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Don Mattrick Says "You're Really Backwards" If You Want Backwards Compatibility

I'm sure we'll all deal with it, Don.

The new Xbox One won’t, like the PlayStation 4, play its predecessor’s games off the bat. And whilst Sony are apparently working with Gaikai on some kind of streaming middle ground, Microsoft are flat out refusing to dabble in getting Xbox 360 games to run on its next-gen console.

Why? Well Microsoft’s Don Mattrick has today explained that he doesn’t see backwards compatibility as a big deal.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, he said that only 5% of customers questionned play older games on a new console, and so didn’t see much point in spending time and money to develop the technology to make it happen.

“If you’re backwards compatible, you’re really backwards,” he said, in a quote that’s set to resonate around the internet tonight.

According to research surveys carried out by Fizziology, 12% of potential customers said they’d be “unhappy if there wasn’t backwards compatibility” – obviously the survey was carried out before last night’s big reveal.

That’s a bit of a shocking quote from Mattrick but it’s related to an interesting point: If only 5% of your fan base cares (according to their own research) then at what point does the expense of developing and manufacturing that capability become prohibitive for the potential gains the company could make?

If it’s likely to cost more than it makes, Microsoft has a duty to its shareholders to shun the idea. That’s how public companies work. Also, as an analyst from Piper Jaffray puts it, this might lead to more potential for profit “as gamers rebuild their entire library for a new console.”

But where does that leave the Xbox “brand” and its duty to its fans? We’re sure there’ll be a big fuss over the language in use here, and the apparent disregard for a set of fans, even if the majority doesn’t want the particular feature being discussed.

  1. jamess109
    Since: Apr 2009

    This is what makes PC superior. I can still play psx, ps2 and even 1990 generation games on my without needing to go back to an old PC to play it. Consoles PAH!!!!

    Comment posted on 23/05/2013 at 13:20.
    • Broonba
      Since: Mar 2009

      Aye, but I bet you a tenner you can’t play all of the PS3’s or Xbox 360’s catalogue of games on it.

      Comment posted on 23/05/2013 at 14:34.
  2. Roynaldo
    Since: Nov 2008

    Strangely this time I’m not overly bothered coz im keeping my ps3 but I would like to have my entertainment system to play all my entertainment.

    Last gen cross I was gutted once my phat broke and couldn’t crank up my favourite ps2 games. 2 years later they started on the hd remake cash cow.

    Comment posted on 23/05/2013 at 16:57.
  3. Root Ginger
    Since: Jan 2010

    Wow, MS really are trying to stuff up their chances with this new console. Although I totally agree with what he probably meant by his comments the way he said them is really going to annoy those who would like the feature.

    Anyone who has tried to use backwards compatibility on the PS2 and PS3 will know it’s not a rewarding experience. Half the games don’t work or have terrible bugs. Far simpler to break out the old console.

    However, backwards compatibility is great for encouraging gamers to purchase the new console (something MS clearly don’t realise). Having backwards compatibility means gamers with the previous console can sell the original one to subsidise the purchase of the new one and still play their old games. If they know they can’t play their old games then it may discourage them from selling it and they may not be able to afford the new one. This equals a loss of sales.

    Comment posted on 24/05/2013 at 12:22.