Backwards Compatability

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GAZBEROTTEN
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Re: Backwards Compatability

Post by GAZBEROTTEN » Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:47 am

English Invader wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:37 am
I guess I have a beef with console manufacturers claiming backwards compatibility when it's not supported in hardware and the library of games is significantly reduced. In my book, if I can't play my old discs or any used discs I buy in the future, it's not backwards compatible in any way that matters to me and manufacturers have a cheek selling it like PS1 to PS2 when the reality is a lot different to that.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the current gen systems and may even branch out to one of them in the not too distant future but my decisions will be based completely on their current games and backwards compatibility (for want of a better word) will not be taken into account.
The biggest problem that i see Microsoft and Sony doing is the same mistake and assumption that there fans of a platform wouldnt all want to play retro games from previous generations. The reality is that if you read discussions on this feature more than enough people want it. What Sony and Microsoft should be doing is using a combination of software and hardware methoads on the next gen systems so hundreads of disc based games will run.

When the Xbox,Xbox 360 systems were released they were quite pricey, now the costs of that hardware have dropped and will be ridiculosly cheap to include the chips etc in next gen consoles.This can also be said for PS1,2 and 3 as hardware isnt expensive forever and drops in price later anyway. This also brings me to raise another point which is a good one.


The licencing issues could be tackled far faster if both Sony and Microsoft began contacting developers of there Xbox and Playstation brand games and asked them for permission a few years before there next gen systems to get a huge line of the respected brands games backwards compatible at launch. They could also invite them to also develop new gamess and sequals of popular games series.

Add all those into next gen systems and you have a solid lineup for gamers both retro and new which is what everyone needs.

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Re: Backwards Compatability

Post by Sephiroth81 » Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:32 pm

I'll get an Xbox One X soon, and one of the reasons for buying it is Microsofts pretty decent commitment to backwards compatibility. The emulation, going by Digital Foundry and other similar tech analysis sites, seems to be absolutely stunning.....its "emulation plus" basically. Genuinely upscaled games and with usually better draw distances and most critically improved framerates.

I'm particularly looking forward to playing some 360 games on Xbox One X, like Red Dead Redemption 1 again, this time in 4k and at virtually a locked 30fps (compared with the frequent dips on 360 hardware), and Hydro Thunder Hurricane, which I loved but always felt a bit disappointed with the framerate on the 360 (now its locked at 60fps on XB1X). I appreciate some like games to play identical to how they do on original hardware (which includes authentically jerky framerates), but I'd say like with audio remasters of music, these kind of emulation enhancements are more than welcome if the core experience is preserved and technology is used to iron out tech limitations. Why anyone would play 720p hydro thunder hurricane with a 35-50fps on original 360 hardware if they had the option to play literally the same game in 4k and at a locked 60fps is something I can't fathom, but each to their own!

Be interesting to go a generation before that as well with original Xbox games. Looks like quite a few OG Xbox games get a major performance and graphical boost with Xbox One X. Morrowind upscaled and with far higher, more consistent framerates. Hopefully they'll get Outrun 2 on the BC list as well (already had a locked 60fps anyway, but imagine a full upscale to 4k!), unless it is already?

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Re: Backwards Compatability

Post by GAZBEROTTEN » Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:35 pm

Sephiroth81 wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:32 pm
I'll get an Xbox One X soon, and one of the reasons for buying it is Microsofts pretty decent commitment to backwards compatibility. The emulation, going by Digital Foundry and other similar tech analysis sites, seems to be absolutely stunning.....its "emulation plus" basically. Genuinely upscaled games and with usually better draw distances and most critically improved framerates.

I'm particularly looking forward to playing some 360 games on Xbox One X, like Red Dead Redemption 1 again, this time in 4k and at virtually a locked 30fps (compared with the frequent dips on 360 hardware), and Hydro Thunder Hurricane, which I loved but always felt a bit disappointed with the framerate on the 360 (now its locked at 60fps on XB1X). I appreciate some like games to play identical to how they do on original hardware (which includes authentically jerky framerates), but I'd say like with audio remasters of music, these kind of emulation enhancements are more than welcome if the core experience is preserved and technology is used to iron out tech limitations. Why anyone would play 720p hydro thunder hurricane with a 35-50fps on original 360 hardware if they had the option to play literally the same game in 4k and at a locked 60fps is something I can't fathom, but each to their own!

