Playstation 4: on backwards compatibility, cross-buying, and indie games

ps4It’s kind of crazy to think that, ten years ago, when I was paying for my N64 with my hard-earned allowance, I was actually a little sad. I wasn’t upset because it took so long to save up that the GameCube was practically already released; no, I was upset because it would be yet another six months before I could actually afford to buy any games for it.

Now, in light of my recent PS4 purchase, I found myself thinking back to that moment with a smile when, as soon as signed in to my PSN account and navigated to the “Library” tab, I saw that I already had a plethora of games to play. Some were old favorites cross-bought from my PS3 and Vita, some were new that I had gotten for free through Playstation Plus. All were welcome. 

I haven’t been following video game news for that long now, maybe just over a year, but one thing seems pretty clear to me: Sony is much more involved in publishing indie games than either of the other two big consoles. My understanding is that the Xbox 360 used to be a bastion for these kinds of games but has since fallen off the map due to too many restrictions and underwhelming support from Microsoft itself.

So what does this mean for me, a PS3, PS4, and Vita owner? Well, it basically means that all three of those things are now indie game machines and, for the most part, it doesn’t even matter what platform I’m playing on at the time because tons of games have cross-save functionality now (although how much of that is due to my Playstation Plus membership, I don’t know). Just recently I was playing Grim Fandango on my Vita before bed then woke up and immediately started playing on PS4 using the same save. Genius.

But maybe the most important thing about all of this is that, from now on, transitions from one generation of console to the next will be a lot smoother, at least when it comes to smaller games (if anyone knows of any cross-buy triple A games, let me know).

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