Five Entertainment Reforms Millenials Should Be Fighting For

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Five Entertainment Reforms Millenials Should Be Fighting For

Here are five things you rascally whippersnappers ought to be demanding Hollywood, etc. do now that you are the demographic masters of their destiny.

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I tend to think that many aspects of #3 (Backwards Compatibility) are a function of our increasingly out-of-touch copyright and IP laws. Backwards compatibility wouldn't be as much of an issue- nor would the gradual disintegration of media formats no longer supported- if, once a particular title is out of production, IP holders would allow people who actually care about the works for reasons other than potential profits to do their work for them and archive them. Technically you can still get in as much trouble for offering a download of a PS1 or SNES game as you can for a more recent release, and there are plenty of horror stories of "digitally restored" movies that only exist because some random collector came forward who had done a better job preserving a film canister than the studio that originally created the movie.

1 and 2 will happen eventually, 5 is impossible to fix it's been seen in Africa when one country's mineral's become taboo they are shipped to other countries and sold as non conflict products.

The majority don't care about 3 Bob we see this with Sony's consoles PS3 released with full BC no one bought it till the BC was removed while the PS4 has no BC and it sells like hotcakes.

Please don't pretend backwards compatibility for games is as simple as backwards compatibility for movies. Converting a movie only requires that you preserve the audio and visual streams. Converting a game requires that you emulate the underlying hardware or else write a complex program to automatically convert code optimized for another system on the fly to the new one.

Sony and Microsoft didn't remove backwards compatibility for next gen consoles because they are mean money grubbing bastards - Any halfway intelligent businessman would see giving existing customers a reason to stay enfranchised is a great idea - they did it because adding it would have required them to increase the cost of the console to a level the consumer would be unwilling to pay.

Sony should know - They did this once with the PS3 and it was one of the reasons the PS3 was initially such an overpriced machine and failed so badly at launch.

As for number four: Wow, I had no idea that the lack of translations was purely due to space and not, say, the cost of creating accurate translations in multiple languages and the even greater cost of an entire extra audio track.

Just a fun reminder about Conflict Minerals and Consumer Electronics...

http://www.raisehopeforcongo.org/content/conflict-minerals-company-rankings

Nintendo is frequently cited as the WORST consumer electronics company for ensuring that illegal conflict minerals aren't being used in their products... they also have the worst environmental record of all the major consumer electronics companies...

So...yeah... Apple and Microsoft are apparently pretty darn good about it, as is Intel... Sony doesn't rank nearly as high but they are much better than Nintendo...

PedroSteckecilo:
Just a fun reminder about Conflict Minerals and Consumer Electronics...

http://www.raisehopeforcongo.org/content/conflict-minerals-company-rankings

Nintendo is frequently cited as the WORST consumer electronics company for ensuring that illegal conflict minerals aren't being used in their products... they also have the worst environmental record of all the major consumer electronics companies...

So...yeah... Apple and Microsoft are apparently pretty darn good about it, as is Intel... Sony doesn't rank nearly as high but they are much better than Nintendo...

Shhh! Bob's going to get you banned for criticising Nintendo like that!

If you had just gone on about formats for digital products your number 3 would have been fine, but attempting to bash the Xbone and PS4 was rather ill thought out. Thanks to the CELL processor Sony would have to practically include most of the components of the PS3 in order to be backwards compatible, raising the price of the console which didn't help it's predecessor against the 360.

Falterfire:
Please don't pretend backwards compatibility for games is as simple as backwards compatibility for movies. Converting a movie only requires that you preserve the audio and visual streams. Converting a game requires that you emulate the underlying hardware or else write a complex program to automatically convert code optimized for another system on the fly to the new one.

Sony and Microsoft didn't remove backwards compatibility for next gen consoles because they are mean money grubbing bastards - Any halfway intelligent businessman would see giving existing customers a reason to stay enfranchised is a great idea - they did it because adding it would have required them to increase the cost of the console to a level the consumer would be unwilling to pay.

Sony should know - They did this once with the PS3 and it was one of the reasons the PS3 was initially such an overpriced machine and failed so badly at launch.

I came here to say pretty much the same think. While preservation of games is an important endeavour, it is infinitely more complex than preservation of movies, because its intrinsically associated with the technology it runs. While preserving a movie requires preserving the video and the audio synchronized with it, preserving a game requires to preserve (or reconstruct) the hardware that it was built to run in, including parts that, are likely, no longer built.