Be interesting to go a generation before that as well with original Xbox games. Looks like quite a few OG Xbox games get a major performance and graphical boost with Xbox One X. Morrowind upscaled and with far higher, more consistent framerates. Hopefully they'll get Outrun 2 on the BC list as well (already had a locked 60fps anyway, but imagine a full upscale to 4k!), unless it is already?
Id love to see Dead Rising 1 2 3 otr Case West Case Zero upscaled to 4k. Also Frontlines Fuel Of War,The Outfit,Syndicate,Castleminer Z,Crackdown 2 and many others.

Also looking forward to some ports of retro games for Xbox One X in the future.Would also love True Crime Streets of New York and LA be added to the original Xbox BC list even Halo 2.Imagine those classics upscaled in 4K.

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Re: Backwards Compatability

Post by Matt_B » Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:39 pm

GAZBEROTTEN wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:47 am
When the Xbox,Xbox 360 systems were released they were quite pricey, now the costs of that hardware have dropped and will be ridiculosly cheap to include the chips etc in next gen consoles.This can also be said for PS1,2 and 3 as hardware isnt expensive forever and drops in price later anyway. This also brings me to raise another point which is a good one.
While it's generally true that hardware prices that will drop over time, there's a limit to how low they can go and prices can start to rise again once components become obsolete, and that's particularly the case if the console manufacturer is the only remaining customer for them.

Also, it's not just the price of the chips that matters. They'd need extra space on the mainboard, require extra power and cooling and cause considerable integration issues that would complicate the design of the new machine.

As such, I'd think that backwards compatibility is only worth it when there's an easy win because the new console is based on a more modern version of the same architecture, or there's good reason to incorporate the older hardware for some other purpose. Still, now that practically everyone is running on AMD and Nvidia GPUs, with even the differences between their architectures hidden somewhat behind cross-platform APIs, it's unlikely that we're going to see any radical shifts in the future that will make it too difficult.

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Re: Backwards Compatability

Post by ALK » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:51 pm

Sephiroth81 wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:32 pm
Be interesting to go a generation before that as well with original Xbox games. Looks like quite a few OG Xbox games get a major performance and graphical boost with Xbox One X. Morrowind upscaled and with far higher, more consistent framerates. Hopefully they'll get Outrun 2 on the BC list as well (already had a locked 60fps anyway, but imagine a full upscale to 4k!), unless it is already?
I would imagine Outrun might be tricky as it uses the Ferrari license which was the reason Online Arcade was taken off the XBLA/PSN download stores awhile ago. SEGA would either have to work with Ferrari to ask "Is it okay if we add this to Backwards Compat, with or without selling a digital version?"), reacquire the license or do a reworked version removing any mention of the name (Kind of like how popping in the OG Xbox disc of GTA San Andreas just gives you the download for the 360 version instead of the exact OG Xbox version with enhancements.) though that would require extra work on SEGA's part.

As good as the XBONE's Backwards Compat feature is, the same ol' licensing issue (Games based on properties like TV Shows, movies, etc.) does restrict some games from ever being brought to the program. Still, we're at the 550-ish mark so there's still plenty to play.
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Re: Backwards Compatability

Post by Antiriad2097 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:37 am

They could just offer a generic emulator that will run any game from disc. No need to faff about with licensing then.
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Re: Backwards Compatability

Post by Matt_B » Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:39 am

Antiriad2097 wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:37 am
They could just offer a generic emulator that will run any game from disc. No need to faff about with licensing then.
The problem would be that the XB1 isn't nearly powerful enough to run such an emulator. You can have a go with Xenia on the PC for an idea of what it might be like. That does a pretty good job with undemanding 2D games and even some of the simpler 3D ones now, but AAA games typically just crash, run slowly, and/or have constant glitches; and that's running on CPU cores about five times more powerful than the ones in the XB1.

Microsoft have been pretty tight lipped about the precise technical details of how backwards compatibility works, but it's pretty obvious that the games have had to be modified considerably from the ones supplied on the original disks and that when you install one you're not just getting a copy of the original game with a generic virtualization wrapper tacked onto it. Hence, all the licensing issues of making a re-release apply to games offered via the service.

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Re: Backwards Compatability

Post by GAZBEROTTEN » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:21 pm

Matt_B wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:39 pm
GAZBEROTTEN wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:47 am
When the Xbox,Xbox 360 systems were released they were quite pricey, now the costs of that hardware have dropped and will be ridiculosly cheap to include the chips etc in next gen consoles.This can also be said for PS1,2 and 3 as hardware isnt expensive forever and drops in price later anyway. This also brings me to raise another point which is a good one.
While it's generally true that hardware prices that will drop over time, there's a limit to how low they can go and prices can start to rise again once components become obsolete, and that's particularly the case if the console manufacturer is the only remaining customer for them.

