Microsoft/Xbox Pushing Backwards Compatibility Hard, With Specific Nods Towards Game Preservation

from the a-start dept

If it seems like the topic of preserving antiquated video games as art keeps coming up, that's because it's very much starting to become a popular topic in the gaming industry and among the gaming public. The headwinds facing the proper preservation of this ever-growing subsect of culture are fairly clear. The very tools that have been used by fans to keep these older games alive and playable have too often been viewed as a threat to some gaming companies. As with all things in life, copyright is also getting in the way, as are some industry groups coming out against vile threats like museums and curation groups looking to keep old games alive for the public. Even preserving old game manuals is a prospect that only survives because of fair use.

One recent suggestion we discussed was to make it part of the the game development culture to publish the source code for any PC game publicly. If this sounds like a bonkers idea that would risk a game developer all of its income, well, Doom did this, so no you're wrong. But, as we also discussed recently when Sony officially announced it was ceasing support of the PlayStation Store for PSP, Vita, and PS3 owners, this suggested cure does zero for console games.

Well, I can't say for sure that whoever is crafting PR and messaging for Microsoft's Xbox is a Techdirt reader, but you sure might think so if you see how they're crafting the messaging around their big backwards-compatibility push.

Backward compatibility has been a key feature of Microsoft’s Xbox Series X/S marketing efforts, with the company promoting the consoles’ ability to play a wide range of original Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One games.  And on Tuesday, Microsoft brought backward compatible titles to Xbox cloud gaming for the first time by making a number of classic games from Rare, Bethesda and others available to Android users with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription.

“As time goes on, it becomes more important than ever that we ensure gaming icons and classics are preserved for new and old players alike,” the official Xbox Twitter account posted on Wednesday.  “Whether your first time playing Morrowind is from 2002 on your Xbox or 2021 on your phone, we’re excited to share these experiences with you!”

Two immediate thoughts leap to mind reading this. First, to be completely realistic, this isn't a full solution to the problem of console game preservation, either. One console keeping older games from a handful of developers available by continuing to sell them on modern hardware and platforms is not in any way the same thing as making sure that curators or museums that focus on the art of video games can do the work they should be doing. But it is also certainly a step in the right direction and shows a path where developers and publishers, if they elect to put forth the effort, can work with other platforms and providers to keep aging games available and playable. It's a baby step, but it's a step.

But the more important aspect of this is that the chatter about game preservation is clearly building into the lexicon of the industry. When you get the Xbox Twitter account talking about it, well, it means some people within the industry are paying attention to it. And it wasn't just one Xbox Twitter account getting this message out there.

In an Xbox Wire interview this week, Rare studio head Craig Duncan said backward compatibility is playing an “essential” role in preserving video game history.

“There are just a bunch of inherent complexities when generations and platforms change and being able to relive games you played previously and fondly remember is important,” he said. "Those games contain memories and moments you can share with others and being able to do that quickly by just selecting the game in Xbox Game Pass is easy and just works with no fuss. The alternative is firing up an older console, finding all the cables, and preserving the discs so they still work (which some collectors do as a passionate hobby),” Duncan continued. “Making the history of games available to everyone and making your game library a click away is awesome.”

Right on message, almost as though this were part of a messaging campaign at the worst, or the output of a philosophy from Microsoft at best. Either would be a step in the right direction.

Again, is this Microsoft committing to help preserve games in the museum sense? Not at all. But keeping older games available and playable is the primary goal here and any help the company wants to be to make sure this culture and art aren't lost to time is welcome.

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Filed Under: backwards compatibility, game preservation, video games, xbox
Companies: microsoft


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  1. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 5 Apr 2021 @ 8:46pm

    If cost of keeping available is < income per sale = WIN!

    It also allows them to boast a much larger catalog of games.

    Opens the door to people who maybe never played halo to experience it from the beginning & keep buying through the franchise.

    Games that spawned memes that people didn't always get, oh hey thats what they meant.

    Oh look I grew up playing this game timmy, lets play it together. Generational fans.

    Allowing games to be preserved isn't bad, wrong, evil...
    It is a shared culture & while the industries love to lock it up forever or until they can't find a way to make another penny off of it.
    But how can you look at the pissed off consumers who are discovering they can;t buy their favorite shows from when they were kids, or all the sound was remastered b/c licensing agreements ended.

    There are people out there who want these things & my fsm if you can't figure out that goodwill from consumers is better than trying to squeeze another nickel out of them right now you should leave the business.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Apr 2021 @ 9:23pm

    It all sounds great. However there is an underlying part here I don't agree with.

    In order to access these games of the past, mostly Microsoft requires you pay not only for the game but also pay a monthly membership to access them. If you just have the game but not the paid membership, good luck on getting your game to work.

    The part I don't agree with is what we have seen so many times with digital offerings. One day Microsoft decides they aren't making the money they expected and kill the host server along with the membership roles.

    They did much the same when they got out of the music business. Once they closed shop on the authorizing server, if you hadn't burned your purchases to disc, they were gone. The money you spent on a product that was now worthless.

    This doesn't look any better when it comes to the ability to get use out of what you purchased as it relies on Microsoft not having a change of heart sometime in the future, maybe next month, who knows.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Godzilla vs Kong... I bet on the US Navy!, 5 Apr 2021 @ 9:34pm

    The word you wanted is a subset of characters in "subsect".

    Since there's no "subsect" and as nonce word doesn't make sense, then you wanted "subset". Thanks for letting me make the pun, though.

    What I like about this piece is that you re-wrote from someone else, long after too, and now claim that Microsoft must have read YOUR re-write and gotten hot on the topic. Sheesh. What self-aggrandizement. A good writer never mentions himself at all, let alone tries to grab credit he can't at all show.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Godzilla vs Kong... I bet on the US Navy!, 5 Apr 2021 @ 9:35pm

    Re: The word you wanted is a subset of characters in "subse

    Anyhoo, this nostalgia is just an aspect of the unbalanced minds of "gamers". It's an addiction that only takes hold in dull or dulled personalities. You "gamers" begin to resemble 60s hippies romanticizing your wasted youth, trying to convince yourself it wasn't wasted. As one of the first wave of guys playing video games (TRS-80 with cassette tape) and one of the first cheaters by modifying the BASIC to re-write data files for all 18s characteristics, best weapons and armor, free supplies, I had enough when observed that A) the computer is always able to slick you -- beware the "Spirit of Geb"! three quick whacks slicked me despite cheatfully acquired +3 full plate! -- and B) computer games are intrinsically limited. Though graphics have gotten beyond the 128x48 black and white, and they pretend are stories and goals, it's actually still just wandering around to find where you get slicked, then tedious trial and error to avoid that. And don't get me started on that most games now are pretending to murder people. That's beyond unbalanced to psychotic.