Movies don't have that problem. I don't need a pianist to be able to watch A Trip to the Moon, nor do I need a drive-in theater to see some exploitation movie like Ilsa... It would be a nice curiosity, but its not like its required by the medium and its not possible to reproduce in other way. There are some exceptions, of course, like watching "Scent of Mystery" in my house or reading "House of Leaves" on a kindle, but 99.99% of the content of other mediums is easily preservable because our way of experience it doesn't evolve with it.

Games, on the other hand, need the hardware to run... there is no way to run E.T. or Wii Sports without the original hardware (unless we count emulation, a process that runs entirely on the part of the consumer, since the publisher doesn't want/doesn't care/simply can't do it itself). To expect otherwise would require a) that console manufacturers and technology holders (and everyone in between) would compromise to never stop producing the components to run certain generation of games (good luck trying to force Commodore to make more Amigas); or b) building each generation, literally, on top of the previous one. So, the Playstation 4 has to have a Playstation 3, 2 and 1 built inside it, the Wii U needs a Wii, a Gamecube, an N64, SNES and NES (complete with cartridge slots), and Windows 8 should have XP, 98, 3.1 and DOS. That would increase costs to ridiculous levels (the PS3 is still too specific, complex and expensive to produce to believe it can be reduced to a cheap component inside the PS4), but it would also seriously hamper progress and innovation (so now the XBOX 1 needs to have an HD DVD drive to be compatible with the 360? What about the XBOX 2?)...

The other comments are pretty reasonable, but 3 is rather disingenuous... too focus in how consumers believe technology should work instead of how it actually works. I am sure Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo would love to have 100% BC, but they all know its not feasible.

I'm sorry if I'm a bit grumpy, but I hate generational labels to begin with. Pre-judging anyone based on how old they are, what supposed generation their parents were, whatever is bullshit. Everything you've outlined is stuff I am in a high demand for and I am basing my consumer behavior along the lines you're recommending. Why, should your recommendations be focused on a group of people ill defined by another ill defined group of people? Why can't someone who would be labeled as a baby boomer demand these things? Why wouldn't it matter if they did? You've outlined things PEOPLE should be demanding, I don't see (nor have I ever seen) much improvement by bringing the notion of generations into it.

Just a comment, but... I would like someone to explain to me the problems of 1 and 2 (particularly 2) in cases of piracy when the only restriction is TV schedule. I believe they are the main reasons why some mediums and distribution systems have that kind of problem...

You see: I have pirated TV shows, for example, downloading episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or Game of Thrones, which I am not going to be apologetic or defensive about, but since I am already subscribed to the cable channels that transmit them (so Sony TV or HBO should get their share though my MSO), I hardly feel like I am doing something illegitimate. What I do, I do it mostly because their schedule or timing does not suit my convenience. Why should I feel like I am stealing someone's food when I only want to access something I already paid for in a way its convenient to me? And before you mention something like Netflix or HBO Go are behind regional locks too, so even when the TV channels do transmit the content on my country, I can't access it online.

I have to ask because I am against piracy in most of its forms. I buy tons of original games and music, and while convenience is an important factor, it is also guilt for the people that put a lot of hard work into them. But I can't understand why this case should be considered at the same level as those, since I already paid for access to the content.

1) The old guy in me wants to rant about how this just motivates an entitlement mentality that shows no respect for patience or doing without if you can't meet someone else's schedule. The admin worker really sees this as an issue when other deadlines seem to be expected to be met, not worked around your schedule (aka the why you don't get to hand in your time sheet 3 days late and still get paid rule).

I mean, I appreciate the convenience, and I'm aware it will have to be an end game for entertainment, but can we quit acting like having to meet a schedule is somehow a punishment?

2) Region locks exist due to captive markets. If you follow anime circles, you hear a lot about the prices, and how they get linked to a fear of reverse importation: ordering the $20 DVD from the states because the $50 japanese DVD seems like a bad deal. Factor in the desire for censorship by certain governments and you can see why this hasn't happened yet. Yes, it needs to go away, but having seen companies cut licensing deals if they couldn't release anime DVDs in america on the japanese pricing model, it'll be a long road.

