One of the biggest pieces of news out of E3 this week was the native backwards compatibility on the Xbox One, but it’s unfortunately not something Sony will bring to the PS4.
The Xbox One does its backwards compatibility by emulating the entire 360 VM on the system. So when you play an Xbox 360 game, it thinks it’s actually running on the system itself. That’s why there’s the 360 boot animation as well as the full 360 interface within the game. For disc based games the system reads the header information from a disc and then downloads a copy of the 360 game if the Xbox One is supporting it through BC.
Sony spoke to MCV and said they won’t be doing the same:
â€œWe are just taking two different approaches. Unfortunately there are just not sufficent enough 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. Their choice is entirely legitimate, and I think 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.”
Pretty much it’s explained why if you read between the lines there. The PlayStation 3’s Cell architecture is much more difficult for an x86 processor to emulate reliably than an early 2004 Power PC processor like the Xbox 360 had. So Sony won’t bother putting engineers on the difficult project as they have another option that makes them money.
If you want to play old games on your PlayStation 4, Sony has the $20 a month streaming service PlayStation Now. The company spent millions acquiring Gaikai to make that service a reality, and it’s not something they’d throw away to produce a more consumer-friendly free backwards compatibility system like Microsoft did on the Xbox One.