    But you don't need me to tell you this: your own brain does, it's programmed to break out of repetitive loops. You evidently have the resolve and intoxicants to overcome your firmware. Congrats, I guess.


    [Screen name written before saw the poster! They're actually ON an aircraft carrier! Am I psychic, or what?]

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    PaulT (profile), 5 Apr 2021 @ 10:59pm

    Re: Re: The word you wanted is a subset of characters in "s

    "Anyhoo, this nostalgia is just an aspect of the unbalanced minds of "gamers""

    So, your position is based on the idea that nostalgia doesn't exist anywhere outside of gamers? Your position is that the only people who will ever play older games are the people who played them when they were new?

    "And don't get me started on that most games now are pretending to murder people."

    Yes, if you exclude the many, many games where this does not happen in any way, shape or form, it does seem to be a problem.

    "That's beyond unbalanced to psychotic."

    Well, you are the resident expert on such things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    PaulT (profile), 5 Apr 2021 @ 11:06pm

    Re:

    "mostly Microsoft requires you pay not only for the game but also pay a monthly membership to access them"

    Key word: mostly. You can put an XBox 360 disc into an XBox One, and you don't have to pay anything for the compatible version to be downloaded. You only have to pay for online features, as you would have done with the original game on original hardware. Obviously you have to pay for a new copy if you don't own the disc, or to rent it as part of Game Pass.

    "The part I don't agree with is what we have seen so many times with digital offerings. One day Microsoft decides they aren't making the money they expected and kill the host server along with the membership roles"

    Weird, our resident fantasy author happened across something that's a real issue. Although, you're incorrect in relation to existing backward compatible downloads - they won't stop working if the console or servers are offline except obviously the online features of those games. You just wouldn't be able to download the compatible version of a new game you tried using.

    So, what's your solution to making sure that Microsoft is incentivised to continue developing backward compatibility for older games that won't work natively on current and future platforms, if not paying them?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    PaulT (profile), 5 Apr 2021 @ 11:11pm

    Re:

    "There are people out there who want these things & my fsm if you can't figure out that goodwill from consumers is better than trying to squeeze another nickel out of them right now you should leave the business."

    I'd include myself here - when the XBox One came out I had a sizeable backlog of 360 games. I wanted to continue in the XBox ecosystem as I prefer their achievements system, but the disastrous launch of the One (overpriced due to mandated Kinect, major privacy concerns, always-on requirements even for single player games or non-gaming activity, etc.) put me off with the intention of eventually getting a PS4. What got me to buy the One after all was their major about-turn where they removed the Kinect and other requirements and introduced a robust backward compatibility system.

    Note, this wasn't to access some fluffy nostalgia trip, it was to allow me to upgrade while still able to play the games I had bought but not played yet...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2021 @ 1:15am

    How is this not just like what the other media companies do, monetizing selections from their legacy catalog and then using that as ammo in the copyright fight, to claim they’ve never truly abandoned anything which the public feels entitled to preserve, copy, and share?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Strawb (profile), 6 Apr 2021 @ 1:16am

    Doom source code

    If this sounds like a bonkers idea that would risk a game developer all of its income, well, Doom did this, so no you're wrong.

    While it's unlikely that it would make much of a difference, a singular example from 24 years ago does not make this fact. We would need to see more developers do this to really see if there was any kind of impact, especially considering the gaming landscape is very different now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Strawb (profile), 6 Apr 2021 @ 1:28am

    Re:

    It very well might be, but any kind of game preservation is still wonderful.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2021 @ 1:37am

    Re:

    Actually, the monthly paid membership is exclusively to specifically access the online features of games. And this specifically only extends to games which make use of microsoft's matchmaking systems and excludes F2P games and MMOs with their own subscriptions. No subscription is needed to just fire up your owned games and play their single player component. Or even for LAN play of multiplayer games which allow direct connections.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2021 @ 1:45am

    Re:

    In addition, Microsoft did one thing far smarter when it came to long-term planning over Sony. Their store backend is universal across all their console generations and platforms. They all access it for delivery. It costs nothing extra to specifically keep say, XBox 360 games on there alongside everything else. So the only reason for them ever to shut down the servers would be that Microsoft were 100% getting out of the console AND PC gaming market forever, which excluding them somehow going bankrupt is unlikely in the foreseeable future, but as wuth Steam, Origin, Epic et al, remains a concern with all digital stores.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    PaulT (profile), 6 Apr 2021 @ 1:49am

    Re:

    It's different because we've not seen them do the latter yet. Also, given that copyright lasts longer now than you or I will be alive, isn't it better to do this than to have a future where no game can legally run on hardware newer than what it was released on? I think this is better than letting everything become "abandonware" and expecting people to jump through legally questionable hoops in order to run them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2021 @ 2:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So, your position is based on the idea that nostalgia doesn't exist anywhere outside of gamers?

    The perspective of copyright has always never really mattered to creators - just the people that the copyright cartel considers monetarily worthwhile to defend.

    Copyright enforcement suing all the wrong people? "Well, too bad, content creators are starving!"

    Indie filmmakers hurt by a refusal by corporations to respect fair use? "Well, nobody cares about indie content anyway, you pirates only download Hollywood things!"

    Estates still holding onto the creations and rights held by corpses? "Well, you idiots need to come up with original things anyway!"

    Content you bought no longer playable due to hardware issues? "Fuck you too, you've got too much money!"

    Copyright is not about making sure creators get paid. It's about making sure copyright enforcers get paid. It's like charity in a sense, in that there's no real way to make sure that the money goes to where everyone thinks the money should go - except far scummier.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 6 Apr 2021 @ 2:53am

    Re: Re:

    Its almost as if you stop trying to stop the "bad guys" from doing the "bad things" you have nightmares about & focus on the people who do pay you, their concerns, their desires... you get better responses.

    There are rumors of a bygone age when companies cared more about the people who paid them & did their best to offer the best experiences for them. That pouring more resources into trying to keep the nightmares away lead to them forgetting that some people did pay them & deserve more than being treated as just a revenue stream to be milked.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2021 @ 2:57am

    Re: Re: Re: The word you wanted is a subset of characters in &qu

    It's funny because we're in the middle of a massive renaissance of games which eschew violence in favour of social or deductive skills, after they proved massively successful in the indie space and publishers scrambled to try and get in on the action.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2021 @ 5:11am

    all I want for Christmas

    All I want is:
    -Burnout 2 Point of Impact on the next gen consoles (preferably the Xbox Series X)
    -to be able to OWN and play all of the previous 2D Metroid titles on the Switch

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    PaulT (profile), 6 Apr 2021 @ 5:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The word you wanted is a subset of characters in

    It's not even a modern thing. Find the killing in, say, Pong, Tetris or Frogger.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. icon
    crade (profile), 6 Apr 2021 @ 6:51am

    Being able to buy the game again and get a version that will run on the new console is not backwards compatibility. Don't get me wrong, it's still good, but backwards compatible means being able to play the games that were released for the old system, not just having new releases of them available for the new system

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2021 @ 7:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The word you wanted is a subset of character

    glances at my most recently played 10 games

    Elite Dangerous - in which I play a space trucker delivering goods across the galaxy. I get shot at, but never have guns on my ships, they weigh too much, and I'm not peeing in a bottle because of time constraints, space Amazon!

