The Xbox One Handbook is a book in progress. Backwards Compatibility Explained is part five of our massive look at how to use Microsoft’s entertainment console. If you have feedback about this chapter of the guide, leave it in the comments and we’ll address it in an update to this chapter. The Xbox One Handbook will arrive as a downloadable in the Kindle Store later this year.

Every gamer dreams of being able to play their old games on their new console. The Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Program is what makes that possible for Xbox One owners.

What is Backwards Compatibility

What Is Xbox One Backwards Compatibility?

Backwards Compatibility allows Xbox One owners to play Xbox 360 and original Xbox games on their Xbox One. At a basic level, it’s that simple.

For a long time, the Xbox One didn’t know what to do with an Xbox 360 disc. Now, the console examines the game and contacts Microsoft’s servers to see if there’s a compatible version available through the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility program. If there is, the Xbox One downloads that version to your system.

For digital games, the process is a bit simpler. Xbox 360 games purchased through Xbox Live that qualify for the program surface in the My Games & Apps area of the Xbox One automatically. Just download the game from there and you’re done.

Once installed, you get all the benefits of playing on both the Xbox One and Xbox 360. Each game’s multiplayer works, just as you’d expect it to. Taping the logo on the Xbox Wireless Controller brings up the same Xbox 360 Guide so that you can set-up multiplayer matches and more. Because you’re on an Xbox One you can record video from Xbox 360 games and share it over Xbox Live. Game streaming also works with games in the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility program.

If your Xbox 360 game save is stored on Xbox Live, your Xbox One will sync it to your console and let you pick up where you left off.

Why All Games Aren’t in the Backwards Compatibility Program

Why All Games Aren’t in the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Program

Technically, Microsoft and publishers only agreed on terms for making Xbox 360 games available on the Xbox 360 itself. Bringing those games to any other console involves negotiation with the publisher and any rights holders that have a stake in the title. That’s why all Xbox 360 games don’t qualify for the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Program.

Some publishers seem more into Xbox One Backwards Compatibility than others. Microsoft Studios, the part of Microsoft that makes video games, naturally is a big provider of Xbox 360 games available on the Xbox One. Ubisoft seems big on the idea too. Warner Brothers, Disney, Electronic Arts, Sega, Bandai, 2K Games, Namco, Capcom and Majesco all have games in the program.

Microsoft adds new games to Xbox One Backwards Compatibility when they’re ready. So far, the program includes more than 500 games and big franchises, like Call of Duty, Halo, Fable and Fallout.  When new gamers are added, they’re listed on Xbox.com.

Microsoft is treating the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility program as an ongoing service. The company will work with developers going forward to test and add new games to the offering.

To see if your favorite games are a part of the program, insert your disc into your Xbox One or check the My Games & Apps area the first chance you get.