3) We've been through this on your GOT site: gaming is designed to be disposable, and hardware is making it more and more difficult to be any kind of collector. Technological issues aside, there's always a fear we'll just squeeze more value out of the old than buy the new. This isn't limited to games: books and DVDs got out of print all the time (Disney makes a killing off that) and stores only stock new stuff (just ask how much fun I had trying to get all 11 MASH sets years after they came out). So many markets are based on a "ooh shiny and new" mentality, and some hardware choices (even not BC related) seem to be set on punishing having the other end.

4) Yeah, short one: this costs money. You need a good ADR director as translation isn't transposition. Differing grammar, syntax, cultural references, all need to be dealt with if you don't want an inadvertent comedy piece.

5) A nice idea: but I've said this before as well, unless it can compete economically, it isn't going to happen and most people toss their values out the window when the alternative costs more. Back to number 1: if you come off like you won't go out of your way to get what you want, no company will believe you'd ever pay more for a product or boycott theirs.

Well! Let it never be said that MovieBob can't also chase SEO with all the tenacity of The One Weird Trick You Won't Believe The New York Times Fears And Drug Companies Hate to Pay For Free Forever Erectile Dysfunction Gold Conspiracy Something Bitcoin.

I see you've been reading the Escapist with the ads turned on...

OT:
1) I'm inclined to give them a month in theaters before pushing it to other media. Let the cinemas have their run so that the rest of us can figure out if we want a permanent copy.

2) Yep. I want to stop having to use multiple computers so I can watch DVDs without worrying about being region locked.

3) Also yep. It shouldn't take that much tooth pulling to put in a basic emulator if it really is as hard as they make it out to be.

4) It's already being done on a individual level via well-intentioned pirates who just want others to enjoy the shows without having to learn a third or fourth language. I'm honestly surprised an English sub isn't SOP at this point to cater to American and European markets.

5) This is a problem that really comes down to money and mining. A lot of those minerals used to be mined in the central US but free trade agreements made it more profitable to mine them elsewhere. At a certain point, it's going to come down to governments willing to put tariffs on goods containing conflict minerals, something no one wants to have to explain to the retail consumer.

4) Yeah, as others have already mentioned, quality translations cost money. I live in a country where the vast majority of TV-shows and movies are translated and people still aren't willing to pay adequately for the work translators do. So it's not surprising that smaller languages often get overlooked during the translation process. It has nothing to do with technical limitations of subtitling/dubbing.

hermes200:

Falterfire:
Please don't pretend backwards compatibility for games is as simple as backwards compatibility for movies. Converting a movie only requires that you preserve the audio and visual streams. Converting a game requires that you emulate the underlying hardware or else write a complex program to automatically convert code optimized for another system on the fly to the new one.

Sony and Microsoft didn't remove backwards compatibility for next gen consoles because they are mean money grubbing bastards - Any halfway intelligent businessman would see giving existing customers a reason to stay enfranchised is a great idea - they did it because adding it would have required them to increase the cost of the console to a level the consumer would be unwilling to pay.

Sony should know - They did this once with the PS3 and it was one of the reasons the PS3 was initially such an overpriced machine and failed so badly at launch.

I came here to say pretty much the same think. While preservation of games is an important endeavour, it is infinitely more complex than preservation of movies, because its intrinsically associated with the technology it runs. While preserving a movie requires preserving the video and the audio synchronized with it, preserving a game requires to preserve (or reconstruct) the hardware that it was built to run in, including parts that, are likely, no longer built.

Movies don't have that problem. I don't need a pianist to be able to watch A Trip to the Moon, nor do I need a drive-in theater to see some exploitation movie like Ilsa... It would be a nice curiosity, but its not like its required by the medium and its not possible to reproduce in other way. There are some exceptions, of course, like watching "Scent of Mystery" in my house or reading "House of Leaves" on a kindle, but 99.99% of the content of other mediums is easily preservable because our way of experience it doesn't evolve with it.

