Next-gen backwards compatibility

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  • homelessbaby 19 Nov 2012 01:53:24 27 posts
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    So I had a 360 for like 3 months this year (my only other console this gen has been a PSP) and sold it because I didn't wanna play Tekken with that D-pad.

    Then I started thinking about how much I miss Fez and if/when it'll come to other platforms.

    But if it comes to the PS3, will it play on the PS4? There are a lot of rumours about the bespoke architecture of the PS3 being very unlikely/too expensive to go into a PS4.

    On another note, will the Wii U eventually get all the download-only games the other consoles have, like The Walking Dead or Pac-Man DX?
  • Psychotext 19 Nov 2012 01:56:05 54,822 posts
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    No, Yes, Maybe.
  • PenguinJim 19 Nov 2012 02:51:37 5,962 posts
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    Hope it does, assume it won't.
  • PazJohnMitch 19 Nov 2012 07:27:53 8,624 posts
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    A friend of mine that knows far more about computers than me seems to be of the opinion that software emulation of the PS3 and 360 is impossible. The only way to achieve emulation is through hardware emulation.

    To achieve it through hardware requires that the chips in the next generation to be advanced versions of the old ones. (Generally only possible if the same chip manufactures are used). Or for the old chips to be included in the new box like the launch PS3 containing a PS2 board aswell as the PS3 one.

    Given that both Sony and Microsoft seem to have moved to different chip manufactures it is therefore unlikely the next set of consoles will be backward compatible with the current ones for retail games. (Most likely a different story for Xbox Live / PSN games).
  • GiarcYekrub 19 Nov 2012 07:29:41 3,825 posts
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    Here's my thinking, I've a 20Gb 360 model and could really do with a new HDD but I'm making do as I know its a waste of time investing in this model. So if it dies before the Next Xbox I'd get a slim otherwise be a early adopter.

    This is assuming BC and digital content is transferable otherwise I'll stick with the 360 awhile longer and judge each of the new consoles on the 5 game rule(5 games I want before getting HW)
  • Phattso Moderator 19 Nov 2012 07:36:33 13,800 posts
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    Given the prevalence of HD Remixes of last-gen titles in recent years, I'm expecting the same to be the case on the next gen.

    With software tools and middleware having been so much better for the 360/PS3 era it probably won't take anywhere near the same effort to take a codebase and sling it onto the new machines with full HD graphics plus a lick of paint on the shaders, a bump to the poly count, and higher res textures.

    Not sure how many franchises I'd give enough of a fuck about to buy the redux, mind you. Gimme new shizzle.
  • Deleted user 19 November 2012 07:40:47
    Software emulation surely doesn't require versions of the same chip. That's the whole point of software abstraction like Direct X. Surely?
  • PazJohnMitch 19 Nov 2012 07:46:55 8,624 posts
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    bitch_tits_zero_nine wrote:
    Software emulation surely doesn't require versions of the same chip. That's the whole point of software abstraction like Direct X. Surely?
    I am afraid that I cannot explain what my friend said properly. He was ranting that it was impossible because you move the work from one chip to the other. So the CPU ends up doing everything and you GPU twiddles its thumbs or something. (I think software emulation can essentially only use one chip).

    I think the point was the next gen CPU will not be good enough to do everything the CPU and GPU did this gen. And it will actually always be impossible in a single chip due to the heat transfer constraints.
  • Deleted user 19 November 2012 07:52:04
    Fair enough.

    Sort of on the same subject, I have a sneaking suspicion that the memorable arcade and indie games will age better than the blockbusters tbh.

    I can't imagine anybody getting excited about playing a SUPER HD version of Call Of Duty World At War like they do about the HD versions of Metal Gear etc.
  • Phattso Moderator 19 Nov 2012 08:00:57 13,800 posts
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    Software emulation isn't a trivial thing - the games will have been custom built to exploit features of a radically different architecture. Code that runs beautifully on a PS3, thanks to SPU utilisation for example, will run like a sick dog on a current PC desktop CPU because it has no equivalent.

    Direct X is there to abstract the visual side of things - but that's already massively modular and easy to port or upgrade. But a game is more than a rendering engine. A lot more. The only reason the 360 was able to do it (badly) was because the CPU in the original XBOX wasn't anything special. :) PS3 needed to have one of the two PS2 custom chips actually embedded on the board.


