Playstation 4 (Orbis) won’t be backwards compatible or play used games

Wednesday, gaming website Kotaku posted a story about the upcoming Playstation 4 (Orbis) not being backwards compatible or playing used games.  However, don’t get too upset about Sony’s possible anti-consumer strategy.  Considering that according to their source, the Orbis and for that matter, the new Xbox (Durango) are not due to be released for over a year, a good portion of what is planned now is subject to change.

Paul Raines, CEO of used games retailer, Gamestop which has a couple hundred locations in the Los Angeles area and nearly 6,000 stores nationwide, dismissed used game blocking in the most recent Quarterly earnings call.  As much as publishers like to trash talk the used video game market, Gamestop is the top new games retailer and as such has a fairly close relationship with those same publishers, developers and console makers.

The lack of backwards compatibility for the Playstation Orbis much more likely and while this bound to upset many, the truth is, people don’t buy a four or five hundred dollar console to play old games.  Backwards compatibility is really a crutch for console makers and is used to help mask a lack of adequate launch titles.  When console makers can say there are thousands of titles playable on a new system but only a handful of new titles, that’s not good news for new console buyers.  It’s much better for everyone to move the industry forward.

Sony started backwards compatibility with the Playstation 2, prior to that consoles weren’t backwards compatible at all.  Here in Los Angeles, the number of classic video games stores has consolidated drastically over the last 15 years and this is, mostly due to lack of demand.  RPG fans in particular are most likely to vocally oppose this return to a lack of legacy support but, it’s arguable they are the most maligned by a lack of innovation in gaming.

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