Games, on the other hand, need the hardware to run... there is no way to run E.T. or Wii Sports without the original hardware (unless we count emulation, a process that runs entirely on the part of the consumer, since the publisher doesn't want/doesn't care/simply can't do it itself). To expect otherwise would require a) that console manufacturers and technology holders (and everyone in between) would compromise to never stop producing the components to run certain generation of games (good luck trying to force Commodore to make more Amigas); or b) building each generation, literally, on top of the previous one. So, the Playstation 4 has to have a Playstation 3, 2 and 1 built inside it, the Wii U needs a Wii, a Gamecube, an N64, SNES and NES (complete with cartridge slots), and Windows 8 should have XP, 98, 3.1 and DOS. That would increase costs to ridiculous levels (the PS3 is still too specific, complex and expensive to produce to believe it can be reduced to a cheap component inside the PS4), but it would also seriously hamper progress and innovation (so now the XBOX 1 needs to have an HD DVD drive to be compatible with the 360? What about the XBOX 2?)...

The other comments are pretty reasonable, but 3 is rather disingenuous... too focus in how consumers believe technology should work instead of how it actually works. I am sure Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo would love to have 100% BC, but they all know its not feasible.

Not to mention that the major companies are taking steps to preserve the old games. Nintendo has the virtual console and actually was able to put backwards compatibility into the Wii U because they were able to make it purely with software emulation. Sony recently announced a steaming game service for their old PS1, 2, and 3 games. Plus, the move to x86 architecture for both Xbox and PS was a serious step forward in ensuring backwards compatibility is much easier going forward.

Certainly more can and should be done, but the technical problems associated with backwards compatibility are staggering and it does not do to pretend backwards compatibility is always a practical possibility. As much as I like Movie Bob he is, in this instance, just whining about what he wants. What he should be doing is consider the problem and what might be practically done and then rallying the gaming public towards this practical solution. It is good that he recognizes the problem, but I believe this was lower than his usual standard. To be clear, this is a sign of respect; While I don't always agree with him, I believe him capable, intelligent, and fair. If he was an idiot I would just write off his opinion and ignore it.

That is the only issue listed that I have a firm grasp on, so it is the only one I feel comfortable commenting on. The rest of the article was good though. Interesting and entertaining read.

Well, Bob, we did have pretty good backward compatibility... but everything changed when you killed off the PC in 2011.

:P

Nice to see I'm not the only one who is upset about the lack of backward compatibility for either the Xbox or the PS4.

Going off of that, I can think of something that I haven't been able to find on the internet: the original The Hobbit film. You know, that cartoon version from back in the day? And I mean the original version, not the DVD version. Massive parts of the soundtrack from the DVD version are missing. You can only hear them on the VHS. However, since the VHS is super rare now (it seems), and barely anyone has a VCR anymore, the true version isn't uploaded anywhere. Now granted, I have looked everywhere on the internet because I own the VHS, but every now and then I go to youtube to watch parts of the film and I cringe because it's the DVD version.
So yeah, I like the idea of finding ways to support older formats on newer machines. I know it can't always be done (because a VHS will not work in a DVD player apparently), but I still agree that some effort should go into it.

I work at a Regal Theater and we actually have closed caption glasses like you described (but they stream the captions through an attached receiver kind of like google glass). Actually we have a more pairs of them than other locations because our location is in a city with a significant deaf population, so these glasses are used fairly often. Granted, they are pretty new and tend to malfunction pretty easily, but they let people see movies that wouldn't have CC showings at a reasonable hour, which kind of outweighs those negatives.

I could see how many would be hesitant over the first reform since it would hurt box office revenue. However, a lot of people are becoming more patient and waiting for home release mostly because the theater experience has suffered greatly (people talking during the movie, texting on their smart phones, etc). If theaters want to remain relevant, they need to start running their places better. Alamo Draft House, for example, has a zero tolerance policy against people that spoil the movie going experience for others with their bad habits. Plus we're seeing theaters offer more selection with dine-in foods and alcohol beverages. One of my local theaters has reopened recently and is offering beer, wine, and food items other than candy and popcorn.

hermes200:

The other comments are pretty reasonable, but 3 is rather disingenuous... too focus in how consumers believe technology should work instead of how it actually works. I am sure Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo would love to have 100% BC, but they all know its not feasible.

Maybe, for once, how consumers believe technology should work should be considered over how it 'actually works' (which really, just translates to how manufacturers say it should work. Not completely without merit, but not completely valid, either).

