Paystation 4

Going into the 8th generation of console gaming, it seemed like Sony finally understood their fans. All their mistakes with pricing and vague marketing with the PS3 were a thing of the past. Microsoft became money grubbing and lost their focus on gaming. Nintendo was being Nintendo, but promising a stronger drive to make new games.

A few years into this generation, Nintendo is the only one that remained consistent. Microsoft made a dramatic reveal of backwards compatibility on the Xbox One at E3 this year and Sony is now following suit.

Wait, let me rephrase that; Sony is now charging us a 3rd (4th or possibly 5th) time to play our old games on new hardware. I think I’ve had enough of this lunacy. Despite me strongly preferring the PS4 interface over Xbox One, I can’t believe that my older games are being resold to me.

It’s not the largest deal to me as my PS3 is still functional and plays PS2 games. Many people are not in that same boat. Backwards compatibility should be a required on all consoles, regardless of architectural differences. All those legacy consoles are not going to last forever and I’ll be damned if I’m going to keep feeding money to a company bent on making me bankrupt.

Sony has gleefully taken to the trend of re-releasing “HD Remaster” ports of PS3 games on PS4 and now the PS2 is falling in line. Instead of selling a more expensive version of the current console with backwards compatibility support (which would make sense!!!), we’re being asked to fork over $10-15 for our favorite older games.

That doesn’t seem too dramatic, but the implication is that this will be a trend. Down the line on the PS6, we’re going to be rebuying our PS4 games. Hell, it may not even take that long as we’re currently rebuying PS3 games!

Because we all asked for this shit…

What makes this so shocking is that Sony was such a stalwart for PS1 support on the PS2. It was one of the defining features of the console when Nintendo switched formats and Sega basically forgot about the Saturn. With a PS2, you didn’t need to kiss your old library goodbye.

When the PS3 launched, Sony figured that not giving gamers an option was best and decided on jam packing the system with a bunch of extraneous features. Most people didn’t need media streaming, SACD support, wireless networking and video playback; for some, just playing a video game was all they wanted.

If you wanted the prestige of owning a Sony product, you had to deal with the price and extra nonsense. You were getting a Blu-Ray player, whether you liked it or not. You were dealing with internal storage and install times despite older consoles not having that. You were making due with WiFi even if your network didn’t support it.

Granted, the PS2 forced DVD support, but Sony managed to keep the price down by including expansion ports on the system. This let Sony develop a hard drive and network port for later use and for people to decide if they wanted.  Now that philosophy is lost.

With Microsoft granting you access to your games simply by owning the 360 disc, Sony has no reason to expect gamers to jump on these PS2 remasters. What is more baffling is that Sony launched a “PS2 Classics” line on PS3 that let gamers purchase things digitally.

They also started an initiative called “Cross-buy” that allowed you to make one purchase of software and get it on every Sony console. Like that cute little game on your Vita? That’s cool; you can have it on PS3 and PS4 for no extra cost! Why is this not a feature with PS2 on PS4?

It’s hard not to immediately jump to the conclusion of, “MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!!!” It’s doubly hard when Eurogamer took an in-depth look at the first PS2 remasters (Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, Racer Revenge and Jedi Starfighter) and found that they truly are emulation. This isn’t even some new code being written for different hardware; it’s the same damn thing!

Yeah! I’ll rebuy that!!!!

I could maybe understand not allowing discs to be used as there were a tremendous amount of PS2 games, but previous digital purchases not being supported is just unacceptable. It’s downright criminal, if you ask me. For a company so prided on their dedication to their fans, this just reeks of greed.

I will not stand for it. I may not be able to speak with Sony directly, but I’m not going to buy a single one of these “PS2 remasters”. There is no point. If I give in, what’s to say that I won’t be buying a PS2 Re-Remaster on the PS5? In some cases (San Andreas), you may already be doing so.

Unless you really cannot find a functional PS2, don’t give in to Sony. Let them know that you demand to have your games back. Owning a disc should mean that I can use it; the PC format has been like that forever. Enough is enough with this remaster trend.