    Forza Horizon 4 - Cars and seasonal weather in the British Isles. I guess the killing is all wrapped up in the UK's legacy of colonialism?

    The Medium - Helping the spirits of the deceased pass on. They were all dead when I found them.

    The Witcher 3 - An RPG about monster hunters which regularly rewards me bonus experience and/or money for resolving situations nonviolently.

    Outer Wilds - Groundhog Day in space. Everyone dies, but that's just because the sun explodes every 25 minutes.

    Hitman 3 - The epitome of "pretending to murder people", and yet the game actively penalises you for harming anyone but the one specific person you're tasked with killing.

    Disco Elysium - If at any point you kill someone in this game, it's a: more than likely yourself. and b: probably about to result in a game over.

    Observer - Every dead person you come across is a crime scene to investigate. You get to experience a lot of their deaths from their perspective thanks to the memory hacking, so uh, literally the opposite of killing people?

    Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1&2 - These games were super fun 3 console generations ago, and guess what? They're also super fun now! The new graphics are a bonus, but really, the gameplay always remained solid. Don't try some of those tricks IRL though unless you're actually an experienced skater, or you probably will kill yourself.

    Cloudpunk - Cyberpunk gig economy simulator. You could definitely murder a cup of coffee in it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2021 @ 7:58am

    Re:

    To me, “having new releases of them available for the new system”, is remastering the original game — which is fine.
    Backwards compatibility, though, means being to play the original game on the new system —FULL STOP, PERIOD.
    Ideally, you can play your original physical/digital copy of the game, on the new system, without having to re-purchase the game...Ideally. Also enhancements (HDR, higher frame rates, etc.) added to the original game are icing on the cake.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. icon
    crade (profile), 6 Apr 2021 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re:

    Backwards compatibility means being able to play the original releases on the new system. If you need to repurchase the game to play it then it isn't backwards compatible with the old system, and you will probably have stupid rights issues and junk so that the games you already have and want to play won't even be available to repurchase

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Rekrul, 6 Apr 2021 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re:

    Key word: mostly. You can put an XBox 360 disc into an XBox One, and you don't have to pay anything for the compatible version to be downloaded. You only have to pay for online features, as you would have done with the original game on original hardware. Obviously you have to pay for a new copy if you don't own the disc, or to rent it as part of Game Pass.

    So you don't have to have a monthly membership to Microsoft's online service for the Xbox One to go online and download the compatible version? And of course once the server is gone, so is the ability to download that version. Or to download patches for the broken retail version that you got on the physical copy. Or any of the DLC...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Rekrul, 6 Apr 2021 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The word you wanted is a subset of character

    It's not even a modern thing. Find the killing in, say, Pong, Tetris or Frogger.

    Frogger is full of killing! The cars and trucks kill your frog, snakes and alligators eat it, your frog drowns in the water, he kills bugs by eating them. Frogger is non-stop animal carnage! ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Rekrul, 6 Apr 2021 @ 8:44am

    And yet Microsoft is the company with a pretty spotty record when it comes to Windows backwards compatibility. As I recall, the move to 64-bit broke a lot of game installers that relied on 16-bit sub-systems. You'd think that Microsoft, the company that made the OS would be the ones in the best position to issue some kind of a patch to overcome this issue, but it's almost always the fans who do the work of making old games work on newer systems.

    Starting with the PS3 and Xbox 360, going forward there are going to be tons of missing and broken games as the servers are taken down, or those consoles are excluded from accessing them. Even users with physical copies won't be able to download all the various DLC that was released after the game. It's not even guaranteed that they'll still be able to download the patches needed to fix the broken retail copy that they have on the disc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2021 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I hate that licensing crap too.
    That's why we can't have nice things, like the original Crazy Taxi (with the original music), and probably why we still can't have Burnout 2. Perpetual licensing, perpetual copyrights, perpetual crap.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. icon
    crade (profile), 6 Apr 2021 @ 11:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Show me someone who says they think one should have to renegotiate all your copyright licenses just to publish your game/movie in a format compatible with current technology and I will show someone with an ulterior motive

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. icon
    PaulT (profile), 6 Apr 2021 @ 12:38pm

    Re:

    "Being able to buy the game again and get a version that will run on the new console is not backwards compatibility."

    You can play older games on the XBox with a compatibility download without paying for it again, as long as you have the physical disc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. icon
    PaulT (profile), 6 Apr 2021 @ 12:47pm

    Re:

    As much as I hated MS back in the day - the company that exists now is not the company that existed then. They've been dragged into accepting some FOSS and standards co-operability and the XBox division is doing a lot of what they're doing now because they were decimated in the marketplace when they tried being cocky and exclusionist.

    "As I recall, the move to 64-bit broke a lot of game installers that relied on 16-bit sub-systems."

    Because you can't expect a company to support features that almost nobody ever uses at great expense to themselves and which put huge barriers in front of new development. Legacy code is a nightmare and blocks progress long term. At some point, you have to accept that that 30 year old program you're trying to run either needs to be run on an old PC or use a 3rd party workaround like DOSBox or ScummVM. As far as I'm aware, MS have never tried blocking those other projects, and all software has a supported shelf life.

    Give credit where credit's due - new XBox models can run hundreds of games that were never designed to run on the new hardware, MS have provided the tools to do so with no required additional cost if you own the original discs, and the only reason they haven't provided more titles is due to expired 3rd party licences which they could not control.

    "Starting with the PS3 and Xbox 360, going forward there are going to be tons of missing and broken games as the servers are taken down"

    Also PC. No format is safe from that today.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. icon
    PaulT (profile), 6 Apr 2021 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The word you wanted is a subset of chara

    Thumbs up for Observer. I've also been playing Tacoma, The Talos Principle and Deliver Us The Moon in recent months (I have a habit of diving into games to complete 100% achievements as they're about to leave Game Pass, so sorry that those games aren't there for people wanting those recommendations).

    3rd person sci-fi puzzle/investigation games wasn't a genre I expected to get into but here we are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. icon
    PaulT (profile), 6 Apr 2021 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hopefully this will change. The same problem exists with old TV shows and movies sometimes - the music rights were negotiated in a particular way that tied them to a particular release or format, usually because that made them cheaper to buy. Fast forward to a format or release type (digital) that nobody writing the original contracts even considered existing, and you have games being unable to be released, theme tunes being missing from releases of TV shows or a generation of people going "why isn't The Offspring on my Crazy Taxi?).

