Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Sony, why should I have to rebuy my PS2 games?
As PS3 fans rejoice over the upcoming re-release of hit PS2 titles in HD, (Thanks, IGN) as a longtime PlayStation and PlayStation 2 fan, I am just SMH at this move.
For years, Sony set the standard for home console gaming. There was no doubt the PlayStation set the stage. The PlayStation 2 picked up right where the original PS left off. My money was on the PlayStation 3 holding the crown for a record-third generation. The original Xbox lost more money than some third-world country's GDP. The Nintendo Gamecube was a hoot, but didn't really stand a chance against the Sony juggernaut.
This generation seemed like it was going to play out the same way. Microsoft, eager to head Sony off at the pass, pushed the 360 out the stable, knowing full well that RROD was glowing hot on the horizon. They had no choice - they had to get out of the gate FIRST or risk losing this generation. Nintendo was content with their Revolution - they didn't care about graphics, but focused on nongamers embracing their console. It seemed, the video game console crown was Sony's to lose.
Sony had built up a loyal following behind their PlayStation brand. Sony had wooed Rockstar Games into letting their babies, "GTA III," "Vice City" and "San Andreas" stay exclusive to their console. They made unknown franchises (SOCOM, God of War and The Getaway, among others) into hits on the PS. And now, heading into the third gen, Sony could do no wrong.
Then, storm clouds appeared on the horizon. Microsoft's console had some halfway decent launch titles. The graphics weren't bad - and "Call of Duty 2" was a runaway success. Xbox LIVE was ... better ... than LIVE on the Xbox. And gasp - Microsoft took a page out of Sony's book and offered Xbox 360 owners with hard drives the ability to play SOME original Xbox games.
Yet, Sony fans, waiting patiently for the PS3, knew their favorite would come out swinging. Why would they expect anything less? Look at what Sony was offering - a device, built on a Blu Ray player, chockful of cool features, like built-in wireless, Bluetooth and the ability to swap out your hard drive and even install your own OS. And most of all, it was a PlayStation - and you can play all of your Playstation, PlayStation 2 and PS3 games on the box.
Even Phil Harrison, departed Sony exec, said in his now-infamous interview with Gamepro.
...On Backwards Compatibility
[The PS3 will have] almost perfect backwards compatibility. There will be some exceptions, but we believe those will be even less than we saw from PSOne to PS2.
"Backwards compatibility, as you know from PlayStation One and PlayStation 2, is a core value of what we believe we should offer. And access to the library of content people have created, bought for themselves, and accumulated over the years is necessary to create a format. PlayStation is a format meaning that it transcends many devices -- PSOne, PS2, and now PS3."
"If the developer wrote the game according to our technical requirements checklist, we will have what we believe will be almost perfect backwards compatibility. There will be some exceptions, there always are, but we believe those will be very few and far between. Even less so than we saw from PSOne to PS2."
Enters M4dSki11z's addition ... Wait, he said WAT? PlayStation is a format meaning that it transcends many devices? So, let me see if I can explain this better than Sony can. Let's say you are in California, Bay Area, and hungry. You reach out for a burger - you head to In-N-Out Burger and get a Double-Double, fries and a vanilla shake. It tastes bueno. You visit a friend in Flagstaff and get hungry again. So, you reach out for a burger. You hit up In-N-Out Burger and get another Double-Double, fries and vanilla shake. You head to Tucson ... get hungry again ... and head to In-N-Out Burger. You get my point? You should pretty much get the same burger and the taste should be just as good as the first Double-Double. There's no difference - same ingredients, same result. I should never order a Double-Double and it tastes like a Double Down from KFC. That would ruin a brand for me. You call a feature like being able to play games from a previous generation on your console a core value and then walk away from it. That's ok if you have a bunch of fans with ADHD or the memory span of Dory in "Finding Nemo."
And to laugh at a competitor's attempt at your core value ...
...On Microsoft's Difficulties with Xbox 360 Backward Compatibility
"I don't believe that was backwards compatibility."
That's just funny. And right there, in virtual print.
Sony eventually did away with backwards compatibility due to cost, or so they said. Rabid Sony fanboys said there was no need to have the feature - just buy another PS2 if you wanted to play your old games. So, a system with one of the largest back libraries in history and you turn your back on it? And folks were shouting 'Buy another system' instead of confronting the mighty Sony and asking them to return to their core value - what made the PlayStation brand shine. The ability to play your PlayStation games on your PlayStation.
Forget for a minute how Sony pimped the PlayStation brand to shove Blu Ray down our throats, still ticked having lost the BetaMax fight to lowly VHS. No, they were determined not to let HD-DVD have this fight. They pushed so hard, they opted to push the PS3 as a Blu Ray player that plays games and even have ads to back that idea up.
Forget all of that. Blu Ray won, hands down, slamming the door shut on HD-DVD's attempt to gain the living room. The PS3's gaming was definitely solid - with games like "Uncharted," "Uncharted 2," "Little Big Planet" and "Kill Zone 2" wowing reviewers. There was no denying the PS3 has awesome gaming - but when you stack it against the clearly superior PS2 experience, it's so lacking. There were few exclusives to make a person on the fence go out and plop down $599 at the time for a PS3. Sony was so sure folks would buy a PS3 that they'd get a second job to pay for one.
So, with things settling down, the Wii a runaway success, the 360 holding off the PS3 nearly five years later, Sony is in search of answers. They need funds - so they opt to offer a game rental service where you get *free games* as long as you subscribe to the service, and then released the "God of War HD" remix for consumers. And folks took it hook, line and sinker. Do WAT?
So, Sony removed a core value. Fanboys saying 'Buy another PS2 if you want to play PS2 games.' And now, after shelling out thousands for tons of PS2 games, Sony pulls this stunt. They tried that with the PSP-Go. They expected gamers to rebuy games they had purchased on their PSPs - and not saying anything. Ha.
Sony, I have been gaming for a long time. I enjoy my PS3 and enjoy the awesome gaming experience. I am fortunate enough to have snagged a 20gb PS3 with full BC. I feel for the folks who don't care a thing about rebuying games they had on their PS2s. It's their money, right? Well, convince me why I should rebuy my games. I am in too deep this gen to let my PlayStation 3 go. I will get a Slim when my 20gb YODDLES. However, I won't get HD remakes, nor will I buy a PS2 to play my old PS2 games. I'll just pass them off to my nephews or craigslist.
Sony, you never cease to amaze me.
UPDATE: Have no fear - the 360 Slim will still play some Xbox original games. According to my MS rep, "Any games that were backwards compatible with the original Xbox 360 will continue to be compatible with the newly designed Xbox 360."
"With the exception of the Xbox 360 Hard Drive and Memory Units," the MS rep said, "all accessories are backward compatible allowing you to continue using the ones you currently own now."
Great! So, if and when I get a Slim, at least I know my two HD-DVD players won't just fade into the great beyond. I wonder if USB thumb drives are supported because I currently have my profile on a memory card that I switch between consoles.
So, while Sony continues to milk the PS2 and its games to no end, at least Nintendo (full Gamecube BC, ftw) and MS are still showing love to gamers with backwards compatibility. Thank you much.