Types of Backwards Compatibility
Software-Based Backwards Compatibility
The most common type of Backwards Compatibility found in the video game industry today. Software-Based Backwards Compatibility
lets older software work on newer hardware and/or newer software. For example, one would be able to play a game originally designed for the Playstation
on a PS2
. Another example of this would be playing a game designed for the Windows 95 operating system on Windows XP. Software-Based Backwards Compatibility
is so common that a lot of us take it for granted, even though it's usually a lot of work to get something originally designed to work on one thing to work on something entirely different.
Hardware-Based Backwards Compatibility Hardware-Based backwards compatibility
is less common in the video game industry, but it still has it's place. Hardware-Based Backwards compatibility
occurs when one piece of hardware, designed to work on older software and/or hardware, is also able to be used on newer hardware, through the use of using the same type of software installed on the new hardware and/or the same type of physical input. Sometimes, Hardware-Based Backwards Compatibility
is unintentional. For example, the controller port on the Atari 2600
is the same as the controller port on the Sega Genesis
. The two consoles were manufactured by two different companies, and were released 12 years apart from each other, however, you can use either controller for either system. This case, and most other cases of Hardware-Based Backwards Compatibility
follow the law of Duel Compatibility as well, which leads us to the next section...
Dual Compatibility Dual compatibility
occurs when a new piece of hardware/software is able to be used on the product it is associated with, as well as older products, either intentionally or unintentionally. An example of this would be DLC
Tracks released for Rock Band 2
being able to also be played on Rock Band 1
. Another example is the Dual-format discs that the Burger King promotional games Sneak King
, Pocketbike Racer
, and Big Bumpin'
came on, which allowed you to play the game on either the Xbox 360
or the original Xbox
Forwards Compatibility Forwards compatibility
occurs when a product is designed to be "Future-Proof", meaning it will still be able to work once the new product comes out. Most of the time, this is transparent to the consumer, and therefore is interpreted by the public as Backwards Compatibility
, even though it was already planned ahead of time.