Why do we still care about Backwards Compatibility?

E3 2015 has come and gone. The big corporations had their pressers, the unwashed masses got to try out the latest wares, and the Los Angeles area is free of game industry marketing reps and journalists, to concentrate on more important things, like not dying of thirst.

Out of all the big press events, Microsoft won, in my humble opinion, by a nose,  by slightly edging out Sony. So congratulations Microsoft, you win the Spieler Dad’s Sicilian Donkey Cart for Best E3 Presser – 2015!

donkey cart
To all the Sony fanatics out there, put your pitchforks and torches down. Sony had the thing won, up into the very end, when Andrew House starting talking about the Playstation Vue and Spotify of all fucking things. That’s an automatic disqualification.

Also, if Andrew House was to get a PhD, he can be called Dr. House, which would be neat.


dr_house

Microsoft had shown so many great things at their press event. Plenty of good looking games, cool looking exclusives titles, a new FANCY controller, and HoloLens, to name just a few. However, the thing that got everyone excited the most was the announcement that the Xbox One will now be backwards compatible with the Xbox 360.

Yay?

Yay?

For reasons that escape me, people deeply about backwards compatibility. On the surface, I can understand why this is a feature that would make sense—games are expensive and it would be nice to continue playing your older titles when a new generation comes around. Personally speaking however, I could care less.  I’ve always been about the new hotness. When a new console is released, I go all in. Sorry last generation, time to take you behind the shed and introduce you to Mr. Shotgun.


oldyeller

I thought we were finally passed the whole backwards compatibility debate. Microsoft released the Xbox One without backwards compatibility while Sony hitched it’s wagon to game streaming, by purchasing Gaikai for $380 million so one can pay through the nose and poorly stream PS3 games on the PS4.

Deep down inside, I can’t help but feel that the Microsoft’s plan to make the Xbox One backwards compatible is an elaborate form of corporate trolling.

...We then light the bag of shit on fire, ring the doorbell, and run.

…We then light the bag of shit on fire, ring the doorbell, and run.

In short, if you bought digital games on the 360, you’ll be able to download them again to your Xbox One, if they’re added to the compatibility list.  The same will apply to disc-based games that are added to the catalog. You just need to insert the disc and download the game. And the best part is that this is all free.

In one fell swoop, Microsoft made Sony’s Playstation Now streaming service look like a $380 million turd. This is quite remarkable, as Microsoft had dug themselves quite the hole after the initial Xbox One launch, but they are slowly starting to pull themselves out.

I doubt that Microsoft will be able to fully recover though, but it sure is fun watching them try. They also did something that I thought no one would be able to do, and that’s make me excited about backwards compatibility.

The one caveat is that not every title released for the Xbox 360 will be backwards compatible. It’s safe to say that many of the hits will be, but what about the niche titles? What about the crap titles?

Microsoft has stated that they are listening to their consumers and have created a site where people can vote on which titles get added in future updates. Not surprisingly, the list currently shows last gen AAA mainstays, with Red Dead Redemption rising to the top.

That’s why I propose that we have a little fun at Microsoft’s expense. I went ahead and did a little research on what is the worst Xbox 360 title ever released and propose that we all vote to have Ride to Hell: Retribution added to the backwards compatibility list.


RtH

Let’s ensure that future generations have the opportunity to play one of the shittiest games ever made. Together, we can do it.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE

Sony Makes Money While You Sleep…

They are also probably eating your lunch out of the office fridge, got your girlfriend pregnant, and your mom secretly likes them better than you. They are like a malevolent clown doll that watches you while you sleep. One day, when you least expect it, it will strike when you are most vulnerable.


Sony, a massive company with a diverse product line competes with other large corporations to become your electronic gadget maker of choice. We all know this as this is nothing new.

You also may know that Sony has invents and manufactures a lot of technology that goes into various doodads. Some of Sony’s tech even goes into products manufactured by their direct competitors. The Blu-Ray player in the Xbox One for example, ensures that Sony gets a taste of the action for every console that Microsoft sells, just like Don “Black Hand” Fanucci from Godfather II.

171-0628094631-godfather-II-don-fannucci-the-black-hand

He just wants to wet his beak.

This is not ground breaking news, but what I do find amazing is just how much revenue Sony brings in by selling components to its competitors. When the Xbox One was first introduced and it became known that it would sport a Blu-Ray drive, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter estimated that Microsoft would have to pay Sony $2 to $3 for every Xbox One sold to license the Blu-Ray drive.

Let’s assume that Microsoft pays Sony just $2.00 per console for the Blu-Ray license. Well that would translate $20 million if Microsoft sold 10 million consoles worldwide since launch, as they claimed back in November 2014. $30 million if Microsoft pays closer to the top end. In the end, it’s probably someplace in the middle, so let’s just say Sony made approximately $25 million from Microsoft since the Xbox One was launched, give or take a couple million. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

Now keep in mind, my math can be completely wrong in terms of how many actually Xbox One consoles were sold. I got my numbers from Wikipedia, which is quoting a Microsoft PR flak, so chances are good that my numbers are completely wrong. At the end of the day, it’s safe to say that Sony making millions off of Xbox One sales.

Sony is not just taking millions from Microsoft however. They also currently have Apple over a barrel. According to the Wall Street Journal and Fortune, “Sony is trying harder than ever to profit from other companies’ innovations, such as the iPhone 6. Each iPhone 6 contains two Sony-made image sensors and related parts, which generate revenue of as much as $20 per phone for Sony, analysts say. Earlier-generation iPhones had one Sony sensor apiece. The ‘selfie’ craze has strengthened Sony’s grip on the market.”

Apple sold 10 million iPhone 6 on its weekend. That’s a $200 million payday for Sony and that figure doesn’t include revenue from all other Apple product that may be using Sony technology, like older iPhones and iPads.

Kaz Hirai, who you may remember as the former of President of Sony Computer Entertainment and is now CEO of Sony stated in an interview with WSJ.com:

“Whether it’s a device that goes into other manufacturers’ products or sometimes our own, if there’s innovation there… That’s something I get excited about.”

I imagine that he was tweaking his nipples when he said that.

Meanwhile, Sony makes its very own smartphones and tablets in the Xperia line, but why even bother when you can just ride on the coat tails of other manufacturers?

And that is a scary thought for me personally. I’m a fan of Sony and a fan of their Playstation brand—especially the exquisite PS4, but what does Sony have to gain when they can make more money being a supplier of technology to other manufactures and letting them take all the risk? This is not a rhetorical question as I would really like to know.

Kaz Hirai in the WSJ.com interview readily admits that this may lead to a pivot for the company as he goes onto say,

“If we’re talking about the organization and our strategies and where we want the company to be next year, two years from now, three years from now, yes, we’re starting to turn the corner.”

Will Sony one day decide to bow out completely from the limelight of high stakes consumer electronics? I can’t say for sure, but we have seen stranger things. Who would have thought that Konami would stop making video games to manage health clubs, open up gourmet cup cake shops, and make slot machines full-time? What if Sony, at their E3 presser announces that they are getting out of the consumer electronics business to sell chips and sensors to Apple? I would imagine that the combined fury of gamers everywhere would tear a rift in the universe.