Backward compatibility unlikely for next generation of consoles

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For those who have owned consoles and their successors, you’ll notice that some of them are backwards compatible—the PlayStation 2 could play PlayStation games, and initially, the PlayStation 3 could play both PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games. However, that all came to an end when the “thin” PlayStation 3 came out. The next generation of consoles wants to allegedly do away with backward compatibility completely.

“An important thing to remember is that next-gen consoles will most likely not be backwards compatible…and if you [play] multiplayer on a game, you’ll most likely not be able to play with someone on a different generation,” said Electronic Arts Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen, who was addressing investors gathered at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference.

The PlayStation 4 is rumored to have x86 architecture, which will make backwards compatibility much more difficult to install. In addition, the Xbox 360’s successor is also rumored to have a new wireless protocol, which might make it less reliant on controllers, although it is not known whether or not it will be backwards compatible.

“I will say that the trend in the business is to have that always-on connectivity and connect with a customer, and to the extent that the software identifies a certain customer, is going to create some issues going down the road in the used game market. But I do believe that the consumer likes it, and it’s been good for the retail channel,” Jorgensen added.

Sony is expected to (possibly) reveal the PlayStation 4 on February 20. There are no release dates yet for either the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox 360’s successor, but they are expected to compete with Valve’s Steam Box, which seeks to bring the PC into the living room.

Source: Gamasutra