Console gaming for so long, I'm getting tired of the big manufacturers finding ways to cut down a new console's utility. I'm particularly sick of the argument that it's 'too expensive', or that it's a sound business plan to cut BC out. Again, it's not inherently wrong to think this, but it's not appealing; not in a digital age, and not while game libraries are growing faster and larger. Besides, these companies have built these consoles from the ground up; why can't they design more portable, cheaper versions of the hardware needed, such as the cell processor, into their new systems? Hell, there's precedence that they work towards that process; look how many different system models were ultimately available, not just for the PS3, but the 360 and Wii as well.

I'd even be willing to concede my usual demand for backwards compatability slightly, in that I'd just want disc-based content to be apply. It makes more sense, from a console-owner's perspective; you pop in a disc, and you expect the game to work. Even confinded to one manufacturer, you don't really expect contemporary consoles to have the variety of cartridge ports necessary to play older titles (though cartridge-based games are probably easier to emulate), but you do expect a disc to be pretty universal. But even that's a pretty gross assumption out of console-owner-centric perspective.

But consumers don't make these consoles. Point #3 of this article remains valid because as far as the big 3 go, they decide what these consoles can or cannot do. All consumers do is spend money; it's about the only language we speak and I'd rather it go to something taking the extra steps to be used in the long run. I only (and usually) take offense at lack of backwards compatibility, but there are many other areas where manufacturers seem to cut corners in service, and they're making a trend out of it, seemingly. I'm just fearful of the day that console manufacturers cling to this trend so hard, we get a crap system that was 'designed to pave the way for the next generation'.

On a notion of ideals, if you discount graphics technology, what warrants a generation change?

Who came up with the term "Milleials", and why are they allowed to live?
Wasn't "Gen Y" a good enough term?
Or the "Best Generation"?

Redd the Sock:
1) The old guy in me wants to rant about how this just motivates an entitlement mentality that shows no respect for patience or doing without if you can't meet someone else's schedule.

The eldery in me wants to agree, but remembers when this was being hyped as the near future in 1995 and is annoyed that it's been nearly two decades of feet dragging.

2) Region locks exist due to captive markets.

Only if you count the entire music market as a captive market. Region locks are an outcropping of the record industry lobbying to prevent what you called "reverse importation" on a larger scale. It used to be a lot cheaper for distros to buy records and CDs in bulk from places like South America on the cheap and sell them either at a discount or eat the remaining profits themselves. The record industry didn't like being undercut and pushed for import taxes/tariffs/whatever. If they could have got away with region locking Compact Discs, they probably would have. As it is, the video market became serious business and sought to protect themselves. Fortunately, DVD came out after issues of piracy, copying (even lawful copying) and importing were all well-known, so they developed a system right in the medium and its players.

As it is, people were still finding better deals (even with import) on movies and using multi-region DVD players to get around this. They started punishing that by generating DVDs that would only play in fixed-region DVD players. They really hate not having control.

It's not just anime. The whole industry is worried that you might be able to buy something cheaper than the prices they want you to pay.

Technological issues aside, there's always a fear we'll just squeeze more value out of the old than buy the new.

This one's always strange to me, because of the industry's obsession with remakes and re-releases. It's like they're ramping us up specifically for nostalgia. And this happens in other media, too. More so with movies and music than books, but still. And I get that they can get new money out of us on an individual release, but they need to go much bigger for that to be a real model: something they don't seem willing or able to do.

quick note to backwards compatibility, you seem to have forgotten that the WiiU is in fact fully reverse compatible with all Wii software, AND its hardware as well. Microsoft and Sony are making you spend $4-500 to abandon your current game library and making you buy new controllers but Nintendo isn't. Though on the flip side it could be that nintendo relied too much on that backwards compatibility, as the console went like 8 months or so with a pretty pitiful library of its own...but now that more games are coming out I think it's past that particular hiccup...as long as more 3rd party software is made for it in the long run.

1) This is a tough one, since it would hit US theaters really hard while likely not changing much about the foreign box office gross (due to rampant piracy in many of the developing countries, there's already a de facto "same day release" going on). Edward J Epstein has written a couple books about the movie business, and he pointed out in a column a few years back that a 6% drop in attendance back in 2000-2001 put a ton of movie theater chains into bankruptcy. My personal opinion is that most of them would be facing major ticket price drops, with tons of them dropping into "dollar theater" status.

There's also the talent to consider. A bunch of big directors - including James Cameron and Peter Jackson - came out in opposition to the brief experiment with early releasing Tower Heist. That could change over time, but there is emotional and financial attachment to the success of the big screen among the talent.