    I have no doubt that new licences being agreed will have the forward compatibility baked in, but it is annoying when the lawyers are the reason why you can't have what you want to pay for.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2021 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    So you don't have to have a monthly membership to Microsoft's online service for the Xbox One to go online and download the compatible version?

    You literally do not, no. That is not a thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. identicon
    Michael, 6 Apr 2021 @ 1:50pm

    Library of Congress is the obvious solution

    Why aren't we pushing legislators to simply add game source code (and 4K movies, and FLAC music files) to those things that the Library of Congress collects by default? This is entirely within the mission of the LoC (they already house millions of born-digital assets), and the infrastructure is already in place to store and maintain these things. Yes, it would take some funding. No, it would not be a difficult undertaking.

    /librarian

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. icon
    crade (profile), 6 Apr 2021 @ 4:07pm

    Re: Re:

    yes and also they let you carry forward your library which is great. strangely though they seem to have a short list of original xbox games it can play.. so you dont have to pay which is awesome but it looks more like they have migrated 0.05% of the xbox games rather than its 0.05% backwards compatible. it sounds like you can get free access to the migrated version with your disc but only the ones they migrated

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. icon
    crade (profile), 6 Apr 2021 @ 4:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I sure hope it will change.. not that I don't love living in a world where some record exec or dead musician's spoiled brats can hold your favorite old tv shows hostage forever in the hopes of being able to live their whole lives without ever having to contribute anything to society..

    Someone should rule it fair use at some point, it's not like people are going to be buying your game / show instead of listening to the song on spotify.. The only reason you can get more money from the song is because you can hold the authentic version of the show or game hostage with it

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2021 @ 6:00pm

    Re: Library of Congress is the obvious solution

    Yeah, this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. icon
    PaulT (profile), 6 Apr 2021 @ 10:11pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "So you don't have to have a monthly membership to Microsoft's online service for the Xbox One to go online and download the compatible version? "

    No.

    https://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/backward-compatibility

    Is Xbox Live Gold required for backward compatibility?

    Xbox Live Gold is not required for Xbox Backward Compatibility. However, it is required for any standard Xbox Live Gold feature like online multiplayer.

    Any other easily found factual information you want us to spoon feed you?

    "And of course once the server is gone, so is the ability to download that version."

    ...and they could just not offer the feature at all so you're stuck with your old hardware. Whereby with this method you have more choice of where the run the game. So?

    Or to download patches for the broken retail version that you got on the physical copy. Or any of the DLC..."

    The same is true if they don't offer the BC version. What's your problem here?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. icon
    PaulT (profile), 6 Apr 2021 @ 10:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I sure hope it will change.. not that I don't love living in a world where some record exec or dead musician's spoiled brats can hold your favorite old tv shows hostage forever"

    The problem isn't so much that, it's just another case of lawyers being short-sighted and trying to get as much money in the short term as possible. TV shows in the 70s/80s were produced with the assumption that they'll be broadcast once then maybe go to syndication if they were lucky, so licences were negotiated with that in mind. They didn't conceive of the ability to sell entire seasons onVHS then DVD then digital, so the licences didn't cover that and have to be renegotiated with the added expense of negotiating with parties who also understand that. Similarly, game licences were often negotiated with the assumption that they're produce a batch of discs, maybe a couple of batches if they were lucky, then not need it again. They didn't conceive of digital stores where copies can be infinitely produced forever at zero cost, so have to renegotiate for that new reality.

    "Someone should rule it fair use at some point"

    Something that requires a licence will never be fair use in order to circumvent the licence. The only fix here is for less restrictive licencing to become the norm - i.e. instead of licences that say "this licence is for formats X and Y" (which is why licences need to be renegotiated when format Z appears) or licences that say "the product is licenced for 5 years" (which is why digital games often get delisted after a certain amount of time", the standard becomes "we licence in perpetuity in return for agreed royalties".

    Like everything else, this is changing but slowly. There's some weird goings on in the background and it's becoming more common to see certain titles get relisted on the XBox store after being relicenced or having some other agreements renewed, but there will be problems until the lawyers get their acts together.

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  39. icon
    PaulT (profile), 6 Apr 2021 @ 10:27pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "strangely though they seem to have a short list of original xbox games it can play"

    It's not particularly strange. The way backward compatibility is produced is that they essentially create a customised emulator for each game to wrap around the original code. It's not a one size fits all approach, each game has to have emulation individually tailored, so they concentrated on more popular 360 games to begin with before doing the work on original XBox titles. The aim is to get as much done as possible, but it can be a slow process - there was a lot of wailing and moaning from people waiting for CoD:MW2 and Fallout 3 IIRC, but the amount of testing required to ensure emulation was working correctly was a very long process.

    There's also the other issue of developers - the process requires input for the original dev teams as far as I understand it, so if the original team no longer exists they may not be able to do this. Plus of course licencing - they can only offer a title as BC if they can legally offer it on their store, and they can't do that for licenced games they have expired licences.

    They bonus to all of this is that they're not just emulating, they're offering upscaling and other tricks on some games to make them better than the originals ever were if you run them of the Series S or X.

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  40. icon
    PaulT (profile), 6 Apr 2021 @ 10:28pm

    Re: Library of Congress is the obvious solution

    I'd guess the main problem is getting politicians who usually campaign on "video games are evil" to shut up and accept them as a valuable part of culture. Which I think might still take some time but is inevitable in the longer term.

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  41. icon
    crade (profile), 7 Apr 2021 @ 6:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Something that requires a licence will never be fair use in order to circumvent the licence."

    I'm not sure what you are saying here.. That is the definition of fair use, every time it applies is a case where something that would require a license without fair use doesn't because it's deemed fair use..

    Consumers used to require a license to do their own format shifting here for the same reason, basically no one predicted the need ahead of time.. Now it's considered fair use for basically the same reasons this should be,

    The value isn't legitimately coming from the music, the draw comes from the show or game and these cases are clearly trying to leverage the fact that you can't reuse the original game / show without spending a bunch of work to take the music out and then having an inauthentic version rather than leveraging any legitimate draw from the music or other copywritten material, which is not what copyright is intended for

    So you aren't really saying it's going to change, you are saying we are stuck with this bullshit forever, but it will affect you less if you like new games/shows instead of old ones because they are tweaking their agreements for new stuff to take it into account like they did with vinyl records including mp3 downloads for a while before format shifting for consumers was deemed fair use here

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  42. icon
    crade (profile), 7 Apr 2021 @ 7:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Maybe a compulsory licensing scheme might make more sense.. those are tricky too but they should do something. It's just not right how it is, extortion is not a legitimate use of copyright.

