Red Dead Redemption’s Success On Xbox One Is Another Knock Against The Lack of Backwards Compatibility on PS4

Sony’s refusal to honor backwards compatibility or digital continuity with the PS4 continues to rankle.

Posted By | On 09th, Jul. 2016 Under Article, Editorials | Follow This Author @Pramath1605

For a company that started this generation as vehemently anti consumer as Microsoft with the Xbox One, they are sure doing a whole lot of things the right way right now, things that are definitively in the ‘pro customer’ camp. Backwards compatibility is one of them, and that’s what we’re going to be talking about here, even though the feature is definitely not new. Consoles have had backwards compatibility for almost as long as they existed- the Genesis was backwards compatible with the Master System, the PS2 with the original PlayStation, and Nintendo have maintained full backwards compatibility from the GameCube onwards. So the feature’s inclusion on the Xbox One should not be news here.

Except that is exactly what it is, because of what context dictates- see, the Xbox One saw Microsoft switch away from the PowerPC hardware setup they used on the Xbox 360 to a more standardized and off-the-shelf x86 setup. The move was a necessary and ultimately appropriate one- PowerPC is a dead end x86 standardizes the Xbox One with the PC, x86 will continue to be developed and iterated on, and x86 will ensure that compatibility across generations is never broken again. Unfortunately, x86 is also incompatible with PowerPC, meaning that the vast library of great games that the Xbox 360 amassed is suddenly unplayable on the new system. Players who had invested hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars into the Xbox ecosystem suddenly found themselves broken off from all of that investment, from all their games.

It was unfortunate, but it was also non negotiable- PowerPC and x86 are inherently incompatible, and the move to x86 was the right decision for the long run, after all. The break in compatibility with Xbox 360 was just something that customers would need to abide by, it seemed like.


"The fact that backwards compatibility exists on Xbox One, and that it is as extensive as it is, is already a big deal."

Except Microsoft, doubtless desperate to reach out to their most loyal fans who had made the Xbox 360 so successful, and who were now probably contemplating a PS4 purchase after how terribly the Xbox One launched, decided to work around that. They created an emulator to fix up a backwards compatibility solution for the Xbox One- and it works! Less than a year after the feature originally launched, over 200 Xbox 360 games are now playable on the Xbox One, with more games added to the list of compatible ones every month.

The fact that backwards compatibility exists on Xbox One, and that it is as extensive as it is, is already a big deal- but the truly admirable part of this entire development has been the policy side of things. Microsoft do not charge users any money to access the backwards compatibility feature. Microsoft requires a developer or a publisher of a game to do nothing to enable it to be compatible on the Xbox One, except for giving consent. If an Xbox 360 game is whitelisted on the Xbox One, and if the user owns that game already, then they don’t have to pay again for that game in any capacity to play it on the Xbox One. Both, disc and digital versions are supported. Full functionality is retained, and in a lot of cases, playing the games on the Xbox One even enhances the experience. Microsoft have even used the feature to enhance their services, such as Xbox Live Games with Gold.

Contrast this with the PS4- Sony don’t offer any backwards compatibility with the PS3 (which is acceptable, given how hard it would be to emulate the PS3’s Cell with the amount of hardware resources the PS4 has on hand), or PS2, or PS1, or any of the PlayStation handhelds. This, in spite of the fact that the PS4 has more than enough grunt to emulate those systems. Sony do sell enhanced PS2 games on the PSN Store, but these are sold for $10-$15, and require a customer to purchase them to play the even if that customer had already previously bought those games on disc, or on digitally- Sony don’t even allow for a cheap ‘upgrade’ option like Nintendo does with the Virtual Console games on Wii U. Basically, it doesn’t matter if you spent $50 on Grand Theft Auto San Andreas on the PS2, and then another $15 on the PS3- you need to spend $15 again if you want to play it on the PS4.

ps2 emulation on ps4

"It doesn’t matter if you spent $50 on Grand Theft Auto San Andreas on the PS2, and then another $15 on the PS3- you need to spend $15 again if you want to play it on the PS4."

Sony also offer PS Now, which is a streaming service for PS3 games. This also does not honor any previously made purchases, relies on a subscription model, usually leads to degraded quality for games that you are playing, and requires you to always be online if you want to play a game- in other words, it’s a suspicious lot like the very policies that sent Microsoft and the Xbox One into the doghouse before that console ever even got to launch.

