Poll Results: How Important is Backwards Compatibility to You?

March 5, 2013 -

In last week's poll we asked you "How important is backwards compatibility to you?" It turns out that it is not an important factor to a majority of our readers - or at least it's not a "deal breaker." 620 people voted in last week's poll and of those 620 votes, only 32 percent (or 196 votes) said that they would not buy a new console if it didn't offer backwards compatibility. Another 13 percent (79 votes) said that they did not care if backwards compatibility was there or not.

The lion's share of votes - 56 percent (or 345 votes) said that backwards compatibility was valuable but not a deal breaker. In other words, it would be nice if it was included but if it wasn't you'd likely still buy a new console.

The poll is directly related to Sony's announcement that PS One, PS2, and PS3 games would not be playable on the PlayStation 4 when it is released at the end of the year, nor any games purchased via the PlayStation Store for PS3.

Thanks to everyone who participated in last week's poll!



Re: Poll Results: How Important is Backwards Compatibility ...

Because of limited titles at launch this can be an important feature, but as time goes on the need for backward compatibility dwindles.  Sure there will always be a hardcore group that wants that feature, but it's not cost effective to create a more expensive console to appease such a small group.  If it's something you can accomplish with emulators, that puts less financial strain on the consumers, but it shifts that burden to the console developer, and since you're likely going to buy those games used, there is no incentive for devs to make emulators anyway.  Worse yet, emulators don't always work properly; checking out the things that don't work right on the Wikipedia list for 360 backward compatibility could make anyone vomit.  The only way to ensure solid backward compatibility is to include a GPU and CPU from the previous generation.  It's simply not fair to push that cost onto consumers who don't necessarily want that feature.

That said, I personally would prefer this feature, but I'm also not willing to pay a premium for it.

Re: Poll Results: How Important is Backwards Compatibility ...

One option to solve this problem is to come out with multiple versions of a console, including a more-expensive option that does have backwards-compatibility. The problem here is that this tends to cost more overall and slow down the production schedule.

Re: Poll Results: How Important is Backwards Compatibility ...

On the other hand, if 30% of gamers would refuse to buy a new console that doesn't have backward compatibility, that's a lot of lost sales.

Re: Poll Results: How Important is Backwards Compatibility ...

I'd be careful about extrapolating these results to all gamers. This is a self-selected sample of readers of this blog, which could potentially lead to a quite biased sample. For such samples, the people with strong opinions (particularly when things aren't going their way) are more likely to vote. In this case, the result would most likely be skewing the sample to have disproportionately many people who want backwards-compatibility.

Re: Poll Results: How Important is Backwards Compatibility ...

True but if I was on the production team I would consider doing more market research into it before I pushed forward to design a new system that didn't have backwards compatability.

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