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  43. identicon
    Rekrul, 7 Apr 2021 @ 7:11am

    Re: Re:

    Also PC. No format is safe from that today.

    The difference being that with computer games (at least in the past), users could download the game patches and archive them for the future. I have a ton of patches for old games burned to disc so that if/when I install those games I can simply pull the patch out of my archives. As far as I know, you can't do that with a console game.

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  44. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2021 @ 7:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The same things which mean that you need specific emulator tweaks to get a game running without bugs, also mean you can add nice stuff the original didn't support. When the 360 launched with support for running original XBox games under emulation, it completely broke Panzer Dragoon Orta, with a crash after completing the second level, because the emulator didn't account for specific quirks of that game and others. It took over a decade to get it running again on XBox One with a dedicated compatibility mode in that system's original XBox emulator. But giving games that extra attention to ensure they work in your emulation then means that not only can you fix issues like this, you can then go and add stuff the original console was wholly incapable of, like increased FPS and HDR.

    I suspect they were inspired to implement the D3D-level FPS boost to their emulation after seeing Morrowind, a game that never inclued a framerate cap on console, running at 60fps on XBox One, when the original hardware 20 years ago ran it at framerates that'd make Cyberpunk 2077 on console point and laugh.

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  45. icon
    crade (profile), 7 Apr 2021 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well it's strange to call it backwards compatible if you need to migrate every single game individually to the new system.. Devs migrate games between systems all the time, it means game has been migrated to both systems, but it doesn't make the systems compatible with each other. We didn't say the gameboy color was backwards compatible with the nes because they migrated excitebike to it

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  46. icon
    PaulT (profile), 7 Apr 2021 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Here's the thing - I'm not talking about customers or end users here, I'm talking about distributors and developers, and that changes the whole argument.

    If you personally have a copy of an old game or TV show and you want to format shift or use an emulator to make them usable on a newer system, that's acceptable if you're not distributing the original to others. Once you do that, it's infringing.

    But, for the situations we're talking about here - the original producers agree a licence for X years or Y format. Once that licence expires, they can no longer copy or distribute the product without also infringing.

    To continue to legally sell more copies, they have to renegotiate the licences. Sometimes, this is so easy that you don't know that they ever had to do it (and it does happen all the time, we just notice the obvious exceptions). Other times, things have changed too much - the original copyright owner no longer exists, or they've not realised they had a cash cow on their hands and demand so much more money that it's no longer economically viable to continue to do make more copies.

    So, the original producers have a choice - pay more licencing fees and hope they can still make a profit, replace the licenced material with something that they know they can afford, or just remove the item from sale. Bear in mind that the licence is applied at the moment of duplication, so for physical discs that applies to the last batch manufacturers, whereas with digital it's the moment a new copy is sold. That's why you can often buy a new console disc of something that's been delisted from digital stores.

    Because we're talking commercial distribution here, fair use doesn't apply. They have to either abide by the licence or face prosecution if they continue to sell without a valid licence.

    It's annoying, but it's not the same as personal copying. The only real fix is for licence holders to understand that they're killing the golden goose if they ask for too much money, and that new licences with overly restrictive terms loses them money on the long tail.

    "So you aren't really saying it's going to change"

    Not at all, and I've already stated that there's signs that it is. I know of numerous games that have become available on the XBox store after being delisted for rights issues, and I can name a few TV shows that are available now for the first time digitally after rights issues were resolved. But, it's not going to change quickly

    "like they did with vinyl records including mp3 downloads for a while before format shifting for consumers was deemed fair use here"

    I fear you're conflating a few things here. Fair use would be you format shifting the vinyl to MP3. MP3 downloads however have nothing to do with fair use. The problem there was that major labels refused to licence music to digital stores unless they were infected with DRM. That changed when they realised how much power they were giving Apple and how much money they left on the table with stores like Amazon refusing to enter the digital music sales business until they were allowed to offer MP3.

    Hopefully the same will happen here, but I don't think it will be a quick process.

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  47. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2021 @ 7:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If you can put your original discs in and play the games on them, what would you call it?

    Notably, several games do not require a patch for the emulator to run them right off the disc, Bayonetta comes to mind, and it REALLY reminds you how LOUD the optical drive in the normally silent Series X is, let me tell you!

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  48. icon
    PaulT (profile), 7 Apr 2021 @ 7:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Well it's strange to call it backwards compatible if you need to migrate every single game individually to the new system."

    Well, it's the name that stuck for marketing purposes, whether or not it's technically accurate. The point is that it's not just a case of creating a single emulated platform then letting you install what you want on there, it' a process that's far more involved than that. It's still preferable to have that than it is to keep multiple consoles lying around just in case you want to access a certain title, so long as the titles you want are supported.

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  49. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2021 @ 7:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Honestly, I am still hoping someone at Microsoft takes note of this and gives us the opportunity to install games like this one to the console's SSD and use the disc just for ownership verification, because the console sounds like a jet taking off for the duration of a play session. But the publisher since released a "remaster" of the game (It's just a port with little new to speak of, just a dedicated SKU for the newer hardware) so those of us who don't want to restart our saves we started two console generations ago are stuck with this, I guess.

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  50. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2021 @ 7:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Indeed, I myself have been tempted to stick a Series S in debug mode and install Retroarch just so I can dispense with the demonic tangle of wires and SCART switchers behind my CRT TV that currently hosts my Electron, Master System, Mega Drive, Saturn, Dreamcast, PS2, Gamecube, and Wii, and rip roms of the contents of my giant display cabinet of games for them all onto a single HD I can hook up to that one console.

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  51. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2021 @ 7:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    These days it's getting a lot harder to rely on many of those patches, which is why I keep recommending people who are less tech-savvy get the GoG versions of games they may already own the original discs for, where all the various official and third party compatibility patches required to run the game on modern hardware or operating systems, often hosted in disparate corners of the internet, are compiled together into a single installer.

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  52. icon
    crade (profile), 7 Apr 2021 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I know of numerous games that have become available on the XBox store after being delisted for rights issues"

    But that isn't change, it's just the cases were some companies eventually cave in and pay the disproportionate amount to be able to get their stuff released, or they have spent (basically completely wasted) the extra effort to remove the licensed content. That's status quo where we only get those exceptional cases released in current technology where companies decide being able to release their own part of the content is worth it to suck it up and either pay whatever exorbitant amount is asked for the previously licensed part or if we are lucky it's easy or worth their effort to remove it. Those are exceptions, they aren't changing the rule, even slowly

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  53. icon
    PaulT (profile), 7 Apr 2021 @ 11:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "gives us the opportunity to install games like this one to the console's SSD and use the disc just for ownership verification"

    This seems weird to me, since although I haven't upgraded to the Series X yet I haven't encountered a game that I didn't need to install to hard drive first (even the One games need installing). Did they change something, or I wonder if there's a setting that's on the console? It seems weird that they're remove the installation option for new consoles, unless there's some weird specific permissions or licence issue with SEGA.