Yeah #3 isn't happening. You may get Wii/WiiU or PSX/PS2, but sustained BC isn't possible.

As far as I see, as a game developer you have 4 options:
1) Emulation, which you already know is limited.
2) Keep existing hardware appended to your hardware, which'll drive up costs.
3) Keep a similar hardware architecture from generation to generation (see: PSX/PS2, GC/Wii/WiiU) and get stuck with outdated designs.
4) Require all games be rebuilt for your system every gen. Good luck enforcing that.

Maybe, for once, how consumers believe technology should work should be considered over how it 'actually works' (which really, just translates to how manufacturers say it should work. Not completely without merit, but not completely valid, either).

No, that's how it really does work.

A movie is just some data. You can convert that data however you like, any time. It's trivial. Terminator 2 is the same in mp4 as xvid or anything else. A game involves code and that's vastly more problematic. Not only is code unimaginably more complex, but it has to be translated in real time on top of executing in real time. This is not a winner. Furthermore if you make an error in translating a movie, it's really not that big a deal if it doesn't occur too often, and it's easy to check that your translation code is valid. Translating code, on the other hand- a single mistake and it's all down the drain, and it's almost impossible to know that you handle all code correctly.

As another poster said, the x86 chip in the Xbone and PS4 will be VASTLY easier to handle in this regard, since the next generation is quite likely also going to be an x86 chip.

Whilst I love backwards compatibility on my PC, when it comes to consoles, the reality of the technology is that it's really, really not going to happen. For PS1/PS2 games, they're probably not demanding enough anymore compared to a modern chip, so you could get away with emulation. For PS3 games, they're probably too intensive for emulation and the hardware is too expensive to ship, so what are you gonna do? The streaming service is actually a smart innovation by Sony to try a new idea in keeping backwards compat.

All I'm saying is, Bob, I'm afraid that you don't seem to have a tremendously good grasp of the very real issues being faced here by console manufacturers.

you do expect a disc to be pretty universal

Discs are nothing more than a storage medium. They are no more or less universal than the data on them. The fact that a game is on a disc is irrelevant when it comes to the complexities of making the code on that disc execute correctly and sufficiently quickly.

1) The old guy in me wants to rant about how this just motivates an entitlement mentality that shows no respect for patience or doing without if you can't meet someone else's schedule. The admin worker really sees this as an issue when other deadlines seem to be expected to be met, not worked around your schedule (aka the why you don't get to hand in your time sheet 3 days late and still get paid rule).

I mean, I appreciate the convenience, and I'm aware it will have to be an end game for entertainment, but can we quit acting like having to meet a schedule is somehow a punishment?

It is a punishment. You meet the admin schedule because you get paid for it. Since I am not getting paid for watching entertainment, then it is a punishment. Here's a simple example. Right now, I am tremendously sick during the night. This implies sleeping during the day. This implies a desperate need for entertainment during the night to try and ignore my sickness. So going to the cinema is pretty much out of the question. Not to mention all the other stuff like the price and availability of transportation (I don't live in a large city/town). And how uncomfortable the seats are. And not being able to pause in the middle and feed the dog or receive a delivery. And all those dicks at the back who are texting or calling or talking whilst it's going on.

I have the power to receive whatever entertainment I want, to watch it as many times as I want, and whenever I want. Modern technology affords me this power. The only question is who is going to provide me this service- content creators, or The Pirate Bay.

When I have crippling abdominal pain, either you deliver me the entertainment I want right now as fast as my Internet pipes can support it, or I will find someone else who will. Terribly surprising, therefore, that I typically pirate films and television shows, but not games, since I can download them straight from Steam. I can have a much superior service. So why shouldn't I demand it? Capitalism at its finest.

That's a good list. Particularly the last one.

I definitely agree that the world of region locking and delayed releases needs to be dealt with. I was a hair's bredth away from buying my boyfriend (who lives in the US, but was in the UK with me for Christmas) a Nintendo 3DS and a bunch of games for Christmas. Then I found out that it's region locked so no games he'd buy back home would work. Nintendo just lost out on at least 200 from me plus the games he would have bought back in America.

On the media side of things Marvel's Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back on in the US, but rather than showing the episodes the Friday after they aired in the US Channel 4 have decided not to show the new episodes until some time in March. I won't pirate them, but I can guarantee that lots of UK fans will now they'll have to wait months. I understand that shows in the US have all sorts of weird breaks in them unlike here, but I'd rather have them as they come. This goes double for Movies.

