“As a practical matter, it really doesn’t matter,” says Take-Two CEO of next-gen’s backwards compatibility

By Sherif Saed, Tuesday, 18 June 2019 13:33 GMT

The ability for the upcoming generation of consoles to be backwards compatible with the existing library of games has been widely lauded as a great addition, but not everyone sees its value.

Both Microsoft and Sony have confirmed that their next consoles will embrace backwards compatibility. Though specifics likely won’t be revealed until closer to launch late next year, the idea is bound to make jumping into a new generation much easier.

In fact, Sony is hoping backwards compatibility will smooth the transition for the millions of players who currently own and play on PS4.

Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick, however, isn’t very convinced of its effect. “I don’t see it as having much impact,” Zelnick told Games Industry.

“But if it were to have an impact, it would be net positive as a marketing matter. As a practical matter, it really doesn’t matter. It’s not relevant.”

This could explain why Take-Two’s back catalogue doesn’t see re-releases often, or even full-on remasters or remakes. Much like Sony’s Jim Ryan had at one point, Zelnick doesn’t believe many today want to play these classic games.

“I think it’s challenging, except for people who are real historians of the business, to go back and play a PS2 title,” he said. “It’s a unique animal. It’s not what most players are looking for.”

“I mean, should we make that available? Sure. Will we eventually, when there’s a whole bunch of platforms for which you can easily develop or port? It seems to me we probably will, in the same way a whole bunch of old black and white movies were colorized at one point, or you can find old movies really easily now because of all the streaming services that exist and you couldn’t find them anywhere near as easily 20 years ago.

“But on the other hand, unless you’re a film buff in the extreme, how many arcane old movies are you watching?”

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