Home Editorial Dumb reasons to hate the Xbox One: Backwards compatibility

Just days after the official reveal of the Xbox One, the internet is being swarmed with complaints about Microsoft’s newest gaming console. Their problems range in scope – some simply found the presentation to be boring; others don’t really like the name “Xbox One.”

That’s fine. After all, everyone’s got different tastes.

But the Xbox One lambasting doesn’t end there. Instead, gamers are coming out of the woodwork to moan about seemingly every aspect of Microsoft’s new console. Some of their gripes are justified… most of them are completely insane.

This week, I’ll be going through several of the most common Xbox One complaints and explaining why they’re unfounded, unfathomable, and unfit to be taken seriously. I’m not saying there aren’t real reasons to dislike the console… there are, and I’ll get to those eventually. In the meantime, let’s talk about the internet’s lamest reasons to hate the Xbox One.

Xbox One isn’t backwards compatible

By the time the XB1 (or XBO or however you shorten it) is in most peoples’ homes, there will be eight years between that console and the Xbox 360. There has never been a wider console generation gap – in gaming history, some companies went through three or four consoles in the same time period! So it should come as no surprise that the differences between the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One are large enough to warrant dropping this support.

But even if it were technologically feasible to slap Xbox 360 emulation in every new console, it just isn’t worth the effort. Why’s that? Well, it turns out only 5% of console owners play last generation games on their current generation consoles. “B-b-b-b-but I play last gen games all the time,” you interject from the distant past. Well, you might be the exception, but unless you plan to buy 20x more last gen games than you already do, it’s not enough to make up for the costs of incorporating backwards compatibility. The technology is not free, and including a feature that only a tiny fraction of console gamers use will only increase costs for everyone else.

Sure, everyone loves old games. I’m pretty nostalgic about current and last gen titles myself. But most gamers have already beaten their previous favorites a million times ad nauseum, and are looking for something new. They want new experiences that only a more powerful or more innovative console can deliver. If they didn’t, why would they even buy a next gen console? And hey, nobody’s forcing them to throw out or sell their current hardware even if they do take the plunge and buy an Xbox One.

The funny thing is that while many gamers who are revolted by Microsoft’s decision rally to the Playstation 4… it isn’t slated to offer backwards compatibility either! In fact, only the Wii U allows gamers to play previous generation games, and only through an extremely awkward emulation interface. The future is here, kids, and it’s time to decide if you’re coming along for the ride.

If you want infinite backwards compatibility, you simply aren’t going to find it in the field of next generation console gaming. Either deal with the reality of the situation, hold onto your old consoles, or (crazy idea) try your hand at PC gaming, where almost every title works on your current hardware.


14 replies to this post
  1. Backwards compatibility actually doesn’t matter as much, like you said, even though 5% looks small as a number but is pretty big considering how many people own a new gen console and you could argue that those 5% are probably the more “hardcore” gamers who actually get hyped up when a new console is coming and want them to be as amazing as possible, since it basically dictates what they will be playing on for a good ~decade. I also don’t see how the fact that PS4 also won’t have backwards compatibility makes it any better for the new Xbox. Having said that, the whole new Xbox even was a complete joke.

  2. I don’t so much mind that there’s no backwards compatibility, it was that they seemed dickish about putting the fact out there. The whole thing seemed to say, “Hey, if you want backwards compatibility you’re being silly”, and I don’t believe that 5% thing for a second, because if it were only 5% then why would they find the need to address it, since no one would be asking?

    If they’d have said something like “We’d love to include backwards compatibility, but we couldn’t do that and keep the machine cost effective,” then while people still might not have been happy, they would have at least understood and probably accepted it.

    • I do believe the 5% stat, because there are so many people who fall into the 95%:

      • People who bought the current gen console without owning the previous gen console from the same company. i.e. you bought a 360 but never owned an original Xbox
      • Kids who were not alive/playing games during the last console generation
      • Casual gamers who do not even know about backwards compatibility
      • Graphics snobs who will not play old games with outdated visuals
      • People who still own the last gen consoles and prefer using them for any reason

      They have to address it because the 5% is vocal and active on the internet. If they announced “there will NEVER be a Sega game on Xbox One” there would be a vocal reaction from Sega fans, even though Sega games make up a small minority of total games published.

  3. Hey, I like backwards compatibility! Anything that allows me to continue playing Kingdom Hearts, even a 50€ DS ripoff which is basically just the same game, except made worse, and which I never bothered to finish because its gameplay is crap and it’s too Japan, however that is possible with JRPGs. That plus having no free time at all. Why do I even own that game. Oh yeah, too much money.

    Anyhow. I could just barely care less about the argument itself, because as you stated just above this comment, if they really want to use their old games, what is preventing them from just using the old console? Surely you’ll have room for two consoles if you can host one and if it’s too big of an issue for you to have to change a few plugs every time you play, then you sir are a clear example that *Subject home country here* is in dire need of a functioning sports program.

