As Sony plans for the future of the PlayStation 4, gamers who are hoping that the console would also look back to its past may finally have to give up their dreams.
Gamers have long clamored for PlayStation 4 backward compatibility. However, a controversial comment made by a Sony executive might mean that such a feature will never arrive for the console.
Sony Exec's Controversial Comment On Old Games
In an interview with Time, Sony's global game development chief Shawn Layden and global sales head Jim Ryan discussed the success of the PlayStation, with nearly 60 million PlayStation 4 units sold since its November 2013 launch and more than 1 million PlayStation VR headsets purchased since its October 2016 release.
One of the topics that was discussed in the interview is backward compatibility for the PlayStation 4 so that gamers will be able to relive the titles of the original PlayStation and PlayStation 2. According to Ryan, the feature is much requested, but it is not actually used much.
Ryan then launched a controversial remark regarding the topic. He said that during a recent Gran Turismo event that showcased all the games of the racing franchise since the original PlayStation, he thought that the PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2 games looked "ancient."
"Why would anybody play this?" Ryan said.
No Hope For PlayStation 4 Backward Compatibility?
When Sony and Microsoft released their current-generation consoles in 2013, both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One did not come with a backward compatibility feature. Microsoft, however, has slowly started adding to a growing backward-compatible library for the Xbox One after the feature was announced at E3 2015. Sony, meanwhile, has remained evasive about the feature.
Ryan may be right on the fact that adding backward compatibility to the PlayStation 4 so that it can play old PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2 discs will not be a good investment for Sony. However, he widely missed the mark on his "why would anybody play this?" comment.
Examples of "ancient" games generating hype among modern gamers include Red Dead Redemption and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, which saw sales surge when they became available to the Xbox One's backward compatibility feature. In addition, one of the most highly anticipated feature of the Nintendo Switch is the Classic Game Selection, which will allow players to fire up old classics. There is also the heavily demanded NES Classic Edition, which sold 2.3 million units before it was discontinued.
The basis of Ryan's comments that backward compatibility is not used much is also unclear. He may have based it on the performance of the PlayStation Now service, which has struggled not because of the low demand for previous-generation games, but due to its high price tag and the lack of options in its library.
Given Ryan's remarks, it seems that Sony is not interested in adding backward compatibility for the PlayStation 4. Gamers will instead have to wait for developers to remaster and remake old titles, such as Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy and the Final Fantasy VII Remake, so that they can relive the nostalgia on their PlayStation 4.