Don Mattrick is the One Who is "Backwards" - Will Sora Layton Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Don Mattrick is the One Who is "Backwards"

In the recent reveal of Microsoft's controversial new console, the Xbox One, we've learned several surprising new facts about it, and have seen some questionable comments from Microsoft concerning some new policies they are implementing. The one that has struck me most appeared this morning, from Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business Don Mattrick: "If you're backwards compatible, you're really backwards." Excuse me?

No softening the blow now; you have spoken, and the backlash WILL commence.

Following this statement in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mattrick said that Microsoft believed that 5% of people who bought a new console would play titles from the previous console on it, which is why it would be "backwards" to include backwards compatibility. From the comments I've already seen in places on the internet, as well as my own personal feelings...I know that I want backwards compatibility with the previous generation on a new system. I have seen people even complain about how Wii U cannot support Gamecube discs.

There are several reasons that backwards compatibility should be included in a new console, which I plan to discuss today, because Mattrick's comment has irked me and has had me thinking for most of the day. Also, I plan to look at what this says about the connection between console developers and their consumers; that will be toward the end. Even though Sony has also said they won't allow backwards compatibility with the PS4, I'll be mainly focusing on the connection with Microsoft, especially since Sony didn't act in such a rude manneron the subject and just put it bluntly for us, and also talked about offering previous titles through a PSN service.

First, including backwards compatibility doesn't need to only be about letting the consumer play those games: I think it can also be associated with a sort of mentality that the console manufacturers have. This comment from Mattrick seems to say that we, as gamers, do not care about things that were released before, and only look to buy more and more new games, instead of also revisiting old titles, as well as picking up used copies of old titles to give them a try. For example, I picked up a PS2 in order to play Kingdom Hearts, but I also bought OverBlood and Metal Gear Solid from the PS1 era to play on it. Anyway, I feel that a lot of us DO pick up old games to try them out, as well as pop in old ones to revisit them, and perhaps compare them to newer titles. Mattrick's statement ignores this fact, and makes it seem like Microsoft doesn't appreciate what it's done before, and only seeks to move forward. What if I wanted to compare Alan Wake to Quantic Break, or Halo 4 to the eventual 5 on One? Well, looks like I can't, unless I replug in the 360 again.

Yay, ONE console for everything!...except that stack of games over there that don't work...

That last statement is a reason why Xbox One specifically SHOULD have backwards compatibility-your whole main goal with this console is to create one convenient entertainment center, without the need to go anywhere else-except, well, I have to go somewhere else to play the games on the preceding system, unless I buy them again on your console. It seems so counter-intuitive to me, that their actual goal to create this one box for everything will be hindered because most people will push it aside and plug in their old console in order to play a game they loved, and not using the One's functionality while doing so. Sure, Wii U may not do this, but Nintendo has addressed they're working towards having Wii games running better on the system-Microsoft has flat out stopped me from using the Live TV functionality while I play an old game I felt like playing, because I'll have to drag another console out of the closet.

Like it or not, but at least Nintendo did it. OMG, IT'S HEROPON RIKI!

Besides just us wanting to play old games, a reasonable goal of Microsoft's "One" vision, and about showing how much Microsoft cares about the past, I think it's also just a bad business strategy. Even if it may seem stupid to not buy a console because it can't play old games, there definitely are people who decide their purchases based on this, and I myself have pretty much decided to not buy an Xbox One, though this is only a factor, and the main reason being that it seems it won't have enough games to make me play if enough, like 360 was this generation. In any case-I very much doubt that it would significantly raise the One's price to include backwards compatibility...or to even include digital transfer, as both Sony and Microsoft have confirmed that they won't have a transfer of previously owned titles on a system, like Nintendo has had with the Wii to Wii U transfer(all those strong little Pikmin).

So, moving on to that connection aspect-I guess I kind of already talked about that in the first reason, but I'll go a bit more in depth here: Mattrick seems to think we, as gamers, only care about the next big thing, and only want new things; otherwise, they'd include backwards compatibility, so we can relive old memories. On the contrary to what he thinks, we gamers actually care very much about it, demonstrated by the recent success of HD collections, and remakes of titles like Ocarina of Time in 3D and Halo: Combat Evolved in Halo: Reach's engine. We like to still go back to the past, especially because we invest a lot of money in our hobby. All those 360 games you bought? Only 10 would be $600 worth of product you can't use on Microsoft's new baby, not including any DLC, or downloadable titles you bought. It's that simple-their is a fundamental disconnect between us and the console manufacturers. Though Nintendo has satisfied this connection, they are missing in some other areas, but that's not for this blog-it's simply a problem with the two spec-powerhouses.

Another thing is that Microsoft and Sony haven't seem to have thought things completely through-what about when people trade in their consoles for a discount to the new ones? There is no doubt this will occur, with special offers from GameStop and other locales. Some people will jump on these deals, and will regret the decision later; I know I would, if I suddenly wanted to play Dead Space 3 on my One, found I couldn't use my disc, and had to purchase it again digitally for my new system. they really need to get into our heads, of the wants and motivations of gamers, instead of consumers in general, because we are their primary audience. At the moment, at least. Sony, I doubt they'll ever go this way, because they've shown their commitment to providing new games, as well as Nintendo. Microsoft though? That is questionable.

Well, there, that's the rant I wanted to give today. Don Mattrick's comment is out of touch with the world of gaming at large, and suggest a fundamental barrier between us and console manufacturers. It also represents how little Microsoft seems to have considered the idea, since it makes so much sense to put out all those 5 great exclusives over the past 6 years (I jest, I jest) playable on their new system that can do all this wonderful stuff, so we have the best console ever, according to them. Instead, for me...PS4U. I'm starting that now.

Well excuuuuuuse me Mattrick, but your comment reveals how backwards you are.

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