Also, it's not just the price of the chips that matters. They'd need extra space on the mainboard, require extra power and cooling and cause considerable integration issues that would complicate the design of the new machine.

As such, I'd think that backwards compatibility is only worth it when there's an easy win because the new console is based on a more modern version of the same architecture, or there's good reason to incorporate the older hardware for some other purpose. Still, now that practically everyone is running on AMD and Nvidia GPUs, with even the differences between their architectures hidden somewhat behind cross-platform APIs, it's unlikely that we're going to see any radical shifts in the future that will make it too difficult.
One thing that has puzzled me is how pcs are able to emulate other consoles games regardless of them needing specific hardware. The PlayStation 2, for example, needed an emotion chip yet people got the PS2 games to work on pc over time and more games were able to be run. That right there tells me if it can be done on low-end gaming rigs it can be done on consoles.
ALK wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:51 pm
Sephiroth81 wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:32 pm
Be interesting to go a generation before that as well with original Xbox games. Looks like quite a few OG Xbox games get a major performance and graphical boost with Xbox One X. Morrowind upscaled and with far higher, more consistent framerates. Hopefully they'll get Outrun 2 on the BC list as well (already had a locked 60fps anyway, but imagine a full upscale to 4k!), unless it is already?
I would imagine Outrun might be tricky as it uses the Ferrari license which was the reason Online Arcade was taken off the XBLA/PSN download stores awhile ago. SEGA would either have to work with Ferrari to ask "Is it okay if we add this to Backwards Compat, with or without selling a digital version?"), reacquire the license or do a reworked version removing any mention of the name (Kind of like how popping in the OG Xbox disc of GTA San Andreas just gives you the download for the 360 version instead of the exact OG Xbox version with enhancements.) though that would require extra work on SEGA's part.

As good as the XBONE's Backwards Compat feature is, the same ol' licensing issue (Games based on properties like TV Shows, movies, etc.) does restrict some games from ever being brought to the program. Still, we're at the 550-ish mark so there's still plenty to play.
Perhaps getting rid of ridiculous licensing laws that prevent certain games from being made bc would fix a lot of problems. The way I see these laws is that all they really are doing is giving the gamer a limited amount of games being bc on consoles and these laws could be exploited to prevent certain retro games from ever running n newer generations of systems by individuals who are against and dislike the idea for whatever reason.
Antiriad2097 wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:37 am
They could just offer a generic emulator that will run any game from disc. No need to faff about with licensing then.
Can't see enough developers allowing that unless Microsoft and Sony encourage them or works out some deals with that like promotional deals to help sell more copies of developers games for last gen systems that aren't available on the newer generation of games systems. Having these games being compatible would allow people to buy them and play them on the newer generation of systems without having to worry about finding another system or console that isn't in production, as well as having to fetch an old system out of an attic or having to set it up next to another system that would clearly be capable of playing that game.
Matt_B wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:39 am
Antiriad2097 wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:37 am
They could just offer a generic emulator that will run any game from disc. No need to faff about with licensing then.
The problem would be that the XB1 isn't nearly powerful enough to run such an emulator. You can have a go with Xenia on the PC for an idea of what it might be like. That does a pretty good job with undemanding 2D games and even some of the simpler 3D ones now, but AAA games typically just crash, run slowly, and/or have constant glitches; and that's running on CPU cores about five times more powerful than the ones in the XB1.

Microsoft have been pretty tight lipped about the precise technical details of how backwards compatibility works, but it's pretty obvious that the games have had to be modified considerably from the ones supplied on the original disks and that when you install one you're not just getting a copy of the original game with a generic virtualization wrapper tacked onto it. Hence, all the licensing issues of making a re-release apply to games offered via the service.
The successor to the XB1 and XB1 X would be though. As better hardware is made previous limitations can be countered as well as additional improvements that wouldn't have been possible in the last architecture. The XB1 X isn't going to be new forever and as next generation arrives again the XB1 X hardware will of become quite dated. Look back at the specs pf the first Xbox console and compared that to Xbox 360 and Xbox One and Xbox One X you will see a huge advancement and jump from Xbox to Xbox One X.

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Re: Backwards Compatability

Post by gunbladelad » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:58 am

I agree 100% with English Invader here - if I can't physically put in my old games into a later console of the same line, then it truly isn't backwards compatible. For example, the GBA is backwards compatible with the original Game Boy - the BG Micro isn't - and just because original Game Boy games were remade on the GBA format (such as the remakes of Pokemon Red & Green) doesn't make the GB Micro backwards compatible.