    Totally agree with you on the arcade/indie style games though. Higher resolutions, smoother framerates, lovely jubbly. It's also possible that Microsoft and Sony could take a leaf out of Steam's book: if developers provide a version of an older title then it can unlock on the newer hardware and also open up to a new potential audience that never played it before.

    Worked on me when I moved to Mac from Windows PCs for my main computers: any Steamworks game gets serious consideration. :)
  • Deleted user 19 November 2012 08:10:49
    sounds bonafide
  • Deleted user 19 November 2012 11:11:50
    The Cell BE already had a software simulator(Cell SDK) for x86_64 before this generation even started, and the RSX is just a OpenGL ES version of a workstation class GPU. Provided the CPU emulating the Cell BE used a ringbus northbridge (as is the Cell's EiB) it will all just work fine if quick enough.

    But even my brand new overclocked Intel LGA2011 Core i7-3820 is rubbish for complex multimedia transcoding(Fourier analysis), physics, particle fx, ray-tracing compared to a Cell BE. So the likelihood that Sony will abandon the valuable R&D of the Cell BE is unlikely. Especially as they bought back the fabrication plant totally from Toshiba last year for half a billion dollars, and they and IBM did tests on a Cell BE 2 a few years ago. Most likely planning ahead for next-gen.

    Rumours surrounding other companies getting the contract is most likely market share price manipulation, as the share price of chip companies such as Intel, AMD, IBM, Nvidia, Toshiba etc, will all see a little bit of movement when it is officially confirmed who won the contracts for CPU and GPU in the PS4, 720.
  • Deleted user 19 November 2012 11:15:15
    These companies have to be looking at Apple and the way they tie you into their hardware through universality of software. It makes sense.

    Steam is the model most applicable really. Whatever PC I get I get all my games that I bought through Steam, and they keep updating the games to work. If MS adopted that model, it would give me a huge reason to stick with them for the next gen.
  • Syrette 19 Nov 2012 19:12:40 44,101 posts
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    homelessbaby wrote:
    So I had a 360 for like 3 months this year (my only other console this gen has been a PSP) and sold it because I didn't wanna play Tekken with that D-pad.
    Really?

    Did you not consider the 'new' controller? http://www.amazon.co.uk/Xbox-Wireless-Controller-Play-Charge/dp/B004JF66LO/ref=sr_1_5?s=videogames&ie=UTF8&qid=1353352296&sr=1-5

    Edited by Syrette at 19:24:23 19-11-2012

  • Deleted user 19 November 2012 19:15:42
    Still dogshit for fighting games tbh
  • Deleted user 19 November 2012 19:18:52
    So you sell your only console because you couldn't play tekken properly? Wow, must really like tekken.
  • Deleted user 19 November 2012 19:20:09
    if he was that bothered the street fighter stick is great
  • Dirtbox 19 Nov 2012 19:29:27 78,895 posts
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    PazJohnMitch wrote:
    A friend of mine that knows far more about computers than me seems to be of the opinion that software emulation of the PS3 and 360 is impossible. The only way to achieve emulation is through hardware emulation.

    To achieve it through hardware requires that the chips in the next generation to be advanced versions of the old ones. (Generally only possible if the same chip manufactures are used). Or for the old chips to be included in the new box like the launch PS3 containing a PS2 board aswell as the PS3 one.

    Given that both Sony and Microsoft seem to have moved to different chip manufactures it is therefore unlikely the next set of consoles will be backward compatible with the current ones for retail games. (Most likely a different story for Xbox Live / PSN games).
    It's currently impossible, but with CPU and hardware virtualisation improving, as well as leaps in speed it shouldn't be hard, and it's not as if they have to reverse engineer the hardware from scratch like they do for PC emulators either, they know the hardware well enough to have a workable solution for the coming gen.

    We've had this thread before within the last couple of years.

