“Xbox on,” I say as I walk into my room. My little box of joy illuminates its warm and bright X logo. I am home. I love my new Xbox One. However, as it makes its place as my dominant gaming console, I can’t help but feel nostalgic for my old game library that is becoming obsolete.
I am what some in the gaming community call an early adopter of the Xbox One, meaning that I bought the system fairly close to when It came out. I knew the risks of doing so, but the Xbox One “Titanfall” bundle just seemed too good.
“Titanfall” is my only Xbox One game because few good new games have been released. The Xbox One has no backwards compatibility. I knew both of these things when I bought the Xbox One, but what I didn’t know is how much not having backwards compatibility would hurt my gaming experience.
As if Sony and Microsoft agreed upon it, neither of this generation’s consoles (Xbox One and Playstation 4, or PS4) have what is called backwards compatibility. These devices would be backward compatible if the PS4 could play a PS3 game or an Xbox was able to play an Xbox 360 game. No backwards compatibility means that this entire section of the market is closed off, immediately starving current systems of a great and diverse library of games.
So, my entire Xbox 360 and PS3 backlog of games is worthless unless I have my old consoles to run them. As a college student in a dorm, I don’t have much space. I need too many consoles to play my old favorite games as they are no longer up to date. I am aware of some of the technical limitations that make backwards compatibility difficult. I am also aware of forward marketing ruthlessly pushing out the old to make room for the new. These companies want to push their new products and reduce costs of making their updated console.
There is a market for re-releases. I am not alone in feeling separated from my backlog of games. There are solutions emerging that should make the transition a little easier.
Sony is leading the charge in online game streaming. This summer they are releasing what is called Playstation Now, where players can stream PS3 titles straight to their PS4, PS3 or PS Vita system(s). This is a way around backwards compatibility that sounds extremely promising, streaming the game through the cloud rather than having the console emulate the old games.
Microsoft has yet to be as ambitious with their streaming play, but at least both parties will benefit from some re-releases of last-generation games onto their new consoles. Rockstar’s “Grand Theft Auto V” is already up for pre-order for the current generation of consoles. In addition, Naughty Dog’s “The Last of Us” is updating to PS4.
For an early adopter, the options of cloud streaming and re-releasing are especially nice because it will allow us to play some of our favorite titles on our new, sexy consoles.