The same applies to the so-called "backwards compatibility" of the PS4 and Xbox. If you can't use the discs from the previous generations to play those games, then the system definitely isn't backwards compatible - what you're actually getting there is nothing more than an official line of emulation - such as Nintendo's virtual console.
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Re: Backwards Compatability

Post by Matt_B » Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:57 am

GAZBEROTTEN wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:21 pm
One thing that has puzzled me is how pcs are able to emulate other consoles games regardless of them needing specific hardware. The PlayStation 2, for example, needed an emotion chip yet people got the PS2 games to work on pc over time and more games were able to be run. That right there tells me if it can be done on low-end gaming rigs it can be done on consoles.
I think you've got to bear in mind that the GPUs in current PCs are vastly more powerful than those in the PS3. That's not only in the sense that they've got much more raw computational power but that they're far more flexible in the way that they can be programmed, and that allows them to better emulate the functionality of the Emotion Engine despite the architectural differences. Having vastly more RAM available to the GPU also helps in that, where the PS2 has to be constantly shuffling data around, you can cache a huge amount of the textures that a game needs and make up for the deficits of emulation elsewhere. With only the 256MB of video RAM, the PS3 is much less able to do this.

The other factor is that there was little understood about the inner workings of the PS2 hardware at the time. Even with Sony having access to all its internal specs, they wouldn't necessarily have known the strategies that would need to be employed to emulate the PS2 entirely in software that were subsequently discovered by trial and error over the next decade. There's currently a similar process of discovery as to how the PS3 can be emulated, that's slowly starting to bear some fruit, but that wouldn't have been of any use to Sony at the time the PS4 launched for much the same reasons.

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Re: Backwards Compatability

Post by SJ_Sathanas » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:48 am

In a big fan of BC and my split of One /BC games is about 50/50. It's much better than trying to run Xbox games on a '360 but it will never be as good as having the original hardware. Unfortunately I just don't have the room for all 3 generations of Xbox so I have to take what I can get.

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Re: Backwards Compatability

Post by GAZBEROTTEN » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:41 am

gunbladelad wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:58 am
I agree 100% with English Invader here - if I can't physically put in my old games into a later console of the same line, then it truly isn't backwards compatible. For example, the GBA is backwards compatible with the original Game Boy - the BG Micro isn't - and just because original Game Boy games were remade on the GBA format (such as the remakes of Pokemon Red & Green) doesn't make the GB Micro backwards compatible.

The same applies to the so-called "backwards compatibility" of the PS4 and Xbox. If you can't use the discs from the previous generations to play those games, then the system definitely isn't backwards compatible - what you're actually getting there is nothing more than an official line of emulation - such as Nintendo's virtual console.
I remember back when Sony removed backwards compatibility from the PlayStation 3. It didn't go down well at all and those who bought their PS3 because it had this feature included were essentially screwed and they were not given a choice either it was forcibly removed via an update that you were forced to apply or you couldn't go online.
That right there to me was unfair and a disgusting thing for Sony to do as they did not offer people a choice and this was just thrown on people.
Matt_B wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:57 am
GAZBEROTTEN wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:21 pm
One thing that has puzzled me is how pcs are able to emulate other consoles games regardless of them needing specific hardware. The PlayStation 2, for example, needed an emotion chip yet people got the PS2 games to work on pc over time and more games were able to be run. That right there tells me if it can be done on low-end gaming rigs it can be done on consoles.
I think you've got to bear in mind that the GPUs in current PCs are vastly more powerful than those in the PS3. That's not only in the sense that they've got much more raw computational power but that they're far more flexible in the way that they can be programmed, and that allows them to better emulate the functionality of the Emotion Engine despite the architectural differences. Having vastly more RAM available to the GPU also helps in that, where the PS2 has to be constantly shuffling data around, you can cache a huge amount of the textures that a game needs and make up for the deficits of emulation elsewhere. With only the 256MB of video RAM, the PS3 is much less able to do this.

