationg system came out every so often that wasnt compatible with previose software or archive formats. It would really suck.

Its almost like the game industry takes your money and leaves you out there to die.

Posted:A year ago

#16

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,271 2,440 1.1
I can't believe they are actually finding ways of making that console reveal even worse. I really wasn't sure that was possible but they've found a way.

Posted:A year ago

#17
its like adobe cloud....there is no reason why it cannot be backwards compatible. they just choose to totalyl not want to bother to support this feature is all. Momma MS knows best of course :)

Posted:A year ago

#18

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
This is a quote from another article... I thought it was appropriate to post here.
It's hard to go back and look at an original Xbox game or a PS2 game.
I still look back to old 8-bit and 16-bit games. I have many oldschool PS1 and PS2 favorites, so what are these people going on about? And for the Virtual Console alone, Nintendo pretty much has me sold, just waiting for a price drop and a bundle with New Super Mario Bros U. And Nintendo consoles have always existed side by side other console from other companies.

They will only say what benefits there bussiness, they are on a business to tell people what they want and how to use, they want to control everything.

But the reality is, people want other things, and plenty of people like old games... and any real gamer, will play a game, not for the graphics alone, but how the game made you feel.

These guys in suits, they dont play games, they cant and will never understand.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 23rd May 2013 3:20pm

Posted:A year ago

#19

David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers

359 78 0.2
Could this not of been said in a more political way, like, "We're sorry, we know people love their 360s, but it just wasn't possible with the architecture."?

Posted:A year ago

#20

Ian Brown IT Developer / IT Infrastructure

107 26 0.2
This time folk have libraries of digital content that after 8 years can be pretty extensive.
I agree with Brian Smith on this as I myself have an XBLA collection of over 50 titles purchased since Geometry Wars was released many years ago. If they are expecting me to buy those again or just "deal" with them not being supported they can forget my custom right away.

I've been waiting for the new consoles for a while now but I'm getting more and more depressed with what I'm hearing every day in regards to saying "we know whats best" when it comes to gamers playing habits and desires.

I may just stick with my current consoles and PC as this is simply not giving me any interest in purchasing what so ever.....shame really. Plus side at least I don't have to worry about using those consoles offline.

Posted:A year ago

#21

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,184 979 0.8
I dont see why it cant be done. I know people who run OSX on PC's.The new consoles are almost 10 times as powerful as the previouse ones and I belive it can be done through software emulation. Not an easy task, I know, but possible, yes. But Im no programmer I have little say on it.
If only emulating a game was as simple as that.

It looks like current generation PCs aren't emulating 360 and PS3 so I'm not sure how these consoles would. They just about run Wii games on the Dolphin emulator.

Of course, I may be completely wrong and emulating 360 on a 1.6GHz x86 AMD CPU may work and may be perfectly practical for software engineers. Then we should universally call Microsoft/Sony out on the fiasco. Though I'm not willing to do that, as much as I would like to keep my collection to one box.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 23rd May 2013 5:10pm

Posted:A year ago

#22

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,184 979 0.8
Edit: Should have searched for this first. Here we go, MS, use that for backwards compatibility -- http://xbox360emulator.net/
As far as I'm aware it is fake. So I'd advise anyone not to go near that download.

Posted:A year ago

#23

Murray Lorden Game Designer & Developer, MUZBOZ

199 72 0.4
Would it be weird to leave your Xbox 360 next to your Xbox One, and play Xbox 360 games on the Xbox 360?

I kinda think it's a fair call from Microsoft. I mean, a shame they couldn't have backwards compatibility. But there's nothing to stop you from having a few consoles hooked up. Many people have a PS3, Xbox 360, DVD player, anyway. Just add the Xbox One on the end. :)

Posted:A year ago

#24

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,271 2,440 1.1
Murray, the lack of B/C is only somewhat of a concern. But it's the arrogant and derisive stance MS is taking with it. "If you like backwards computability, you are backwards"? Way to insult a lot of people out there including many of your own consumer base.

Posted:A year ago

#25

Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis

387 205 0.5
tbh I am glad they don't do backwards compatibility. I thought it was a bad decision on the Xbox 360 at the time too. I would rather they spent resources and focus on making the new console as good as possible without distractions from making sure it can play old games. I think I played one session of Xbox game on my 360 and the same for PS2 game on PS3 and they looked terrible.

@ Andrew Goodchild - Retro gaming and backwards compatibility is different. All those games you mentioned were re-makes of the original made to run on the 360/PS3. Microsoft never said they wouldn't allow re-makes to be released on Xbox One and I'm sure we will see them all again on the new console.

Now with HDMI IN you could easily plug your 360 into the Xbox One and just route it through using the channel switch thing they happily showed off at the reveal.

Posted:A year ago

#26

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
The point is that it proves people want old games, and if people want 20 year old games, but nothing from the last 8 years of Xbox is worth playing, that is sad.
As for remakes, that will only happen with a select few games, and most of us would like to avoid buying the same content.
I have no problem keeping my Xbox 360, but it's 7 years old, although it had the motherboard and DVD drive swapped due to RROD, after 2 years. I really don't expect it to last much longer.

