Backwards Compatibility: How Nostalgia is Driving Innovation in the Gaming Category

Backwards Compatibility: How Nostalgia is Driving Innovation in the Gaming Category

Super Mario on Nintendo, Crash Bandicoot on PlayStation – for my generation our childhood memories are often filled with these kinds of video game characters.

Whilst the gaming industry has seen some of the most incredible, pioneering developments in technology over the past 30 years, it is also a category in which nostalgia plays an important role.

This latent love sits behind the latest development from Xbox. After four years of Xbox One being on the market, Microsoft have decided to add backwards compatibility, allowing users to play select Original Xbox titles on the latest machine.

Xbox is not the only gaming brand to offer this feature. In 2014 PlayStation announced the launch of PlayStation Now, a cloud based service allowing users to stream PS3 games on the PS4.

However, what makes Xbox different is that consumers can insert old discs into the console to download historic games, allowing users to dust of their favourites and play them with minimal effort and at no additional cost.

On top of this, consumers can delve back further in time to Xbox original games, as well as those from the more recent Xbox 360.

Innovation in tech is so often about the brand new, the cutting edge, and the entirely different. But backwards compatibility demonstrates that the past can also be a rich source of inspiration, especially in a high-engagement category. Indeed, a similar trend has been seen in music with the renaissance of vinyl.

With Nintendo also indicating the potential development of backwards compatibility for the Switch, this looks like a gaming trend that is set to stay.

Heather Young Heather Young