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Being backwards-compatible implies that a system (generally a console), being the next in a series of systems, is compatible with peripherals or software from the previous generation of systems. Good examples of backwards-compatibility are the Nintendo Game Boy line and the Sony PlayStation line of consoles. Additionally, the Nintendo Wii will be the first Nintendo home console to be fully backwards-compatible by providing full support for GameCube games, as well as previous generations of games through a download service. Microsoft's Xbox 360 is semi-backwards-compatible (through emulation), allowing owners of the hard drive add-on to play select Xbox games.

Backwards-compatibility is typically seen as a great strength to a console as it allows a (generally) large volume of games to be available at a console's launch.

Backwards compatible consoles

Consoles that are fully compatible work with any game. Consoles that are only partially compatible only work with a few games, usually top-sellers or games with high demand. This is usually because they require emulation and do not share the same hardware.

Full compatibility

Partial compatibility

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