Yeah, sorry Bob, when people come to me with this kind of stuff I get the strongest urge to remind people that I have no connection to my generation. Or any generation, for that matter. I don't really fit anywhere, and as such I can't really be part of any sort of social change.

Good luck to the rest of you, though. I'll try and help when I can.

crc32:
Yeah #3 isn't happening. You may get Wii/WiiU or PSX/PS2, but sustained BC isn't possible.

As far as I see, as a game developer you have 4 options:
1) Emulation, which you already know is limited.
2) Keep existing hardware appended to your hardware, which'll drive up costs.
3) Keep a similar hardware architecture from generation to generation (see: PSX/PS2, GC/Wii/WiiU) and get stuck with outdated designs.
4) Require all games be rebuilt for your system every gen. Good luck enforcing that.

Point of order:

Sustained backwards compatibility from now until the end of time very much is possible. It simply requires that the manufacturers plan for it. What they would need to do is design a standardized interface that stands between the game and the hardware (think DirectX in Windows machines, or Android as a whole), and keep that standard throughout every iteration of the console. Then, all they need to do to maintain backwards compatibility is create the console-facing side of the interface with each iteration of the hardware.

You now have 100% backwards compatibility with everything everywhere. You likely won't be able to play a game designed for gen 2 on a gen 1 machine (as the interface would very likely be added to or changed in some way), but the reverse will always work.

They didn't do this for several reasons, not least of which is that console manufacturers don't want backwards compatibility (they can't charge you full price for "HD re-releases" that way). There's also technical reasons, because interfaces like that do have an impact on performance. If they design it right, the impact is fairly small, but they're so obsessed with forcing out the latest shiny to sell games based entirely on insubstantial flash that it can seem much larger than acceptable.

That said, the lion's share of the blame lies in the fact that they didn't think that far ahead. If they had sat down and properly planned out the console's, and its successors', lifecycle(s), this kind of thing would (or at least should) have easily occurred to them. It's basic software engineering, literally sophomore year university class project level. It's frankly embarrassing that they didn't implement something along these lines.

I've been bitching about movie-to-VCR/CD/DVD releases since their inception, its just so damn annoying that I don't get to see a movie just because I can't stand to sit in a theater and the bastards won't sell the damn thing on DVD at release. If they like money so much then just sell the damn thing! But no, I have to wait and guess what, if I wait to long I no longer care and won't even think of buying it when it does come out, then eventually I remember it and find it on the Internet for free. What a way to cheat yourself out of getting my money entertainment industry.

It would also be nice if they lowered the damn price on these things, but that'll never happen, so all I can do is wait, wait, wait. Or I just say fuck it all and start my own all digital collection, takes a lot of room off my shelves so I can fit more lego's, also saves a ton of money which goes into more lego's, and all that lego certainly helps pass the time waiting for stuff to get pirated. So it does all work out in the end, thank you Internet, and thank you piracy.

Agayek:
Sustained backwards compatibility from now until the end of time very much is possible. It simply requires that the manufacturers plan for it. What they would need to do is design a standardized interface that stands between the game and the hardware (think DirectX in Windows machines, or Android as a whole), and keep that standard throughout every iteration of the console. Then, all they need to do to maintain backwards compatibility is create the console-facing side of the interface with each iteration of the hardware.

You now have 100% backwards compatibility with everything everywhere. You likely won't be able to play a game designed for gen 2 on a gen 1 machine (as the interface would very likely be added to or changed in some way), but the reverse will always work.

Yes, I'm sure that if you define an interface and compile some calling code for a Cell SPU, then implement that interface on an x86 chip, this will totally work.

Game incompatibility has absolutely nothing to do with lack of OS API compatibility. It's the compatibility of the underlying hardware. You can't rebuild your game which you built for Cell architecture for x86 architecture- it's already shipped on the discs. The CPU is physically incapable of executing the code you wrote against the interface. There's no interface that can protect you from that unless you don't compile your code to native, which has massive ramifications far beyond just performance.

Finally, we already are moving to that world, because all the architectures except x86 and ARM are dying out or dead, so the CPUs of the future probably will offer an x86 interface.

