PlayStation 4 to focus on future, won’t be getting backward compatibility

It was big news at E3 2015, when Microsoft announced that the Xbox One will receive backward compatibility technology, allowing fans of legacy content to play a range of Xbox 360 titles on a new console. It definitely makes sense for the company too, who has been battered by Sony’s PlayStation 4 in terms of sales in their initial few months.

But Sony won’t be following suit, at least if head of Sony PlayStation’s games studios, Shuhei Yoshida, is to be believed.

“The backward compatibility news was interesting. The technology involved must be very challenging,” noted Yoshida, speaking to Polygon, but there was no hint of the company investing time and money into a PS4 backward compatibility programme from him or at the press briefing.

Of course, this move does make sense for Sony. It’s shipping PlayStation 4s for fun at the moment, so it doesn’t explicitly need to entice more to jump ship from the PlayStation 3 (to be fair, there aren’t all that many using the PS3 compared to the Xbox 360).

More importantly though, it seems that the Xbox One will need an emulator in order to decipher and play the old-gen games — it’s not as simple as sliding a disc into the drive and hitting play. This obviously means a mini performance hit, as resources will be needed for the emulator and the game rather than the game itself, and additionally, it means that Sony would need to develop its own emulator.

Read more: Console War revived: Xbox One outshines PlayStation 4 at E3 2015

When asked about Xbox’s announcement, Yoshida explained that “The [Sony] announcement didn’t change,” even in light of Microsoft’s decision.

“I don’t think we will change our approach. The PlayStation 4 doesn’t have backward compatibility.”

Although it might be a disappointing announcement for some, it does seem like the correct move for Sony to focus on its current gaming lineup, as it has a much, much larger market share with the PlayStation 4 than Microsoft has with the Xbox One. But things can change, of course.

What Yoshida did suggest is a focus on the future rather than the past, which includes titles like Shenmue III, Final Fantasy VII and exclusives like Until Dawn and Uncharted 4, most coming next year.

While Microsoft clearly thinks regression is the best form of progression, Sony believes that its future gaming lineup is key in the console war.

But do you agree? Do you think Sony’s backward compatibility shun is a good decision? Let us know in the comments section below.

Feature image: Lee Dyer via Flickr

Andy Walker, former editor


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