    I was going to check my version, but I realised my copy of Bayonetta was from GwG and not a physical disc.

    "those of us who don't want to restart our saves we started two console generations ago are stuck with this, I guess"

    2 generations ago would be the 360, where you still have access to saves in the cloud if you have/had Gold and had that turned on when you used the 360. If you have Gold now and access to your original console you would be able to copy the save to the cloud and use it on the new console.

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  54. icon
    PaulT (profile), 7 Apr 2021 @ 11:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, that would be the ideal solution - one big emulator to cover all previous generations of Xbox on one console. I believe the problem with that happening is that full 360 emulation on the One would cause some major performance issues with bigger AAA games or games that used undocumented hacks to operate on the original console, so they had to go through the custom emulation route - which in turn means they have to have developer approval / licences to offer the custom download.

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  55. icon
    PaulT (profile), 7 Apr 2021 @ 11:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    GoG do fantastic work, and I have certainly bought games I already owned on disc from them, especially where they offer MacOS/Linux binaries. They can't help with games where the publisher no longer exists or refuses permission, but it's a great resource.

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  56. icon
    PaulT (profile), 7 Apr 2021 @ 11:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, I'm not sure to tell you in that case unless you want to override the entire concept of licencing or people giving permission for others to use their work, which would require the compete demolition of copyright.

    Bear in mind, the issues here are not the people who make the games, it's people outside of the videogame industry who they are asking permission to utilise in their games. In order for this not to be an issue, you would have to at the very least make it so that developers do not have to ask permission from others to use any brand, likeness or media in their game, no matter the objection from the original creator. That's not going to happen.

    What is going to happen is that as everything moves to digital by default, licences will continue to be renegotiated so that they don't expire after artificial limits or format changes.

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  57. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2021 @ 1:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That was referencing how the 360 cloud saves for the original versions of games don't work on the native XBox One SKU of "remastered" (In cases like Bayonetta, simply ported with zero enhancements) games, only on the original. Bayonetta and a handful of other games are an XBox backcompat curiosity in that there are three distinct versions of the game.

    The original 360 disc, if inserted in a modern console runs the game entirely off the disc and uses your 360 cloud save. It only gives you the option to install it to the HD if inserted into 360 hardware however, as the game's backwards compatibility does not require a downloaded patch and by default 360 games ran off the disc, the option to install them to drives was only added to the 360 dashboard later in the console's life.

    There's the digital 360 version. Which uses your cloud save, installs to the HD, no disc required, but if you own the original disc it means you'd need to rebuy the game at full price to be permitted to install it, barring getting get lucky and either having it show up in the games with gold list one month, or be on sale, which would still mean spending money for a game you already own.

    There's the XBox One "remaster", a port to the XBox One which runs natively but as a tradeoff uses the XBox One save system for its own saves rather than accessing the 360's backcompat saves. This is the first version which comes up on the XBox store if searching on a modern console, alongside the digital 360 version.

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  58. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2021 @ 1:57am

    Re: Re: Library of Congress is the obvious solution

    Sadly we live in a world where all too often the "value" of art is measured soley in the amount of dollars a single item can make at auction, and where people with far too much will pay the amount of money that could fund the development of an entire game, for a certificate which says they "own" a tweet.

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  59. icon
    PaulT (profile), 8 Apr 2021 @ 2:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "That was referencing how the 360 cloud saves for the original versions of games don't work on the native XBox One SKU of "remastered" (In cases like Bayonetta, simply ported with zero enhancements) games"

    OK, in that case that's down to the developer to support importing game saves from different versions of the game. Not much MS can do about that, although I thought you made it clear you were talking about the BC version.

    "The original 360 disc, if inserted in a modern console runs the game entirely off the disc "

    Again, that's not how it happens on the One - every game installs to the HDD, BC or not. I haven't used a Series X yet so I'll defer to your experience even though that sounds like a very strange design decision, which leads me to believe there's something else at play.

    "There's the XBox One "remaster", a port to the XBox One"

    The port means that it's literally a different game and the developer has to support importing saves from other games.

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  60. icon
    PaulT (profile), 8 Apr 2021 @ 2:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Just to clarify something - the way the One works with BC is you insert the game disc and it reads it only as a proof of ownership. From there it downloads and installs the BC version to the HDD.

    This has saved me a couple of times as games I own where disc rot or other damage has rendered the game unplayable on the 360 can be played with no problems, I just need to insert the original disc each time I need to play so it can run the ownership check again (to stop people renting/borrowing a disc then pretending they own it after). At no point does the original game run from the disc.

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  61. icon
    crade (profile), 8 Apr 2021 @ 7:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah.. Part of the problem is the incredible length of copyright.. So if you have something like the muppet show where there is a bunch of music in it, you basically would have no choice but to sell it to a massive org like disney since no small company would have a prayer to be able to release it in current tech.. It still took disney like 15 years to release it and then end up with butchered versions..

    It's just wrecking the history and culture.. They have managed to work around somewhat similar problems with compulsory licensing under certain conditions, I'm sure there could be a solution if there was any political motivation but my only real hope to be able to watch my favorite old shows legally is there will be a very high profile case that basically forces action on it.

    Of course, as usual, piracy is unaffected and just works

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  62. icon
    crade (profile), 8 Apr 2021 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Addendum
    Whats really going to happen is that only new things go to digital by default and will be ok until there is another unforseen problem with the license agreements with later tech, some exceptional select old titles with this issue will be migrated, many butchered in the process, and the originals and the rest of the old ones that can't easily be sorted out will be lost and forgotten or left to pirates to keep the history if they can

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  63. icon
    PaulT (profile), 8 Apr 2021 @ 11:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "It still took disney like 15 years to release it and then end up with butchered versions"

    Erm, I'd need a citation on that. My understanding is that the version on Disney+ is complete, apart from some content that was deliberately removed because they featured a guy who was later convicted as a paedophile. Other than some addition of warnings about content that some parents might find unsuitable due to racial insensitivity, they're now back to their original form other than the above.

    If you have something that indicates otherwise, I'd be happy to see it, unless you're referring specifically to the DVD releases, which were cut due to older licencing issues. I'm not sure if there's a plan for new physical releases with the versions on streaming or if they're just sticking to that for now.

    "It's just wrecking the history and culture"

    Well, here's the catch. The history exists because they got the licences to begin with. Had they not got those licences they would have had to make different choices when making the product. So, weirdly, the licencing is both the ting that made the original possible and it's the thing that's preventing new releases.

