Microsoft Dumps On Backwards Compatibility And Indie Development

By Ural Garrett , Updated May 22, 2013 07:42 PM EDT

Though Microsoft has yet to really confirm how used or trade games will work on its Xbox One, the Windows 8 company says no to backwards compatibility the console and self publishing of indie games won't be allowed. 

President of Interactive Entertainment for Microsoft Don Mattrick told The Wall Street Journal that backwards compatibility just doesn't make sense for its next-gen console.

"If you're backwards compatible, you're really backwards," Mattrick says.

Mattrick told the publication that only five percent of customers play games from previous generations on new consoles therefore, it isn't worth the time and money to develop technology that allows backwards compatibility. The Wall Street Journal reported that in a study done by social media firm Fizziology, only twelve percent would be unhappy if backwards compatibility wasn't a feature before Microsoft reveal its Xbox One console. 

Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's Playstation 4 won't offer backwards compatibility due to different architecture used in the previous generation. This makes Nintendo's struggling Wii U the only next-gen console to have backwards compatibility.

The indie development community is also quite disappointed by Microsoft's decision to deny the ability to self publis on Xbox Live Arcade meaning they will have to go through Microsoft Game Studios or a third-party publisher according to reports.

As Sony and Nintendo allow developers to publish their own games onto both PlayStation Network and Nintendo Network, Microsoft continues have restrictions in place that many in the indie development community see as extremely limiting. 

Seven indie developers including DrinkBox Studios (Guacamelee) and Spicy Horse (Akaneiro: Demon Hunters) spoke with GameIndustry International about their disappointment with Microsoft's decision. 

Martin Pichlmair of Broken Rules, creator of Chasing Aurora, said that there wasn't anything about Microsoft's Xbox One that got him excited for development on the console. 

"As an indie developer, there was nothing in this presentation that would lure me into making a game for this console," says Pichlmair. "The PS4 is much more tempting and so is the Wii U."

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