Back in 2017, then global sales chief and now PlayStation boss Jim Ryan made an infamous remark regarding PS1 and PS2 versions of Gran Turismo he had seen at a recent showcase, and it’s followed him ever since.
“They looked ancient,” he said. “Why would anybody play this?”.
His quote was reported by Time, which was interviewing Ryan about his thoughts on bringing older games to the PlayStation 4 library. In context, Ryan was trying to make a point about why Sony wasn’t prioritizing backward compatibility. But in a new interview with Axios, Ryan wants to set the record straight.
“It goes with the territory, but I get a little bit frustrated at still being hit over the head with this one,” he said. “The point I was trying to make — obviously not very well — was just how great the PS4 version looked and how far the series had evolved. I certainly wasn’t trying to be disrespectful to our heritage.”
Ryan then pointed to Astro’s Playroom, with its many homages to past PlayStation games, as an example of the company honoring its classics.
That said, it seems that PlayStation and Ryan are both holding the line on backward compatibility with older titles. In the 2017 interview, Ryan suggested that it was a much-requested feature that was nonetheless “not actually used much.” And now, in 2021, that still seems to be the case.
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“What is important to recognize when considering this question about designing a new platform, is that time, engineering resource, and money are all finite, and that important trade-offs have to be made in terms of what’s included, and what’s not,” he said to Axios.
That said, he added that the PS5 being able to play almost all PS4 games was indeed due to fans’ “real desire” for the feature.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.