The contrast in the policies towards honoring previous purchases between Sony and Microsoft is thrown into sharp relief now that Red Dead Redemption is finally playable on the Xbox One too. There are several things here that need to be considered: Red Dead Redemption has been the most demanded game on the service ever since Microsoft announced the initiative at E3 last year; Red Dead Redemption was one of the most popular, most beloved games of the previous generationRed Dead Redemption manages to run even better on the Xbox One than it did on the Xbox 360 (and it already ran far better on the Xbox 360 than it did on the PS3); Red Dead Redemption was a game that a lot of players wanted to be able to play on their Xbox, and now they got the chance, and they took it, so much so that sales for the game actually saw a dramatic rise once it was confirmed to be getting whitelisted for Xbox One backwards compatibility.

It may be just one game, and a very old game, a six year old game, but it serves to illustrate a very important point- a game that everyone wanted to play, on a service that everyone appreciates, on a service that mandates no effort or cost from either developers or consumers, leading to renewed interest and sales for that game… it was a win all around, for Rockstar, who saw renewed interest in the game, for customers, who got to play the game on their current Xbox console, and for Microsoft, for whom this was a much needed PR win. The only company that is staying away from all of this are Sony, who, by still not offering a proper backwards compatible/digital continuity solution with their older systems, are looking uncharacteristically anti consumer now when it comes to this one thing.

I am sure that going forward, Sony will be able to provide full backwards compatibility with PS4 in their future consoles- after all, that’s one of the benefits of the x86 architecture, that they also switched to this generation. However, given that the company seems to be more interested in selling remasters for a price than in letting users play games they have already paid for, there is one part of me that remains cynical.

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.

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  • Agent_Blade

    Such a flawed article. Don’t get me wrong I loved RDR but the fact that you can play a last gen game on XB1 is not amazing it’s good for choice but not amazing.

    Gaming sites are treating this like it’s the best news in gaming this gen. Alot of them are literally falling all over this. This is not a remaster lol it’s just BC. It’s good but not all that.

    • Fweds

      FAKE GHOST UPVOTES courtesy of “Revolver Ocelot ” AKA “Mr Xrat”

    • Fweds

      Want some chips to go with that salt ?

      Red Dead Redemption is amazing and it’s even more amazing on the Xbox One it runs better and it didn’t cost me a dime.

    • Jason Scarpelli

      I think you mean “Do you want some salt on your chips”

    • Olive Feldman

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    • J.j. Barrington

      That doesn’t contradict ANYTHING Agent_Blade said, though…

    • Ronny B

      The ONLY individuals bothered by this article are those stuck with a console that does NOT offer backwards compatibility.

      It in fact IS “all that” simply because, if the shoe were on the other foot, your comment would have been vastly different, and dare I say, in agreement with the writer.

    • Mirimon

      I’m bothered, as the author clearly doesn’t know English, maths, or journalism….. literally retarded.

    • SimplyThom

      The usual suspects comment on all these stories. Anything pro Xbox and they flock to try and defend their console of choice. Why? I don’t know. Maybe they fell insecure. I just ignore them and enjoy gaming.

  • avi

    i never got a chance to play red dead on my 360 but just bought it for 7.50 on my xbox one just last night and my god….it’s glorious.
    I’ve already sunk in about 5 hours into the game and am loving every minute of it.

    Backward Compatibility rocks, imo. Glad it’s on the Xbox One.

  • Jugo94

    I just hope Sony and Ms keep up the BC from now on. I also want Sony to do something to copy BC besides PS now.

  • Mr Xrat

    An emulated game that had to be held back to get it to 30fps and still having no AA that got a minor sales spike for a day which has already settled back to nothing is a success? That’s not even getting into just how meager that “BC” list is nearly a year later. Low threshold for Xgimps, I suppose. The slow steady realization that not even Shitpio will save them has sent them into even deeper fits of utter delusion.

    • Fweds

      And here is “Revolver Ocelot” AKA “Mr Xrat”, wondered when you would appear after all the fake ghost upvotes on the Sony fanboys comments.

