The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
You might read the title of this blog and automatically
think I am referring to video games, the transition from one generation to the
next and whether backwards compatibility is incorporated or not. In a way, I
suppose I am, but this blog isn't exclusively about video games. It actually
came about over some hardware compatibility issues.
I recently moved from the East Coast to the West Coast and
in the process I shifted my Internet service from DSL (Verizon) to Cable
(Comcast). Honestly, I couldn't tell you which is bigger, better, badder - I've
heard fans of each swear by what they use. Personally, I prefer cable...it seems
far more stable and faster. Anyway, the new wireless cable modem / router I
have installed uses WPA2 (Wireless Protected Access) encryption. My old DSL
modem used WEP. I didn't have any issues connecting the various devices to my new
home network until I got to the Xbox 360. I could NOT get it to connect. After
some very basic troubleshooting I realized it was because the wireless adapter
I was using didn't support WPA2. I thought (or maybe hoped) I could update the
driver or maybe flash the firmware and fix the problem, but after reading a few
different Google articles, I discovered this particular device was no longer
supported by Microsoft.
Sure, at first I was a little annoyed, but then I realized
this device was old. We're talking maybe 10 years old. I got this adapter after
the original Xbox was released, if that tells you how old it was. I had a few
choices. Apparently somebody figured out how to hack the firmware from a
similar product that did support WPA2. I could try that, maybe. Uh no thank
you, especially after reading all the horror stories about stability problems. I
could change my network to WEP. Well, I could...but I'd prefer using WPA2 since
it is more secure and since I already had a bunch of items connected to the
network. OR...I could buy a new device. For about $50 bucks, I decided to just
buy a four port Wi-Fi range extender (it was even 802.11n) and hardwired my
Xbox 360 to it...
Everything is running like a well-oiled machine now.
Should the manufacture still have supported this 10+ year
old device? Is that a realistic expectation?
This certainly isn't the only time I've ran into this
problem. I have a racing wheel for the PC that is fairly old too. Over 10 years
old. The original operating system was Windows XP which came out in 2001 and
hung around until around...what, 2008 or 2009? The wheel still works with most
racing games...but only using a generic driver. The original company that
produced the wheel - Thrustmaster, hasn't released an updated driver or
configuration panel for it in quite some time. So, yes...the wheel works, but not
all of the functions like it used to. It's unfortunate to...it was an awesome
Now, some of you might be thinking...well, that's the price of
being a PC gamer. And who knows, maybe it is. But how many of you have
collections of old video games (I know I do)...maybe NES or SNES...Sega or
Dreamcast. Heck, even your original Playstation or Xbox games. Unless you have
the console to go along with it, can you still play those games? No, probably
not (although there has been somewhat of a resurgence in NES and SNES games
ever since some aftermarket devices have been made to play the original games).
And if that console happens to fail and you can't find a replacement, then
what? No product support, that's what. And of those old games, how many
have/had an online component, or how many were online only even and now no
Some manufactures are more compassionate when it comes to
backwards compatibility and include it in their follow on systems; others aren't
as concerned about it. Sometimes I
wonder how important it really is and if I even care whether my new console is
backwards compatible or not. Sometimes figuring out you have to upgrade decades
old technology or need to retire old games and replace them with new can be a
Now, maybe I've missed the big backwards compatibility
discussion regarding the Xbox One and Playstation 4. I don't recall anybody
really talking about it which is a bit odd since it's usually the big issue
anytime a new console is released. From what I've read, neither system is
really offering this feature. Have we finally got to a point where gamers aren't
as concerned about it, or do gamers plan on hanging on to their old systems to
play their old games (hah, I say old and the new isn't even here yet).
So if that's the case - no backwards compatibility in the
PS4 or XB1...how long should Sony and Microsoft support PS3 and Xbox 360 games?
Obviously there is no right or wrong answer...there are probably many answers or
thoughts about it.
How long should a company support its product?
Obviously, most of us would probably choose forever, even
though we know that's not realistic.
Even ten years seems like a stretch to me. The technology
industry evolves at such quick pace, ten years is practically a lifetime. Well,
half that would be five years...which seems far too short. Or maybe I'm looking
at it all wrong. Obviously if there is still an interest and it is profitable,
the company is going to continue supporting it.
World of Warcraft has been around since 2004 and still has a
few million paying players at last count. Of course Blizzard is going to
continue supporting the game as long as it has players paying to play it. But
what about a game like SimCity that bombed shortly after its release due to
technical difficulties. I'm not quite sure where the game stands now...if it's
playable or not...or if it even has a sustainable audience. If not, how long will
Electronic Arts support it? SimCity isn't the Lone Ranger. Look at Diablo III
or The Old Republic - they didn't quite take the industry by storm like the
publishers had hoped...so should they cut their losses and shut it down or
support the handful of people playing the games for x number of years?
Are longevity and backwards compatibility a concern to you?
Do you have old pieces and parts and games lying around that are no longer
supported. Do you care?