Listen, we're not on a mission to bash PlayStation or anything, but following the announcement today that Microsoft would be bringing backwards compatible titles to the cloud, with 16 of them arriving today, it's impossible not to draw the comparison with recent PlayStation news.
In case you missed it, Sony announced earlier this week that it would be shutting the legacy PlayStation 3, PS Vita, and PSP storefronts this summer, confirming that players would no longer be able to purchase digital games or other content via those consoles. Worse yet, some PlayStation Vita developers have simply had to cancel their projects or rush them to completion because of the announcement, which is horrible to see.
Here at Pure Xbox, we do actually have PlayStations in our houses (shock horror!). And the fact that we won't be able to buy certain digital-only games ever again is a massive shame, and it makes us all the more grateful that Xbox is doing the complete opposite right now, putting significant effort into ensuring game preservation is a key focus.
The latest effort on Microsoft's part has arrived today (quite possibly related to the PlayStation news in terms of timing) and it concerns backwards compatible games being added to the cloud. Microsoft says this is the next step in its journey to "make games across generations available to you no matter the hardware," calling it "delightful and critical."
And seriously, Microsoft is going big on this messaging at the moment. The Xbox team literally dedicated an entire interview with Rare studio head Craig Duncan to the importance of backwards compatibility and being able to play the likes of Xbox 360 classic Viva Pinata on modern consoles and phones, and that game (along with a couple of others) is even adding touch controls on mobiles and tablets. Duncan, of course, thinks it's brilliant:
"It’s essential. There are just a bunch of inherent complexities when generations and platforms change and being able to relive games you played previously and fondly remember is important. Those games contain memories and moments you can share with others and being able to do that quickly by just selecting the game in Xbox Game Pass is easy and just works with no fuss."
Is Xbox's backwards compatibility program perfect? No, as we're still missing quite a few Xbox 360 games and a massive range of original Xbox titles, but the vast majority of the most popular classics are available right now.
The biggest question concerns what Microsoft will do when the time comes to shut down the Xbox 360 store - what happens to those digital-only Arcade games that are not yet backwards compatible? It remains to be seen. But for now, it's very hard not to be impressed with Microsoft's current commitment to game preservation on Xbox.
What do you make of Xbox's backwards compatible focus? Give us your thoughts down below.