      When you get obsessed with a games console you don’t even want then its time you moved on.

    • Stephen Mullin

      Mr Xrat, enjoy your PS4 mate lol haha

  • Olive Feldman

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  • Paul

    I still find it amazing why the PS4 doesn’t have full backwards compatibility with PS1 and PS2 games, the hardware should be up to the job, same with the Xbox One, why hasn’t Microsoft made the original Xbox console fully backwards compatibility yet when we see on PC they can be emulated.

    • One With Shadows

      I still find it amazing someone will spend $500 on a new console to play old games.

    • Tga215

      The shade

    • Paul

      Yeah I know, but at least if console do shorter release cycles and keeps backwards compatibility, it will be harder for remaster to sell unless they do some serious work on them, we kind of see that on PC, most remaster don’t do well on PC because we already have the game and because the improvements for the most part are small.

    • One With Shadows

      Also the PC version is already the best in terms of graphics and that’s typically what remasters focus on.

    • Paul

      Pretty much all remasters I’ve seen are of the PC version with a few gimmicks to try and justify the price tag for console gamers, never been a fan of it unless the price was fair.

    • One With Shadows

      Same here. The only remaster I ever bought was the Last Of Us…because I couldn’t play it on Xbox 360.

    • Paul

      Good news is, that should be a lot harder for them to get away with with Neo and Scorpio having backwards compatibility putting it more in line with PC but I bet a few will try, more so the likes of RockStar that went out of there way to do it from last gen to this gen and to PC all in the name of selling the same game 2 or 3 times, because of that, I’ve still not bought the game yet, bargain basement price will do lol.

  • efnet

    Jesus Christ them boys are MAD I tell ya lol MADDDD!!!!
    Can’t have an article saying anything negative about a ps4 without grown as* men crying like little girls …

    • J.j. Barrington

      And there goes the troll. Took you long enough.

  • Mike Greenway

    Is this a private fight or can anyone join in?

    • efnet

      I think It’s open to the public lol

  • J.j. Barrington

    Dude, you’re… not good at this.

  • Rafoca

    OMG. Another Xbox article full of Sony users. This knock certainly happened lol

    • J.j. Barrington

      No rebuttals to anything said, though? Just playing the victim?

      How sad for you.

    • Rafoca

      Can’t help you to stop being a hater, sorry

    • J.j. Barrington

      I’d have to be a hater first, in order to stop.

    • Rafoca

      Don’t hate me

    • J.j. Barrington

      Pity is closer.

  • Mirimon

    Success? Selling 600 copies is success?

    • super6646

      How do you know it sold 600 copies? Are you telling me that using Amazon as a way to predict sales is accurate? You need to realize that the digital code is still at #61 even though its been 3 days since release, and that people probably had other ways of buying the game.

    • Mirimon

      Because, this article is about, and references, Amazon sales.
      Page history shows amazons total stock for used and new copies of this game in all its forms be they physical, digital, le, ce etc. globally at under 1k. That, minus current supplies shows exactly how many were sold by amazon since the xb1 emulation announcement.
      Again, this is only amazon sales, which is what the article is about and so far the only retailer to try and publish figures about this.

      This “story” is mistaking amazons store front ranking system with actual sales.

    • J.j. Barrington

      Damn, I didn’t even look that far into it. That makes this look even worse.

  • Orionsangel

    Last gen was the first gen where we accumulated digital game collections on our accounts. Prior generations we could sell our last gen console with games for a profit, but in this digital age many have sold their last gen consoles leaving behind hundreds of purchased games on their account.

    Companies like MS and Sony need to provide a way so that we can continue to play our purchased games. Most people don’t wanna own 3 to 7 consoles just to play last gen games. We wanna own what we purchased on what is the same account from last gen. Because it’s not like we registered new accounts for our next gen consoles. So why shouldn’t our games migrate too? MS is doing right so far with backwards compatibility. Sony though is doing it the greedy way by wanting us to rebuy games we already own on our accounts.

    • J.j. Barrington

      You’re not entitled to legacy software support. You bought a 360 game for your 360, not your XB1. They don’t NEED to do anything, but it’s nice when they do.

  • Extremepat

    God this article was so terribly written. Has the author graduated third grade English yet?

  • Alpha Paradis

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