Xbox One Backwards Compatibility

MikeJ's picture
Wed, 05/22/2013 - 07:45 -- MikeJ

With each new generation comes new challenges for developers, which can unfortunately have less than desirable side effects for gamers. As technology improves, older hardware becomes dated, tired and obsolete. The old must make way for the new, and along with that some of our favorites may be lost along the way.

What I’m trying to say is: Xbox One won’t be backwards compatible.

We were all hoping to hear that Microsoft had the ability to allow Xbox 360 and potentially even Xbox games to run on its recently announced next gen console. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t meant to be. Unlike the 360, the Xbox One will have zero backwards compatibility.

Microsoft have stated that the reason is due to the inner workings of the console. Because the 360 is PowerPC-based, titles are simply not programmed in a way so that the x86 architecture of the Xbox One can process them.

Xbox One Backwards CompatibilityAnd the worst part of this means games downloaded on the Xbox Live Arcade will also not be transferrable to the Xbox One.

It’s not yet know if the games will become available on the Xbox One Live Arcade at a reduced price for previous owners (in a similar way to the Wii U) but Microsoft have confirmed that Xbox 360 titles won’t be available for download on the Xbox One at launch.

It seems that Microsoft have belief that the Xbox 360 still has life in the old dog yet. Are they confident they have a PS2 on their hands and the console still has another 3+ years of life? After all, the PS2 was only discontinued after 13 years of service.

It’s safe to assume that A-list titles won’t be released on Xbox 360 after Xbox One is released late in 2013, so the old consoles will instantly become obsolete for everybody other than those who wish to have a hit of nostalgia. It’s frustrating that Microsoft are forcing gamers to have 2 Xbox consoles under their television to accompany the TV receiver, PS3, Wii, Wii U and anything else they may have.

It has also been confirmed that both Xbox 360 controllers and Kinect 1.0 won’t be compatible with the Xbox One. That is no surprise as far as Kinect is concerned, after all the new console will ship with a new and improved Kinect 2.0. The reveal event showed how well voice and movement control has been integrated in to navigation, it’s now just important for them to implement the technology well in to its games.

I’m both surprised and not surprised that the controllers aren’t cross compatible, after all the only difference appears to be the slight redesign, but then again there is no money to be made if gamers can simply keep the controllers from their 360’s.

I’m disappointed in the lack of backwards compatibility, but I’m not surprised. The PS2/3 and Xbox 360 spoiled us, and we assumed that backwards compatibility would become the norm. If we look back further in gaming history consoles were never backwards compatible. SNES couldn’t play NES games, Mega Drive couldn’t play Master System games and Atari 7800 couldn’t play Atari 2800 games.

Wait, yes it could.

So perhaps backwards compatibility has made scattered appearances throughout history, but it certainly shouldn’t be something we expect anymore. Because the inner architecture of the Xbox One is so vastly different from that of the 360, Microsoft made the wise decision to keep any additional costs down by having to squeeze a 360 in there as well.

But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to have a bit of a moan.

Article by - Mike Jeavons
Insert Date: 05/25/2013

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