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  • Deleted user 19 November 2012 20:39:16
    Dirtbox wrote:
    it shouldn't be hard, and it's not as if they have to reverse engineer the hardware from scratch like they do for PC emulators either, they know the hardware well enough to have a workable solution for the coming gen.
    To be fair, this was the argument leveled at this gen too, and original Xbox/PS2 backwards compatibility through software emulation has been utterly dire. But yeah, I'd be surprised if they make the same mistakes this time around.
  • Deleted user 19 November 2012 20:45:44
    I would expect at least Sony to offer it through onlive (or whichever one it is they bought) rather than bother with any hardware solution.
  • Dirtbox 19 Nov 2012 20:50:15 78,895 posts
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    I sort of doubt Sony do any bc after their removing it for security reasons last time around.

    Edited by Dirtbox at 20:50:51 19-11-2012

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  • Deleted user 19 November 2012 20:52:38
    Did they remove it for security reasons? I thought it was just because they're cheap bastards. But then again I gave up watching PS3 hardware developments after getting rid of mine a month after purchase.

    Edited by meme at 20:53:00 19-11-2012
  • gelf 20 Nov 2012 11:06:34 188 posts
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    kalel wrote:
    These companies have to be looking at Apple and the way they tie you into their hardware through universality of software. It makes sense.

    Steam is the model most applicable really. Whatever PC I get I get all my games that I bought through Steam, and they keep updating the games to work. If MS adopted that model, it would give me a huge reason to stick with them for the next gen.
    I've usually been a console gamer but the service of things like steam and GOG has moved me to the PC mostly. If I have a choice now I'll get the PC version even if I have to wait for it. Backwards compatability is important to me and there's nothing more back compatible then a PC. With a little effort almost any game from the last 20 years can be made to run.

    The previous gen still is the best one to me so I really missed not being able to play them again without digging out an old console. In those days a lot less of them got PC versions too, the markets where more distinct.
  • JinTypeNoir 20 Nov 2012 13:01:33 4,392 posts
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    So if I'm understanding things correctly, currently it seems like the issues PazJohnMitch's friend mentions or something similar is a potential road block for backwards compatibility. I wonder though, how feasible is it that Sony or Microsoft could be working on a solution that we just don't know of yet right now? I mean, reasonably possible, or really, really doubtful? I suppose a lot of it would have to do with how much they are prioritizing the feature...
  • Deleted user 20 November 2012 13:06:37
    I think that if it's low on their list of priorities then it's less likely it'll happen.
  • crashVoodoo 20 Nov 2012 13:21:22 3,979 posts
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    surely MS will have given all this some thought. if you've got this whole 'live' account with on-demand, xbla and dlc content tied to it surely there will be more than a few people getting pissy that none of this will be playable anymore. I know you could just keep the old console but they don't live forever.

    i don't confess to know anything about this kind of shit anymore but wasn't this the whole reason for the direct-x layer in the first place?

    so long as the hardware conforms to DX then games will work. Also, I'm sure I remember something about a mandatory MS requirement for all devs to code to this layer and not to the 'metal' and the speculation was to ensure BC for the next console.

    wow, i even found the article and its an EG one at that ... Is directX throttling Xbox 360 Performance?

    /waffles

    Edited by crashVoodoo at 13:31:30 20-11-2012

    a Nexus a day keeps the apple away

  • Psychotext 20 Nov 2012 13:33:14 54,822 posts
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    vizzini wrote:
    So the likelihood that Sony will abandon the valuable R&D of the Cell BE is unlikely. Especially as they bought back the fabrication plant totally from Toshiba last year for half a billion dollars, and they and IBM did tests on a Cell BE 2 a few years ago. Most likely planning ahead for next-gen.
    Right now everything is pointing towards Sony using an AMD solution. Cell is dead.

    Some good investigation here: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=498008
  • Deleted user 20 November 2012 13:36:09
    Yeah I read they were ditching it for off the shelf components.
  • homelessbaby 20 Nov 2012 13:42:43 27 posts
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    @Syrette @bitch_tits_zero_nine @revan8 The only fighting game I play is Tekken. I'm not one for fightsticks, and it's kinda made for the Playstation controller.

    I did enjoy the Xbox controller for Skate, though. And it's a better weight than the Dualshock 3.

    Anyway, this all sounds very dicey. I guess the approach to take would be I can always play digital games on the console I bought them on and backwards-compatibility is a luxury. Still, it'd be cool.

    Also after all of this beating around the bush I might just end up getting a Vita. It would feel weird to spend 200 on a 6-year old console. The Xbox at least was a 125 4gb with no mandatory installs.
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