Two weeks ago, the good people at ConsoleTuner were kind enough to send over their latest piece of hardware: the Titan One. The device allows players to mix and match their favorite control pads and consoles, regardless of brand.
So, if you own an Xbox One but your friends prefer Sony’s DualShock controllers, the Titan One will allow them to play Titanfall without blaming their inevitable deaths on controller illiteracy.
While I was running the little device through its paces, I plugged one of my Xbox 360 controllers into my Xbox One and fired up Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. The controls were so smooth and responsive that I couldn’t help but wonder why Microsoft didn’t include native backwards compatibility for 360 gamepads.
The only substantial differences between the Xbox One controller and its 360 counterpart are the IR sensors and the triggers’ rumble function, but neither of these effect gameplay enough to warrant a restriction. Plus, the Xbox One is basically running a specialized version of Windows 8, an operating system that supports Microsoft’s full line of controllers. So, the fact that backwards compatibility has been stripped from its latest and greatest console seems a bit greedy.
Sony’s latest controller, on the other hand, included at least two major upgrades: a touchpad and an internal speaker. I’m going to ignore the speaker, because has little-to-no effect on gameplay, but the touchpad is a big change. That being said, most developers aren’t releasing PS4-only titles, so the touchpad is practically a non-issue, because any functionality will inevitably find itself remapped to a standard controller button on any competing platforms.
Also, did I mention that the Titan One is roughly the size of a USB drive? There’s more than enough room inside of an Xbox One or PS4 to accommodate a similar piece of hardware, and they probably wouldn’t need it anyway.
Whenever a new console generation rolls around, everyone expects to shell out some extra cash for the new peripherals. But this generation’s control pad upgrades are so minor that backwards compatibility would have been easy. The good people at ConsoleTuner obviously did it, along with a handful of other companies.
In fact, I can only think of one reason for not including backwards compatibility. I’ll let you figure out what that is.