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PlayStation still not considering backward compatibility for PS4

News during Microsoft's E3 press conference this week that limited Xbox 360 backward compatibility was coming to the Xbox One was met with a roar of approval.

The surprise announcement, coming so long after the launch of the Xbox One, also caught the attention of Sony. But not enough to get the company to reconsider its take on PlayStation backward compatibility.

"The backward compatibility news was interesting," said Shuhei Yoshida, Sony Computer Entertainment's head of world wide studios. "The technology involved must be very challenging.

"I'm interested in seeing the list of titles."

Earlier in the week, Xbox head of publishing Shannon Loftis said the Xbox One will essentially be running an Xbox 360 emulator and that the decision to create support on the Xbox One for a number of 360 titles — a hundred by this holiday — was driven by that company's desire to offer more options to gamers.

"I still play some Xbox 360 titles," she said. "I love them and I have a big investment in them, both emotionally and financially."

While Yoshida seemed impressed with the news of Xbox backward compatibility, he was clear it wasn't going to change anything about PlayStation's decision not to support previously purchased PS3 games on the PS4.

"The announcement didn't change," he said, "I don't think we will change our approach. The PlayStation 4 doesn't have backward compatibility."

Instead, he said, the company will continue to focus on creating new services and new features on the PS4.

That includes the recently announced new media player that people have been asking for, he said.

The closest thing the PlayStation 4 has to backward compatibility is PlayStation Now, an on-demand video game rental service that includes a select number of PlayStation 3 games.

"PlayStation Now works surprisingly well," Yoshida said. "But the primary purpose of that project was to create a new network service that could be used to bring PlayStation games to multiple devices including non-PlayStation devices, like Sony and Samsung televisions.

"That is an example of our adding and creating new services and initiatives."

But why doesn't Sony want to do backward compatibility on the PS4? I asked.

"Backward compatibility is hard," he said. "I won't say we'll never do it, but it's not an easy thing to do.

"If it was easy we would have done that."