The next generation of console gaming is almost upon gamers everywhere, with both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 scheduled to hit store shelves this month. Along with these new systems comes a myriad of next-generation software and exclusives, many of which are highly anticipated by consumers, but there’s still a desire amongst fans — especially in the beginning of every console transition — to play software for current generation platforms (i.e. the Xbox 360 and PS3) on their shiny new systems.
Sony has already confirmed plans to offer players access to its back catalogue on PS4 via the in-development streaming service Gaikai, which lead many to believe that Microsoft may do something similar on Xbox One’s Cloud. While Microsoft won’t rule out the possibility of streaming Xbox and 360 games to the Xbox One at some point, Microsoft’s Albert Penello stated in a recent interview with Polygon that cloud-based backwards compatibility would be “really problematic.”
“It’s really cool and really problematic, all at the same time, insofar as it’s really super cool if you happen to have the world’s most awesome internet connection. It works way better than you’d expect it to. So managing quality of service, the tolerance people will have for it being crappy. Can you imagine, in this day and age, with the bad information around, and we can’t control the quality of that experience and make sure it’s good, or have to tell people they can’t do it?”
Despite the challenges that come with creating a streaming service, Penello took the opportunity to elaborate more on the internal demo that featured Halo 4 running on PCs and tablets via Microsoft’s Cloud. According to the Microsoft employee, this was more of an “experiment” than anything concrete and followed up by clarifying that the network just isn’t up to par yet — suggesting that once faster Internet and system updates were made available to more Xbox One users that it would then become more realistic to introduce a streaming option for Xbox titles.
“It was a grand experiment, I know we did a lot of work behind it, and we said this is one of the things where the network just has to get better before we can do it. When that happens, you’re going to have a really interesting conversation around that, can I actually run Xbox One games that way as well.”
Penello even touched on Sony’s Gaikai after his comments, claiming that he was “really interested” to see how the rival company would tackle issues with streaming games.
“I’ll be really interested to see how our friends in the Bay Area [at PlayStation] deal with this problem. But I can tell you, it’s totally possible. We like it, we’re fans of the cloud. We’re not shy about that.”
The streaming of games will without a doubt take a more prominent role at some point in the next generation of consoles, but there are some issues with the current lack of speedy Internet connections on a global scale. Gaikai still remains largely unproven, but Penello at least sounds excited to see how the service will work on PlayStation 4 when it releases on the system.
If Gaikai is a massive success it would not only benefit PS4 owners but gamers of all preferences, and there are few players who don’t enjoy going back to play older games. This may hold especially true for Marcus Fenix fans since it looks like a new Gears of War game won’t be coming anytime soon.
Do you think backwards compatibility is necessary for next-gen consoles, Ranters? Is it something you’d like to see on Xbox One eventually?
Xbox One launches on November 22, 2013.
Follow Riley on Twitter @TheRileyLittle for more news about the Xbox One.