    Really, I can deal with most of the points against CrossCrate Uno, if only because no force in the universe will compel me to buy one. Let’s be honest with ourselves here, was any of that really surprising? Game publishers are getting so paranoid about people not paying full price for their games that they’d rather scare off everybody but the most casual of customers than risk a few used buys. Always-on, used fees which then take the game away from the original owner (seriously? It’s like Tempest in Starcraft 2, nobody ever uses them, but they prevent Broodlord play simply by existing. NO ONE in their right mind will buy used games as it’d cost you more than a new version, so they will make exactly zero money through that fee,) social media tie-in to appeal to the drooling masses of those who have a Facebook account, it all comes towards appealing to those people who will still buy it, who are not the hardcores.

    Calling the XBox “Yet Another” One a multimedia platform would be like somebody who’s had an osteotomy performed on him exactly ten weeks ago. It’s clear where you’re coming from, but in the end, you’re just marketing the damn thing as something which it struggles to be, but just isn’t. For instance, Origin. If I want to do social networking, I can just use Skype or Steam or anything else which does the job infinitely better and less retarded at that. No, I don’t want to use a console for Skyping and watching TV, for that I have a PC and TV respectively, neither of which force me to upload pictures of myself in underwear every day.

    But as I was saying, that’s not really why I dislike Microsoft’s little student child refusing to get a real job. Why I do is because of how their presentation put the facts. Yes, I know, marketing, but I’ve rarely seen an example of taking user-crippling evilness and displaying it as though it were their original idea and something positive, even. Anybody with half a brain could just see through it and hear that they were in truth speaking about Always-On-DRM, even less focus on making the thing play games well, and setting up a road for the government spying on you.

  4. I’m pretty ambivalent about backward compatibility for regular disc-based titles. I got a first-gen PS3 for PS2 backward compatibility, and I use it approximately never. The bigger deal here, in my eyes, is no compatibility for XBLA or PSN titles, which are frequently undemanding hardware-wise. It just seems to indicate that neither Microsoft nor Sony was looking ahead when designing their download-only ecosystems (or worse, they were and want to try to double-dip).

  5. How can we trust the stat “only 5% of console gamers play last generation games” when so many of the current consoles don’t offer backwards compatibility. If they cut backwards compatibility as a feature, then sure, few people are going to go back and hook up their old console. It isn’t just that 95% aren’t wanting to play last gen games. Some portion of that are the people who would be playing some last gen games if they were easily playable without hooking up their old system.
    I can see that Microsoft and Sony don’t want people playing old games when they could be buying new ones, but wouldn’t backwards compatibility encourage early adopters of the systems. From what I’m hearing, lots of people have a back catalogue and aren’t going to pick up a next gen system for a while. But if they could have it now, and continue playing their old games too, I don’t know. With how much they’re spending on developing these systems, is backwards compatibility really that hard?

  6. First of all, I’m not a console person.
    I have a PC and I don’t see a reason why I would want to buy a system that I cannot upgrade myself as time goes by and has a much more inferior control setting (which I can even choose to plug in to said PC for the few games that benefit from it)

    I don’t care for backwards capabilities, but I would tend to agree with WiNG on the dumbness of that particular reason.

    That being said, everything I’ve heard about the XBOX “Original Name Idea” One is just lackluster. These topics make it seem like your are endorsing the XBOX “X being everything but customer-friendly” One, eventhough I would hope that it’s not your ultimate goal.

    Always-On-DRM is bad enough- we had it on PC with many games and as long as you only have to log in once every 24h I can maybe forgive them for that, but the entire idea and marketing scheme being the XBOX “3-times the charme” ONE just seems incredibly disrespectful to customers.

    I’ve heard from many people, both friends and internet personalities that “Microsoft has taken away [their] choice” in the upcoming console war. Eventhough I am not now, nor in the near future planning on owning a console, I can definitively say that if I would want one right now, I would not for a second consider anything but the PS4.

  7. That’s why Steam + xbox controller > all

    Have fun re-buying sonic the hedgehog or w/e the hell you wanna play on the *new* xbox live arcade, kiddos.

  8. “Well, it turns out only 5% of console owners play last generation games on their current generation consoles.”

    This, actually isn’t all that meaningful. As you yourself said, there has been an 8-year gap between generations. What was the figure for playing last generation games in the first year of the current console cycle’s release?

  9. It’s unbelievable how many people are overreacting to the Xbox One. I just don’t get it. I’ve been gaming for almost 30 yrs and I couldn’t be more excited for it to come out. The games are going to be amazing and it offers so much more.

    My 360 and PS3 are always connected anyway, so Im not concerned about the always online. And backwards compatibility is the last thing i care about. Maybe its just that I can afford it and a lot of people that can’t are worried about the used games policy is the big difference.

    I really don’t think its going to be that big of a deal. People love to hate on innovation.

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