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I like backward compatibility (BC) when it is there and it works correctly, but it's not something that I need to have in a game system.
I think the "right" way to do BC is to design good hardware and then solve compatibility with software. Nintendo did this with virtual console on the Wii, Microsoft partially did this with Xbox support on the 360, and Sony did it with playing PS1 discs and downloads on the PS3/PSP.
Sticking to a particular architecture is bad for games since it puts limits on how fast the hardware can advance, and shoehorning old chips into new designs limits design options and raises manufacturing costs. I think Nintendo failed to innovate on the Wii hardware side because they wanted to make it compatible with GameCube - in the end we got a slightly faster GameCube that added Bluetooth controllers.
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