Xbox Backward Compatibility: Why The Initiative May Be Here For The Long Haul
The backward compatibility feature of Xbox One has proven to be very popular because it allows gamers to relive and continue playing with their old Xbox 360 games as long as the title is backward compatible. This is one the advantages that Xbox One has over the PS4.
Currently, there are over 300 Xbox 360 games that can be downloaded and played on Xbox One. The list continues to grow as the company typically announces new games on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Now over 300 back compat titles. Nearly 50% of XB1 owners playing BC games is great to see. Thanks for supporting the program.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) December 13, 2016
Xbox Backward Compatibility: How It Works
"One of the features that we've had a lot of requests for - and very vocal requests for - is the ability to run Xbox 360 apps on Xbox One, which is quite difficult to do," says Ian Moulster, Microsoft's product evangelist. "It is easy to conceptualize, but actually quite difficult to achieve."
In order to have a backward compatible console, Microsoft has created an Xbox 360 emulator on Xbox One. The emulator practically does everything that an Xbox 360 will do from inside the newer console. The emulator is used by the console whenever you insert a compatible Xbox 360 disc. Just like with the Xbox 360, you need to keep the disc inside the tray when playing.
Head Says He Wants To Preserve Xbox Backward Compatibility
Since this is a great feature that distinguishes the Xbox One, a lot of fans are hoping that Xbox will keep this around for as long as possible. A gamer asked Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, via Twitter if the company plans to put the backward compatibility feature in future Xbox consoles. Spencer's reply is encouraging, but somewhat noncommittal. Spencer replied that he wants to keep the feature, but that it is something that he cannot predict that will happen. "It's challenging to predict the future but for me compatibility is a feature we should preserve as long as possible."
@Andrew_Gilletti It's challenging to predict the future but for me compatibility is a feature we should preserve as long as possible. — Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) January 26, 2017
The Future Of Xbox Backward Compatibility
While Spencer was not able to make concrete promises about the future of backward compatibility, his tweet made it clear that as far as he's concerned the feature is something he would like to keep around.
It is perfectly understandable why Spencer replied in such a way, given that the up-and-coming consoles may have an entirely different architecture. One could only hope that backward compatibility will be something that is easier to implement in the future, so that Xbox would be able to continue making its loyal fans happy.