Falterfire:
Sony and Microsoft didn't remove backwards compatibility for next gen consoles because they are mean money grubbing bastards - Any halfway intelligent businessman would see giving existing customers a reason to stay enfranchised is a great idea - they did it because adding it would have required them to increase the cost of the console to a level the consumer would be unwilling to pay.


Look at how much money they have already. Sure, everyone wants more money, thus, it's natural they'd increase prices. But do they really HAVE to? Do they really NEED to? No. Don't think for a moment that they aren't filled with avarice. I guess any halfway intelligent businessman also likes to forget that business means greed when you're that high up on the ladder.

OT: Bob, good points. But you're forgetting one fundamental thing when it comes to people and making change happen. Christopher Titus put it best really - "Everybody wants revolution, no one's willing to pack a lunch." Entertainment reform isn't quite revolution, but the point remains the same. Not everyone is going to devote time and effort required to fight for and make the changes happen. They day they do, I will be absolutely dumbfounded and astonished.

On using special lens to see subtiltles for the hearing impared: I'm not sure how wide spread this is, but about 6 years ago I was working at a Silvercity Cinemas in Ottawa and select theaters DID in fact have special glasses that would display subtitles for hearing impared. I'm not sure exaclty how they worked, but I know it involved the subtitles being projected seperately somehow so they could only be seen with the glasses. It wasn't in every single theater, so not every movie got the treatment, but someone out there IS trying.

DeadMG:
Yes, I'm sure that if you define an interface and compile some calling code for a Cell SPU, then implement that interface on an x86 chip, this will totally work.

Game incompatibility has absolutely nothing to do with lack of OS API compatibility. It's the compatibility of the underlying hardware. You can't rebuild your game which you built for Cell architecture for x86 architecture- it's already shipped on the discs. The CPU is physically incapable of executing the code you wrote against the interface. There's no interface that can protect you from that unless you don't compile your code to native, which has massive ramifications far beyond just performance.

Finally, we already are moving to that world, because all the architectures except x86 and ARM are dying out or dead, so the CPUs of the future probably will offer an x86 interface.

And if the console manufacturer had thought far enough ahead to design and build the interface properly, you could absolutely use the exact same interface for a Cell SPU and an x86 chip.

I do this kind of thing for a living. It is more than possible, it's actually fairly simple. All you need is a collection of available atomic functions with set inputs and outputs. Once that's done, the specific hardware's quirks are irrelevant, because the game doesn't interact with the hardware directly, it goes through the interface. That's the whole point of the interface layer.

Now, there's technical reasons not to do so (specifically that each computation is slightly more expensive, meaning lower performance out of the same hardware), which I imagine was a pretty big driving factor in the decision to not implement such a structure, but that doesn't change the fact that it's easily possible.

Region Locking and Regions in general baffle me. The UK have got Netflix for the PS3, the PS4 version came out right at launch yet the PS Vita version is nowhere to be seen two years after it was released.

Actually it doesn't baffle me, I know that it's all just content license bullshit, but what does baffle me is how companies think not releasing something in a certain place is acceptable. Why wait for a regional release and miss all the hype when you can just download it the day it's released?

I see a lot of people defending the lack of Backward compatibility and I really can't agree. Here are the arguments I see here and in other places:

Gaming is disposable play it and get rid of it - I don't share your philosophy, but you're lucky you feel this way the existing trends won't affect you. I on the other hand don't always stay current and it can be years before I play everything I am interested in. Furthermore stuff that's not story based, like party games can be go to items forever.

They had to do it to move to the more dev friendly architecture, just keep your old hardware and stop bitching - A) I don't like to need all that hooked up to my TV and deal with shelf space, I like a pretty clean spartan living area and I like clean lines, a shelf to hold 3 gens worth of hardware won't work with that. B) I have friends who are on their 3rd and 4th PS3s, keeping the old hardware only works so long as warranties or replacement hardware exist. I mentioned this on another site and they said hang on to the disk and wait for hobbyists to come up with Software emulation to X86. Well just wait a second, if that's possible shouldn't Sony just do that? And shouldn't it be easier without needing to reverse engineer anything?

Use PS Now - Suggesting a service which likely requires a subscription to play games I own is not a great suggestion. PS Now is a rental service not backward compatibility.

So, sorry I have yet to see the withdraw of BC as a good or needed thing.

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