What the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Program is and how it'll let you play your old games.
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.
Microsoft spent years letting owners of the Xbox One believe they’d never be able to play the games purchased for their Xbox 360 on the Xbox One. To their credit, it doesn’t seem like the company was being dishonest. It really didn’t think it’d be able to get the feature in, according to engineers that have spoken publicly. That’s what made last summer’s announcement at the Electronic Entertainment Expo so exciting.
What is Backwards Compatibility
What Is Xbox One Backwards Compatibility?
Xbox One Backwards Compatibility allows Xbox 360 owners to play any game that they purchased for their console on the Xbox One, theoretically.
It used to be that the Xbox One didn’t know what to do with an Xbox 360 game. 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 automatically to your system.
For digital games, the process is a bit simpler. Xbox 360 games purchased through Xbox Live are added to the My Games & Apps area of the Xbox One automatically. Users download the game, just like they would any other digital Xbox One game that they own. Every Xbox 360 game has a flag on the side of it, letting users know that it was originally designed for Microsoft’s last-generation console.
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 One Wireless Controller brings up the same Xbox 360 Guide so that users can set-up multiplayer matches and more. Features only available to Xbox One users work with these games too. Users can record video from Xbox 360 games and share it over Xbox Live. Game streaming, that is broadcasting gameplay over Twitch, works with games in the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility program.
What Games Are Included in Backwards Compatibility
What Developers Have Signed Up for Xbox One Backwards Compatibility?
Now, let’s talk about that that “theoretical” justification. 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.
Some publishers seem more into Xbox One Backwards Compatibility than others. That’s understandable given there’s almost nothing in it for their business interest. If a user already has a disc or digital copy of the game, publishers get no extra money for enabling backwards compatibility. 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 has titles coming, along with Warner Brothers, Disney, Electronic Arts, Sega, Bandai, 2K Games, Namco, Capcom and Majesco.
Publishers do get earnings from reselling their digital games for Xbox 360 for play on Xbox One. GameStop, should see higher sales of long-forgotten games too.
Microsoft is treating the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility program as anon-going service. The company will work with developers going forward to test and add new games to the offering. When new gamers are added, they’re listed on Xbox.com. Since Microsoft is handling all the work on its end, it seems like that developers and publishers will be more receptive to bringing their Xbox 360 games to Xbox One, compared to their rollout of original Xbox games for the Xbox 360.