Sony’s global sales chief, Jim Ryan, was one of the individuals interviewed by Time to talk about the PlayStation brand, the devices, sales data and backwards compatibility.
According to Ryan…
“When we’ve dabbled with backwards compatibility, I can say it is one of those features that is much requested, but not actually used much,” […] “That, and I was at a Gran Turismo event recently where they had PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 games, and the PS1 and the PS2 games, they looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?”
Stats? Data? Numbers? Anything to back this claim up?
Only someone who doesn’t play video games would question why real gamers would want to go back and play PSX and PS2 titles.
Besides that, the only real backwards compatibility Sony tried that wasn’t re-releasing remasters for the PlayStation 4 was PlayStation Now. Remasters like The Last of Us seemed to do well on the PS4, moving 1.5 million copies according to Gamepur. And while the Nathan Drake Collection – consisting of the PS3’s trilogy of titles – got off to a rocky start when it first came onto the market, the sales soared by almost 1000% during Black Friday, according to PSU. Obviously people don’t mind paying to play older games on newer hardware.
Even Niko analyst Daniel Ahmad felt Ryan’s comments were misplaced, noting on Twitter that backwards compatibility was a good opportunity for publishers.
Not a fan of that statement.
Backwards compatibility has done well on XB1 and even on PS3 (& PS2 on PS4)
Good opportunity for publishers. https://t.co/MaXk3Y4Qy6
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) June 5, 2017
In fact, it’s not just a good opportunity but a strong sales drive for certain games made backwards compatible on newer systems.
Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption saw a 6000% sales surge when it was made available for backwards compatibility on the Xbox One, as reported by Xbox Achievements. The announcement of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 being made available on the Xbox One as a backwards compatible title also shot it up instantly as one of the best-selling games for a short while on Amazon, with plenty of gamers rushing out to get a physical copy of the title, as reported by Express.co.uk.
Right now Microsoft has seen a big upsurge in respect and interest in Xbox after they made the Xbox One’s backwards compatibility a thing. For Ryan to brush off the feature like that shows a great deal of ignorance, especially considering that the numbers say that there is certainly strong interest in backwards compatibility, even more-so than some newer games.
As always, the numbers don’t lie.
The PS3’s backwards compatibility with PS2 titles was also quite popular, and the same applied for being able to play PS1 games on the PS2 thanks to backwards compatibility.
One of the biggest stigmas Sony has facing the PS4 is that a lot of gamers call it the “IndieStation 4” because a large portion of its library consists of ported over indie PC games. Backwards compatibility can sometimes help offset the software drought by allowing gamers to play older titles on their newer system. For the PS4 you only have the option of remasters (and re-buying games you may already own) or paying to stream the games through expensive services like PlayStation Now.
Given that Sony is the market leader in the home console space at the moment, they can afford to show their hubris by making crass statements about some of their own products. Personally, I still like PSX and PS2 games not because of their graphics but because they’re fun. It’s a lot more than I can say for the lack of quality fun and entertainment available from the PS4’s current library of games.
Besides, Gran Turismo 2 still has one of the best intros of any racing game ever, especially thanks to The Cardigans’ “My Favorite Game”.