If we learned anything from the both Sony and Microsoft in regards to their upcoming next-generation consoles, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, it’s that new consoles with backwards compatibility will seemingly be a thing of the past. Both companies have said they will not offer backwards compatibility, although we’re now hearing Microsoft could be performing another one-eighty on the topic.
Microsoft’s senior director Albert Penello spoke with Gamespot saying the Xbox One could eventually offer backwards compatibility using its Azure cloud servers as it could potentially use streaming technology, which is similar to what Sony has planned for possibly offering backwards compatibility to PS4 owners using its Gaikai service.
“That’s one of the things that makes [the cloud] at the same time both totally interesting and hard to describe to people,” Penello said during his interview with Gamespot. “Because what the cloud can do is sort of hard to pin. When you say to the customer, we want the box to be connected, we want developers to know that the cloud is there. We’re really not trying to make up some phony thing.”
We’re sure both Microsoft and Sony know just how important backwards compatibility is for most gamers, especially at the start of a new generation of consoles. This is one of those topics that will be interesting to follow, especially if either company announces an official solution to backwards compatibility.
Editor‘s note: the term “backwards compatibility” is used loosely by the interviewer and the Microsoft representative in our opinion. Although a streaming service like Gakai could give access to PS3 games, the level of quality of those games won’t match game running natively on the console (mainly for network and latency reasons), so it is a bit misleading to talk about “backwards compatibility” because when people hear that, they assume that things will work exactly the way it should. This is not true today with streaming. Additionally, when we play PC games via OnLive on a tablet, we don’t say that the tablet is “PC compatible”.