Edit: Not everyone cares, but my personal feeling is that backwards compatibility would lock me into Xbox, without it I'm free to consider the PS4, and currently I'm swaying that way.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Goodchild on 23rd May 2013 8:44pm

Posted:A year ago

#27

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
...you can't tell me a system with EIGHT cores can't dedicate one to some sort of emulation...
Since I'm a programmer familiar with low-level hardware details and how they're emulated, I do think I can.

There's a reason that the PS3 never had emulation of the PS2 without additional (and fairly expensive, given that it's a console) hardware added specifically for this purpose.
Anyway, so what happens when some enterprising hacker voids a warranty, cracks open a system and figures out it can run 360 games with some fiddling?
Nobody will care, because by that time an enterprising hacker will have figured out how to make the Wii U play Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4 and PC games, so people will just buy that console.

Back to reality:

Given the technical and cost considerations, lack of backwards compatability for both the PS4 and the Xbox One was pretty much a given from the start. Nobody was looking either to build a console with little more power than the previous generation or add $100 or more to their new console's retail price.

It should also have been clear to everyone from the start that this decision was going to produce some vocal complaints. Even were it not, that MS is basically dismissing the whole thing rather than trying to put a nice spin on it I find completely inexplicable. I'm not at all a PR guy, but even I know that good PR doesn't work that way.

Posted:A year ago

#28

Roberto Dillon Associate Professor, James Cook University

33 24 0.7
Failing in supporting the previous generation of consoles has hurt companies since the launch of the Atari 5200. Why these people never learn?
The original xbox user base was relatively small so no big deal with the 360 having limited retro support but now with 70+ million users who built extensive libraries, it IS important if you want to maintain your user base and expand it further. If there isn't, I may as well start building a new library on the PS4: the xbox has no starting advantage/appeal for me any more.

Posted:A year ago

#29

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
@Curt - thanks for that answer. Poking around a few non-industry boards (and the Xbox forums) seems to contradict you, but I'll let you have the last word here as you seem to know what you're talking about as opposed to some others who say it can be done without much trouble who probably aren't programmers.

Anyway, it was a odd hypothetical anyway, as I'm betting Microsoft has it in for anyone who mods a that new and dares to pop online even for a second with it. I'd imagine they're setting it up so that voiding that warranty is some sort of new brick-able offense, but let's see what the EULA and TOS say...

At the end of the day, MS is bungling this so badly that it's just going to be tough to undig the holes they keep shoveling themselves into. To reply to others here and elsewhere saying "just keep BOTH systems!" Well, duh.... not everyone has space for BOTH consoles in their apartment, dorm or wherever they reside that's not that over-sized living room you always see in those fake ads the big three run where everyone is smiling around that wall-sized TV in a room the size of some apartments.

It's as if they're making a console THEY want to use and not for some folks who have real reservations and genuine concerns about a lot of what's coming. Not giving users the option to choose features and the limited thinking of "well, EVERYONE is connected, so?" is going to fly back and bite some folks pretty hard.

Eh, whatever - I'm sure Ben Heckendorn is rubbing his screwdrivers together about this system and what he can do with it...

That and the One will be the ONE console that can't be stolen, as it'll be easy for MS to brick it once it's reported as stolen.... (unless the person is moving to a new location, forgot his or her password and messes up entering a password a few times... oops)...

Makes me wonder how precise the info-gathering is on that new Kinect. It supposedly can register faces and total amounts of people in a room as well as see in the dark (like some sort of robot cat sitting on top or in front of the TV waiting for a mouse to creep by)...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Greg Wilcox on 24th May 2013 6:14am

Posted:A year ago

#30

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

457 734 1.6
I think this is Microsoft's "We want people to feel like they have to work overtime for our console" moment.

Posted:A year ago

#31

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
You know whats backwards...

Not understanding why people play those old games in the first place. What makes them classics and why people till this day still desire to play them.

Especially when alot of them span stories dating back to Xbox1...errm... the first Xbox... you know the first Xbox... this so dumb... anyway the xbox that came out when playstation 2 was around.... I mean if you play Halo 4 you might wanna go back and play Halo 1 and 2 and for many Nintendo fans, Nintendo has a catalog of 8-bit and 16-bit games that are just timeless.

And for all the games that came after it, Street Fighter 2 remains my favorite vs. fighting game.Same can be said about Guilty Gear.

And for any real gamer, who can appreciate games outside of call of duty and assasins creed... they find value in older games much like a film enthusiest finds value in old movies. I particularly enjoy watching films from the 80'... what is so backwards about that.

Look if microsoft doesnt see any business in older games, why dont they just make the license the technology for other companies to do it. A non exclusive license that allows smaller companies to develope hardware for none supported formats. Microsoft can get a small cut from every unit sold, and none of this will prevent microsoft from providing there own method to deliver old games. Much like what companies do to develope a Blu-Ray or DVD player. You got small companies like Seiki.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 26th May 2013 1:39am

Posted:A year ago

#32

David Serrano Freelancer

300 272 0.9
@David Radd

Corporations need to hire common sense consultants...

Posted:A year ago

#33

Login or register to post

Take part in the GamesIndustry community

Register now