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Sony: No PS4 backwards compatibility is “nice” point of difference

Earlier this week Microsoft announced it would be bringing backwards compatibility to the Xbox One, but Sony won’t be following suit with the PlayStation 4.

The feature, which allows gamers to play titles from the previous generation console on current-gen systems, simply isn’t a priority for the Japan-based electronics giant.

Speaking to MCV UK about Microsoft’s announcement, PlayStation Europe boss Jim Ryan said: “It was quite a complicated announcement and I’m not sure I fully understand it yet. And I suspect there might be a few twists in that particular tale. But we will see.”

He continued: “It is an entirely legitimate approach, and if you are seeking to upgrade 360 owners to Xbox One, it is a very logical approach to take.”

According to Ryan, Sony decided not to include the feature as it wanted to focus on other software improvements for the PlayStation 4 platform.

Backwards compatibility is a clear point of differentiation, which is good for consumers. To the extent that you are investing in software technology – which is what this is, it’s delivered through software not through hardware – we are trying to commit our resources and put our emphasis on delivering on the promises we made right at the start of this whole PS4 thing, to be the forward-looking, socially-connected console.”

The PlayStation lead described has Sony is “placing [its] bets” on “SharePlay, on things like Play as you Download, and things like Suspend/Resume.”

Ryan claims that backwards compatibility is a clear point of differentiation, which is good for consumers as it improves choice.

“We are just taking two different approaches. Unfortunately, there are just not sufficient software engineers in the world for everyone to do everything. Each platform holder has to make their choices, we made one and they made another,” he explained.

Ryan added: “Their choice is entirely legitimate, and our choice is legitimate, too. In some ways it is quite nice to have points of difference between the two platforms, and people will decide which approach suits them best.”

Related: PS4 vs Xbox One

Backwards compatibility has long been requested as a feature for both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One.

Ryan, however, believes that although gamers are vocal about wanting the feature, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be used enough to warrant development efforts.

“We have experience of backwards compatibility. The earliest PS3 model was backwards compatible with PS2, and it is a much requested feature… but actually it’s not so greatly used,” he revealed.

The Sony boss concluded: “On balance, we are happy with our approach and we don’t wish to be defensive about it at all. As I say, both approaches are legitimate.”

If you’re still struggling to choose between the PS4 and the Xbox One, our video review might be able to help:

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