Op-ed: Xbox One Data Proves Sony Are Right To Ignore Demands For PS4 Backwards Compatibility


Analysis of Xbox gamer habits by Ars Technica prove that Sony were probably right to ignore the baying call for PS4 Backwards compatibility.

Ever since E3 2016, when Microsoft announced that they would be adding the backwards compatible functionality to the Xbox One, enabling it to play selected Xbox 360 titles, it has been a feature that Xbox “super fans” have lorded over their rivals – and rightfully so. It was a bold move by Microsoft, was at the top of many Xbox gamer’s wish list and is one of the few features that the Xbox One boasts that is not shared by any other current-gen system. It’s certainly something Microsoft take seriously and have wholeheartedly supported for which they deserve immense credit.

Sony, on the other hand, don’t see Backwards Compatibility for the PS4 as a priority. A recently published interview by Time Magazine, questioning global sales chief Jim Ryan and SIEA CEO Shawn Layden, confirmed as much. Jim Ryan stated;


“When we’ve dabbled with backwards compatibility, I can say it is one of those features that is much requested, but not actually used much,”


A perfectly reasoned response – except he continued…


“That, and I was at a Gran Turismo event recently where they had PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 games, and the PS1 and the PS2 games, they looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?”


While his latter comments certainly caused a stir, there appears to be some truth in Backwards Compatablity being “much requested, but not actually used much”, at least according to analysis collected by Ars Technica on Xbox gamer habits which was published today.

The full report is fascinating and gives a pretty in-depth look into console use habits from what media apps are used most to what types of games are most popular among those sampled – but the most interesting aspect of this was this…

During the sample period of September 2016 to February 2017 and while analysing the playing habits of 930,000 Xbox One gamers, only 1.5% of their play time was spent on games with Backwards Compatibility. One point five. That’s an incredibly small amount of time compared to any other portion of that pie chart.

Kyle Orland put this into perspective perfectly.

This data supports the sentiments of Jim Ryan (at least the initial thought – before he started talking smack about the visuals of good ol’ GT). While Xbox gamers had demanded Backwards Compatibility, celebrated its announcement and have continued to brag about it for 12 months, they hardly ever use it according to Ars Technica’s data.

This will, however, be little solace to those PlayStation gamers who dream of sliding a PS3 disk into their PS4 and for it to boot up without an issue – even if they would be among only 2% that would potentially use it. The general consensus is that, due to the PS3’s unorthodox architecture, Backwards Compatibility from Playstation 3 to 4 would be far more difficult and costly to implement than it was from Xbox 360 to One and the best PS4 gamers can hope for is an improvement to the PSNow service. It seems Sony are more concerned with investing in new games and reinvigorating old ones than adding Backwards Compatibility – a strategy that is certainly working for them and is something we’ll likely see more of at E3 2017.

1 Comment
  1. hvd2222 8 months ago

    no ea access,psn is still crap,no real bc

    #forthegamers…..lmao.you just cant teach stupid.

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