As a feature, backward compatibility in gaming consoles has never been a reliable bet. The feature was universally loved in some cases, as with the PS1 to PS2. The concept was abandoned entirely in other generations, such as in the leap from PS3 to PS4. In the latest generation, however, backward compatibility seems to be the name of the game.
Looking at the market’s modern state and some previous standouts, we want to see where related issues can lie. How can this relate to other forms of software like online casinos, and what makes this generation special?
The coming generation
In the ninth generation of gaming consoles, backward compatibility seems to be in its best state yet. Microsoft’s Xbox Series is the greatest illustration of this, where a huge range of games from the Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One are supported on the new systems. While Sony’s PlayStation 5 doesn’t go as far as this, it still performs better than ever before. According to current statements, of more than 4,000 titles on PS4, only ten won’t work on the PS5.
Casinos and consistency
To see why modern consoles have such a comparatively easy time with backward compatibility, we could use the example of online casinos. Like modern gaming consoles, casino systems have evolved considerably over time, now offering a range of experience far beyond what their predecessors could have dreamed of.
In new online casinos, for example, websites regularly come with hundreds of games. From the traditional slots to table games, live titles, and more, the selection here is enormous and only growing. Combined with bonuses like free spins and deposit matches, and the industry has never been so healthy. Yet, despite how far they’ve come, even games from over a decade ago are still easily playable.
The reasons for this tie into how modern systems operate. Simply put, the hardware and software which manage these systems are extremely similar to what came before. HTML might have come a long way into its current HTML5 iteration, but the first forms still operate perfectly. The key here is consistency, and this is what allows online casinos the compatibility they enjoy.
On consoles, consistency was traditionally not as supported. The PS2 was very different from the PS3, which made compatibility difficult. The PS3, with its cell architecture, was outright bizarre by console standards, to the point where basic compatibility wasn’t just difficult, it was impossible.
“Playstation 3” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by tsuihin – TimoStudios
Microsoft went a different route, essentially basing their hardware and software on existing PC solutions. This is what gave them an edge in the backward compatibility regard. It took until the PS4 for Sony to follow suit, to which we’re now seeing the payoff.
A strong future
At this rate, it appears that the future of consoles is going to be one where backward compatibility will no longer present an insurmountable issue. As the likes of online casinos have done before it, the consistency of newer systems makes the concept not just easier, but also far more financially viable.
While it might be a bit too early to speculate on the future of a PlayStation 6 or Microsoft’s next console, the fate of backward compatibility seems more promising than ever.