I should probably start the article by stating that I do own an Xbox One. I do also have a PS4 – but my main gaming console is the Xbone. Over the years, though, I’ve switched allegiances. I started with the SNES (whilst dabbling in the Mega Drive), then moved to the N64. From there, I jumped ship onto the fanciful gaming machine that was the PS1. Eventually opting for a PS2 over the original Xbox. Then came the 360 and, probably by the closest decision over a gaming console I’ve made to date, I picked the Xbox One this generation.
Forgetting the SNES and the N64 – there’s a whole host of incredible games that come along with those awesome machines. Titles like the original Halo, Crash Bandicoot, Knights of the Old Republic, Call of Duty 2 (and pretty much every other CoD which was available on the PS3 and Xbox 360) epitomise those consoles. I miss those games, so I’m thankful that both Microsoft and Sony offer some kind of service to allow me to play them. But they are two very different services. Is one better than the other? I’d probably say so, but then a lot of that is down to preference.
Microsoft have created an emulator for the Xbox One. This allows you to play a selection of your old 360 games on the console. They’ve been systematically making games backwards compatible, as they hold talks with developers and publishers to make sure their games will work with the emulator. But the final decision is down to the developers or the publishers. If someone is planning a remaster of one of their 360 games, for instance, it’s their prerogative to say yay or nay to making that same game backwards compatible… take a wild guess at which one they’d opt for. It is a free service, though. So as soon as a game is backwards compatible you can insert your old disc, install that game and get to playing. It’s a pretty decent model, but it does leave me wanting some games which may never be made backwards compatible. Like Oblivion. Then again, they’ve added L4D2, World at War, and Red Dead quite recently – so I’m not complaining. That being said, there’s not much hope of original Xbox games being thrown into the mix, which is a real shame… mostly because I want to play Knights of the Old Republic again.
Sony, on the other hand, have come up with PlayStation Now. This is a subscription service, allowing you to play PS3 games on a multitude of devices (including your PC). In theory, it’s a great idea. Particularly for people who might not own a PlayStation console, but want to experience some of the PS3 titles that they missed last generation. Games like Journey, Uncharted 3, Devil May Cry 4 and The Last of Us are all there, waiting to be streamed. Sony have also stated that they’re looking to add PS1 and PS2 titles into the mix – which is pretty darn exciting. That being said, the service costs £12.99 a month. Which, to me, is pretty steep. As a slight comparative, EA Access is just £20 a year. Whilst the catalogue of games isn’t as vast, the games are far newer, and you’d struggle to pick them up for less than £10 each. Most of the 300 titles available on PlayStation Now, you’d be able to find on the cheap. Plus a pre-owned PS3 won’t set you back very much these days either. But, overall, I do like the fact that you’re not locked to a console with PlayStation Now. If I want to play old 360 games, I’ll have to buy a 360 or a One. With PSNow, I can just dip into the catalogue through my PC, or even my TV.
Both have their merits. To be honest, if the subscription fee for PSNow was slightly less… perhaps £5 p/m… it’d be difficult to argue that Microsoft’s backwards compatibility service was better. But I feel that £12.99 is a bit steep for what you get. So, for that reason, I’d say that Microsoft’s emulator wins the day. Though I do love the fact that PSNow is open to anyone – so it is certainly a close race for me.
Which do you prefer? Or are you not fussed with older games, now that you’ve got the new titles to play with? Let me know in the comments below!