In the early days of gaming, backwards compatibility was a feature that was usually expected when upgrading consoles. Nintendo consoles kept backwards compatibility when possible while Xbox and PlayStation systems abandoned the concept. Recently, Microsoft implemented backwards compatibility for the Xbox One, making Sony the odd one out when it comes to this feature. But does Sony need to implement backwards compatibility in order to stay competitive in the console war?
The Case for Needing Backwards Compatibility
Sony needs to be looking for ways to improve relations with their fans. A few months ago, Sony faced criticism from fans over the inclusion of mods on the console. Even though mods are now available on Skyrim: Special Edition for the PS4, many limitations were also announced, making some of the best mods on Xbox One unavailable or PS4 users receiving a watered down version of what Xbox One users are already enjoying.
Controversies, whether they pan out or not, tend to leave a bad taste in users’ mouths. When the rumors of the Xbox One being unable to play used games or play games without an internet connection started to swarm around the console, it was hard for Microsoft to earn back the trust of their consumers. Sony is beginning to have a similar struggle with disappointing fans over the controversy of mods and lack of backwards compatibility. If Sony needs to start looking for ways to improve relations with fans, backwards compatibility is a great way to start.
With mod support and backwards compatibility already a feature for the Xbox One, Sony has to fight an uphill battle since their biggest rival has two huge features that it cannot match. On top of that, between the Wii U and Xbox One, the PS4 is the only console on the market that does not offer this feature. Now to be fair, Sony does offer some backwards compatibility in the form of PlayStation Now, but their library is too small and a paid monthly subscription is not comparable to the type of backwards compatibility that Nintendo or Xbox offers.
Will the lack of traditional backwards compatibility completely tank Sony console sales in the future? Probably not. But the lack of a key feature in a console is something that would definitely make the average consumer question a purchase.