So by now I'm sure you've all have seen the new about the Playstation 4, with its PC-like gubbins, Dual Shock 4 controller and all its other bits and bobs.
And while for the most part everyone is looking forward to the arrival of a new next generation console Sony do have a slight problem to contend with.
Sony confirmed during the conference that the Playstation 4 was not 'natively' backwards compatible, meaning it won't play your current games. They did however state that they hope to release every PSOne, PS2 and PS3 games online to be purchased and downloaded digitally. No word on if owning the original counts towards a free download however I'd feel you'd have to be very realistic to think you'll be able to download the digital version for free. PSN titles, such as Journey and The Unfinished Swan will also be unavailable to play on your shiny new console, at least not on day one (again, Sony are looking to bringing these titles over to the 'new PSN').
Do I feel a lack of backwards compatibility is a major issue? No, not really. I want to play brand new games on my new console, and to be honest I'll probably try and hang on to my Playstation 3 anyway. While its nice to have the option to play your favourite titles from the current generation on your new piece of hardware for me I don't feel as its a much needed feature. Also the specifications have changed an awful lot between the Playstation 3 and 4, and although I'm no technical specs expert from what I've heard and read it would have involved more components within the machine to play PS3 games as well as extra bits of software. This would have all been added onto the retail price of the console.
Since the conference I've spoken to various gamers while at work and during an indie game event I got to attend last night. While the 'hardcore' crowd were not genuinely worried about the lack of backwards compatibility a large percent of those I did speak to were very unimpressed.
Again, a few of those unimpressed consumers who were predominantly Playstation 3 gamers admitted that if Microsoft's new console was backwards compatible that they'd choose the new Xbox over the new Playstation. A strong statement considering we know very little about the new Xbox yet. New games are expensive, so I can sort of understand why many would want to fall back on older games while bridging gaps between new releases.
Sony have been here before though, lets not forget while the original 60GB PS3 did play PS2 games that the many models that have come since do not. While a large number of people were unhappy with the features removal it hasn't stopped the PS3 from becoming a moderate success. How many more consoles would they have sold if the feature had stayed? Who knows, but I strongly feel it wouldn't have affected sales that considerably.
The pressure certainly is on for Microsoft. I doubt the Playstation conference would have affected their plans for the new Xbox that much as these things take years to develop, but they'll have trawled through the many comments and reactions based around Sony's offering.
To finish, I wouldn't be too worried about backwards compatibility. It would have been nice yes, but not really required.
Now the supposed blocking on used games, that is something that could spoil the next generation party.