    "my only real hope to be able to watch my favorite old shows legally is there will be a very high profile case that basically forces action on it"

    Not really. Your other hope is that the licences are renegotiated. This isn't always possible, but my understanding is that it is getting earlier and companies seem to be getting better at identifying demand that would otherwise be missed, plus the move toward physical/streaming makes it an easier sell (to the beancounter (there's no risky production overhead like with physical media, and if the studio that would release it also owns the streaming platform, it's pure profit).

    "Of course, as usual, piracy is unaffected and just works"

    Of course, that's always the backup. At least here there's a clear reason why something is not available, unlike situations where they just refuse to release the title because their marketing people don't want to deal with it or they don't think they can profit enough.

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  64. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2021 @ 11:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Try it. Stick Bayonetta in. It's an anomaly as one of a small handful of games which run in the emulation WITHOUT a downloaded patch. I have it right here, not installed to my Series X, but it runs the instant I put the DVD in the drive. It runs if my XBox is offline and CANNOT download and install digital versions. No prompt to install it. It's a curio, a game which never needed a backcompat patch to run in the emulation. It always struck me as super interesting because of this anomaly deviating from the norm.

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  65. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2021 @ 12:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    (Ofc if you own the digital version you'd need to uninstall that before testing this, as the console will default to booting that version if it is installed. And I recommend noise-cancelling headphones because damn, the Series X optical drive is just absurdly loud when in constant use. I guess they never considered when designing the console, scenarios like this where a game would be running directly off it. I imagine the longest they expected it to run was long enough for offline users to install a game. Oh, and if you've gotten used to load times off the SSD, prepare to be disappointed. Honestly it's worth just buying the digital backcompat version and being done with it for all the hassle it saves. But the point is these kinds of intriguing exeptions to the rules and what we can learn from them about the underpinning systems and how they work.)

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  66. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2021 @ 12:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That specific game was the very first of these anomalies I discovered on XBox One. A curio, an exception. You can put it in the drive of an XBox One that has a blank HD and no internet connection and it just boots immediately to the game's titles and you can play. Frustrated me no end as try as I might I could not get it to let me install it to the HD of either my XBox One or Series X, putting the disc in just launches the game, going to the store page gives me a prompt to buy it full price, and bringing up the menu on the icon for the disc in the drive on the dashboard gives no option to install it to the HD/SSD of the respective systems. It's a bizarre outlier which raises so many questions.

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  67. icon
    PaulT (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 12:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Try it. Stick Bayonetta in. It's an anomaly as one of a small handful of games which run in the emulation WITHOUT a downloaded patch"

    I have to defer to your experience there I'm afraid, as the version I have of the game is digital (from Games With Gold) and I'm not about to go out and buy another copy just to test this.

    But yes, it is interesting that it works that way, but I'd say in this case your issue is with PlatinumGames and not Microsoft, as with the issue of not being able to use old saves on the remastered version. I'm not sure what can be done other than petition them to do something about it in a future patch.

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  68. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2021 @ 12:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The port means that it's literally a different game and the developer has to support importing saves from other games.

    Actually, that is the excuse several developers/publishers have used for NOT supporting save imports. Particularly those publishers not using XBox Smart Delivery.

    Remedy's Control is a good example of this, as the Series X/S version of the Ultimate Edition does not support saves from the XBox One version of the Ultimate Edition. Most likely due to things like the addition of new save locations in the new gen version which would require updating several values in existing saves to make them compatible. They have confirmed no devs have been assigned to work on a save importer because they have moved on to new projects.

    It will never be possible therefore, barring third party save editing tools on PC, to import XBox One saves for Control Ultimate Edition to the X/S version of the same game, even though you buy the two versions as a complete package together.

    Now, ETHICALLY speaking, I agree with you, there should be a requirement for them to make saves cross-gen compatible, but barring Microsoft making it a part of the agreement to use their store, rather than just a requirement of using the opt-in smart delivery system, there's no LEGAL pressure on devs/publishers to do so. Which sucks.

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  69. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2021 @ 12:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There's basically no chance of most older games getting such support. The best we can hope for is that as more games in the future use systems like MS' smart delivery, in which saves are automatically converted into the correct format for the SKU of the game appropriate to the platform the game is booted on, that'll become the norm for console titles. We have a few holdouts who insist on not doing that with their games points at Control Ultimate Edition, where they have confirmed the entire dev team have moved on to new projects and making XBox One saves compatible with the X/S version included in the same purchase is never going to happen , or who insist on doing it their way with mixed results - why is it that gearbox make me sign up for and use a third party account on their servers for cloud transfer of my Borderlands1&2 characters from 360 to XO, but even though the game has crossplay between PC and XO and my gearbox account is linked to my Steam and XB accounts, I cannot upload my characters from one platform to their servers and download them on the other? I have to use a save editor to export my PC saves as XBox 360 saves, put them on a 360 formatted memory stick, load them in the 360 version on my 360, export them there, and import them on XO but over time it's likely people are going to grow comfortable with, and EXPECT cross-gen save compatibility going forward, and this expectation will drive development.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70. icon
    PaulT (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 12:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Actually, that is the excuse several developers/publishers have used for NOT supporting save imports"

    It's not an excuse. Unless the "remaster" is just an emulated version with some upscaling, it's new code. Unless the developer has chosen to reuse the save code from the old game, they have to write code to import the older save files. There's nothing Microsoft can do about a developer who have chosen not to develop this feature in their new game.

    I agree that it would be nice to have it as a requirement, but the fix is to contact the developer and request that they have this feature available, and then it's their decision whether or not to support it. Sometimes it might be an easy feature that's easily remedied or something that's already in the pipeline and they'll offer it in a later version. Sometimes there's just low demand or there's technical reasons to not do so (for example, if they're rewritten the entire save system from the ground up to take advantage of features in the new console, or to fix a known set of bugs in the old system, they might not be able to or want to add it).

    "there's no LEGAL pressure on devs/publishers to do so"

    Nor should there be. It's quite simple, the developers make decisions on how to create their games and any issues arising should be between the developers and their customers, or developers and the release platform. There should be zero reason for the law to get involved, unless they advertise the feature and it's not present.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71. icon
    PaulT (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 1:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "There's basically no chance of most older games getting such support"

    I think you're confusing the issue here. Older games already have that support. Anything written for the XBox 360 and later has the ability to use the cloud save system, and the same game running in BC on newer consoles will access that because it's the same code. Barring your weird situation with Bayonetta, I've not encountered any mention of this not working with an original 360 title, and I reckon I've installed upwards of 60 titles without issue in this area.

    The problem is that when the developers release a new version of the game, they may not support importing save games from older systems. This is the problem with Control - they opted not to include this feature in the new game version they released on the newer consoles.