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Digital Distribution: I Sure Love Steam!

Digital Distribution is a relatively new idea that is beginning to take the video game industry by storm. While Valve launched the idea back in 2003 with Steam and access to “Counter-Strike 1.6,” most developers didn’t even bother considering the idea as viable until Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 in late 2005.

Since then, we’ve seen a huge influx of downloadable titles (of varying quality) and re-releases of classic titles. Is this good? To me, I think it’s fucking fantastic, but there is always a potential downside (just look at the PSN crash).

Let me start by saying that I didn’t get fully into Steam until after “Half-Life 2.” That was the first retail released game that required a Steam account, something I had already tinkered around with just to try “Counter-Strike 1.6.” I was pretty pissed off at the lack of quality control on the service and how it made me wait to play a game that I had a physical copy of.

Over the years, Steam grew. Boy did it grow. I didn’t buy anything else until “Half-Life 2: Episode One,” and even then I noticed changes. The server download speeds were upped; the amount of download servers was dramatically increased; the Valve Anti-Cheat measures were phenomenal. From that day forward, I vowed to always buy Valve games from the Steam client.


How the hell can you offer this for $7.50?!

“Orange Box” and “Left 4 Dead” came along and I was just sold on how seamless the experience was. I could wake up, buy a title, go to work and come home to game. It was awesome as hell. I never needed to deal with stupid customer service reps or wait in lines for highly anticipated titles. You never need to worry about running out of copies, either, as it’s impossible to do so.

Then Valve hit upon a gold mine; Why not broaden the service to other game developers. Soon EA, Ubisoft and Activision were jumping aboard and bringing their flagship titles to the service. “Call of Duty 4” launched on Steam and sold more copies than the boxed retail version.

What really got me hooked, though, were the sales. Valve, in another stroke of genius, decided to allow developers to sell their games for half-off during specifically timed events. This would get people buying and playing faster, quicker and with less of a dent to their wallet.

Not only was that a benefit to the player, but a lot of indie developers saw huge turnarounds. Introversion Software nearly went out of business, but the Steam sale of “DEFCON” and “Darwinia” saved them from closing down. That’s just brilliant.


That’s right, I have 139 games on Steam.

In the last few years, I’ve nearly repurchased my entire PC game collection (which was upwards of 200 titles). I love the fact that I can click a game’s name, wait for a 30 minute download and then start playing. I also love when I can talk to Jim about an old title and then gift him the game from the Steam client. It’s absolutely outstanding.

Better yet, Valve is starting to incorporate cloud based storage for a lot of their titles. They even let developers include Steam cloud support for their own titles. This lets you play on one PC and resume your progress on another (you can even do it between PC and Mac; genius!). The PS3 version of “Portal 2” lets you do it between consoles! That’s leaps and bounds ahead of Sony’s own solution to cloud based information (stupid PSN Plus).

The only downside I can think of with Steam is how easy the internet can be hacked. I know Valve keeps improving the measures they have to safe guard your account, but the recent PSN hacking has shown that no one is safe. If I ever lost my Steam account, I’d be out a few thousand dollars of purchased content. That would not make me happy.

I suppose the other problem I have is that my old games can’t just be registered without me paying more. I know developers love money, but it would be a strong showing of faith to allow me to just digitize my previous collection. I guess that’s asking a bit much, though.

Xbox Live Arcade and PSN have a lot of learning to do from Valve and Steam. Instead of trying to rip gamers off by barely discounting your titles, you should hold random sales on a consistent basis to garner up interest in your service. When Valve can offer their entire catalog for $50 (the price of Portal 2, currently!), there is no reason why I should have to pay $15 for premium games on XBLA.

Nintendo also has a bunch to learn, but even copying XBLA for them would be a huge step up. Valve just knows business and customer loyalty unlike anyone else. If they keep their current trend going, I will never feel sorry for having turned my PC to digital distribution only.

I think the best part is that I can finally dump all of my boxes (I unloaded 8 bags one weekend at the dump. That’s fucking nuts!).