The other factor is that there was little understood about the inner workings of the PS2 hardware at the time. Even with Sony having access to all its internal specs, they wouldn't necessarily have known the strategies that would need to be employed to emulate the PS2 entirely in software that were subsequently discovered by trial and error over the next decade. There's currently a similar process of discovery as to how the PS3 can be emulated, that's slowly starting to bear some fruit, but that wouldn't have been of any use to Sony at the time the PS4 launched for much the same reasons.
Hopefully, in the near future, we will begin to see improvements with the emulation as newer ways are discovered. I can't see there not being enough teams of people by then who would have released various emulators for the pc and given that there are thousands of Xbox and Playstation Branded disc-based games next gen consoles will be able to run the older systems games with these methods. It could be offered as an extra feature and wouldn't affect the new games for that system. Personally id rather have Backwards Compatibility with discs than having to rely on a digital download that is dependant on a hard drive that could break down resulting in having to redownload everything which could take ages and not to good for people who want to save time.
SJ_Sathanas wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:48 am
In a big fan of BC and my split of One /BC games is about 50/50. It's much better than trying to run Xbox games on a '360 but it will never be as good as having the original hardware. Unfortunately, I just don't have the room for all 3 generations of Xbox so I have to take what I can get.
I'm sure over time that will be rectified. Don't forget Sony shutdown Bleem because it did a great job of running PS1 games on the PC and even upscaled the graphics. Although I do wish Sony offered the creators of Bleem a job as the PS1 emulation on the PS2 could of been spectacular. Imagine the PS1 games upscaled on the Playstation 2 system at the time people would of been exstatic with that feature.

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Re: Backwards Compatability

Post by Matt_B » Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:14 am

GAZBEROTTEN wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:41 am
Hopefully, in the near future, we will begin to see improvements with the emulation as newer ways are discovered. I can't see there not being enough teams of people by then who would have released various emulators for the pc and given that there are thousands of Xbox and Playstation Branded disc-based games next gen consoles will be able to run the older systems games with these methods. It could be offered as an extra feature and wouldn't affect the new games for that system. Personally id rather have Backwards Compatibility with discs than having to rely on a digital download that is dependant on a hard drive that could break down resulting in having to redownload everything which could take ages and not to good for people who want to save time.
I think that there are pros and cons to both approaches. While it might sound nice in theory to just be able to pop your old disks in they can still be lost, scratched or just rot away in their cases. I'm quite meticulous in looking after my media, but there have still been a few casualties over the years, and it's thanks to downloads that I've been able to reacquire them. There's also the thorny issue of how many modern games require day one patches or access to online services, where having the original media alone wouldn't be enough to play them properly. That became pretty much routine during the lifetimes of the PS3 and 360.

Also, the approaches taken by both Sony and Microsoft have allowed them to offer a backwards compatibility service of sorts right now that would still be way off in the future if they were to be reliant upon generic emulators. That doesn't preclude them from offering such in the future though, but if you're going to need all that online infrastructure just to play the games anyway, they'll presumably still be offering downloads and/or streaming too.
I'm sure over time that will be rectified. Don't forget Sony shutdown Bleem because it did a great job of running PS1 games on the PC and even upscaled the graphics. Although I do wish Sony offered the creators of Bleem a job as the PS1 emulation on the PS2 could of been spectacular. Imagine the PS1 games upscaled on the Playstation 2 system at the time people would of been exstatic with that feature.
I'm not sure that that would have worked out well as Bleem might be able to run some games better, but there are rather more that it'll run worse or not at all. There are perhaps things that Sony could have done better with the backwards compatibility on the PS2, but by going with a hardware solution they managed to come up with something that'd work with nearly every game and there's no way that they could have done that with software at the time.

It's worth remembering that Sony actually lost their case against Bleem too. They just incurred huge legal costs in mounting a defence and that's what finished off the company. The precedent still stands though, which is why emulation of more recent consoles, albeit in a somewhat imperfect state, is a thing.

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Re: Backwards Compatability

Post by Gamer Guy » Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:29 pm

i dunno, am i the only person here who thinks its hard to even consider buy a new console these days because of a lack of backwards compatibility? i have my switch and i love it. aside from that, i just prefer retro games as opposed to the new stuff.

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Re: Backwards Compatability

Post by pratty » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:32 pm

Gamer Guy wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:29 pm
i dunno, am i the only person here who thinks its hard to even consider buy a new console these days because of a lack of backwards compatibility? i have my switch and i love it. aside from that, i just prefer retro games as opposed to the new stuff.
I don't think you'd be alone in prefering the old stuff, but given you can just play the old hardware, I think most will still base their decision to buy a new system on what new games and gaming experiences it offers. That is after all the reason we bought N64s after Super Nintendos, and Dreamcasts after Saturns, with no concern for BC.

BC is useful when the new hardware makes a significant technological leap older games can take advantage of, such as a more modern TV connection, or a more comfortable controller. While that may help influence a purchase, that alone is hardly worth the hundreds that a new system tends to cost.

The reality is game systems and games are made for the here and now first and foremost, and always have been. I suspect next gen could be all digital software and true BC won't even be a thing. For the likes of us the preservation of hardware will be more important than ever if we still want to make use of our physical media collections in the future.
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