It doesn’t matter unless it changes the tide of the console war.
One of the best, most customer friendly moves by Microsoft in recent years is the reintroduction of backwards compatibility, by enabling Xbox 360 games to be played on the Xbox One. For a company that just two years ago, wouldn’t even allow you to truly own the new games you played for, let alone the older ones, this represents a great step forward.
And while it’s a nice way to earn some goodwill with customers, as well as some bragging rights in the console wars, the fact of the matter is, it is unlikely to matter to Sony, or even to cause them to introduce backwards compatibility, simply because it’s unlikely to affect the tides of war.
“The only way this matters to Sony is if sales numbers were to flip and I don’t see that happening,”Strategy Analytics’ Michael Goodman told Examiner.com. “Sony has got a different model. They have Backwards Compatibility, they’re just monetizing the Backwards Compatibility, whereas Microsoft is taking a different market approach with it. When you are #2 and playing catch-up you have to do thing differently.
“If Microsoft followed the Sony model, I could almost see the articles being written that it’s Microsoft being Microsoft again. I could just see those comments and their would almost certainly be push back from the gamer community. By following this path, Microsoft is creating a lot of goodwill with Backwards Compatibility.”
The issue here, Goodman said, is that backwards compatibility is more about perceived value than actual, tangible value.
“Backwards Compatibility is more about perceived value than necessary providing real value.’ Sony maybe right that people don’t use Backwards Compatibility, but Microsoft is giving gamers the ability to do so at no addition cost. Whether they actually use this capability is secondary to the fact that the capability is there at no additional cost.
“Microsoft has a number of titles from the Xbox 360 that we know people love to play, whether it’s Halo or Gears of War, a lot of people are still playing those older games. A video game today costs $60. If you have 10 Xbox One titles in your library, that’s $600, and frankly, it takes time to build up that library. Backwards Compatibility gives gamers more games to play early on while they build up a library of current-gen titles, I feel that makes the console more valuable,” Goodman said.
Be all of it as it may, I am grateful that Microsoft did this- and I keep hoping that Sony will, too.