    "The best we can hope for is that as more games in the future use systems like MS' smart delivery, in which saves are automatically converted into the correct format for the SKU of the game appropriate to the platform the game is booted on"

    Again, you're missing a major part of the puzzle. If the game has been fundamentally rewritten, it's not simply a case of the format. They may have totally changed the actual data being stored in the save. In which case there's nothing MS can do about it, the issue is getting the developers to support it.

    "why is it that gearbox make me sign up for and use a third party account on their servers for cloud transfer of my Borderlands1&2 characters from 360 to XO"

    Ask Gearbox, but I'd say it's likely that parts of the game were rewritten for the One version and their servers do some kind of conversion that's not a simple format change than can be done on Microsoft's end.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2021 @ 1:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This is, again, why the contractual agreements for using MS' smart delivery are a good thing, mandating that if you want to benefit from using the systems MS put in place to get your game working out of the box across any of their systems, you need to ensure that cross-compatibility is in place, and going forward this should hopefuly simply become a standardised part of the deals publishers make with platform holders.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2021 @ 1:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The thing with control is they made existing owners of the game on XBox One buy a separate edition of the game for XBox One, in order to later access an updated version for the X/S which did not have save compatibility between the XBox One and X/S version of.

    It did not help that in early marketing material they suggested that part of the reason why you needed to rebuy the game on XBox One was in order for your saves to be compatible with the X/S version, as saves from the base version of the game would not be, but then it turned out saves from the updated version were not either. I was smart and waited for a sale on the Ultimate Edition for XBox One to bring its price down to match the price of the DLC which I had held off on buying, but a lot of players spent way more on what ended up being a bit of a bait and switch.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74. icon
    PaulT (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 2:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "you need to ensure that cross-compatibility is in place"

    Cross-compatibility and backward compatibility are totally different things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2021 @ 2:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ask Gearbox, but I'd say it's likely that parts of the game were rewritten for the One version and their servers do some kind of conversion that's not a simple format change than can be done on Microsoft's end.

    Borderlands 2 player frustration is because they have a system in place where you sign up for an account to use their servers to upload and convert 360 saves to XBox One, but while there are workarounds to make this work on PC saves, Gearbox never thought to implement it directly in the PC version of the game, to be able to export and import those same characters cross-platform.

    You totally CAN export your PC save to XBox One. You just need to do it by converting it to 360 format, putting it on a memory stick, and plugging it in your 360, then loading up BL2 and exporting the character save data via your gearbox account, which you can then redownload, all converted, into BL2 on XBox One.

    But since we use the same gearbox account that we have on both PC and XBox to accomplish this conversion, it's a bit silly that they didn't think to just have this server-side conversion work across all platforms by default and perform the exact same function directly on PC saves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76. icon
    PaulT (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 2:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The bait and switch comment is a valid concern and they should be addressed, and people who bought based on the false early information should be issued a refund. That's a real issue.

    But, the fundamental problem is not backward compatibility, as per the issues we were originally discussing. The problem is that the newer version uses a different version of the game engine, which is how the incompatibility was introduced, and the PS5 has the same problem. I'm not sure if this is anything other than an oversight, exacerbated by the fact that the team who could fix it no longer exists, but under normal circumstances I'm sure this is something that could be fixed without having to resort to legal measures.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2021 @ 2:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's a curio, I must admit, as generally, cross-save is a stop-gap halfway measure when cross-play would be too much work to implement, and yet Borderlands 2 has cross-platform play, but not cross-save, so shrug

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78. icon
    PaulT (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 2:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    OK, there's several different issues here and transferring saves between PC and console carries totally different expectations than between 360 and One versions of the games. But, it's ultimately still and issue for Gearbox, not Microsoft.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2021 @ 2:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The simplest fix is a legal one however, specifically contractual, publishers can, going forward, choose to deliver their games on MS' platform without signing on for MS' system for handling cross-generational updates, and can continue to have them be incompatible or not as they choose, or they can sign on for it and reap the benefits of MS' backend features their game delivery can take advantage of, but in order to do so be bound to ensuring the game works out of the box everywhere you fire it up, and that extends to saves working intergenerationally.

    Future-proofing is the opposite side of the backwards compatibility coin, and MS are clearly making long-term plans for their business model. Smart Delivery, XCloud, Game Pass on PC, it's all a strategy to make the console marketplace closer resemble the PC space, and that has major benefits in some areas for console gamers, in delivering things PC gamers take for granted.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2021 @ 2:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Whoever said it wasn't an issue at gearbox's end? The point here is that Microsoft are moving things in the right direction, but publisher holdouts continue to try and do stuff their way, with shall we generously say "mixed results".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81. icon
    PaulT (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 6:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "publishers can, going forward, choose to deliver their games on MS' platform without signing on for MS' system for handling cross-generational updates"

    So, what they do now? The system is there, some developers have just not chosen to do it.

    As for forcing them to do it, well how do you define which games are direct updates and which are not? There's a lot of problems there. What about where games are remade by another studio and they don't have access to the original code? What about games that originated on different console? Should a game that started on the PS2 be blocked until they find a way to port saves from memory cards?

    I know it's frustrating to have come across the handful of games with the problem as you have done, but mandating the use of old save files for the relatively small audience who want to do that would cause more problems than you imagine, I think.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82. icon
    PaulT (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 6:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The point is that it's a question for each individual developer, and it's something they can usually fix after the fact if there's demand for it. You've found a couple of unusual outliers, but it's still !00% the developers' job to deal with it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  83. icon
    crade (profile), 9 Apr 2021 @ 7:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Heres a list of things that one guy found taken out of the disney plus release just doing a manual comparison. Most are music that was edited out.. There are only 2 full episodes missing in the U.S, one is the one you mention and another one is just the usual.

    This is really just a google of "muppet show edits". I can't actually vouch for the changes to seasons 4 and 5 as they have never been officially available for me to be able to watch before in my lifetime in any format so don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled I can finally watch it even with some music stripped out. The sesame street theme song being stripped out is a bit of a low blow though.

    If Henson could have seen the future, or if he was a massive company with a massive legal budget that could just use their weight to get "all the rights to cover all bases regardless of what happens", it might not be an issue sure.

    It's true for the muppet show I do hold out some hope that we might have those songs put back eventually and the originals might be preserved, but only because it's a massive cultural icon now owned by disney not because I think thats going to happen in general. If it's not popular enough to invest all that effort in and it's got rights issues it's going in the garbage pile.

    I'm not holding my breath that someday all those archive collections of ancient video games are going to be complete and not missing anything that had a licensed component anymore. Your legal system has failed you if you need to rely on something illegal just so your culture doesn't end up in the garbage bin.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2021 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Same case for Sony and their PlayStation line.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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