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.



A Kingdom for Keflings
A World of Keflings
Aegis Wing
Age of Booty
Alan Wake
Alan Wake’s American Nightmare
Alien Hominid HD
Altered Beast
Anomaly Warzone Earth
Assassin’s Creed
Assassin’s Creed II
Asteroids & Deluxe
Babel Rising
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
BattleBlock Theater
Battlestations: Midway
Bejeweled 2
Bejeweled 3
Bellator: MMA Onslaught
Beyond Good & Evil HD
Bionic Commando Rearmed 2
Blood Knights
Blood of the Werewolf
BloodRayne: Betrayal
Bomberman Battlefest
Boom Boom Rocket
Bound by Flame
Brain Challenge
Call of Duty 2
Call of Duty 3
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Call of Duty: World at War
Call of Juarez Gunslinger
Castle Crashers
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Centipede & Millipede
Comic Jumper
Comix Zone
Condemned: Criminal Origins
Counter-Strike: GO
Crazy Taxi
Crystal Quest
Dark Souls
Dark Void
de Blob 2
Dead Space
Deadliest Warrior: Legends
Deathspank T.O.V.
Defense Grid: The Awakening
Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut
DiRT 3
DiRT Showdown
Discs of Tron
Domino Master
DOOM 3 BFG Edition (only available on disc)
Doom II
Doritos Crash Course
Double Dragon Neon
Dragon’s Lair
DuckTales: Remastered
Duke Nukem Manhattan Project
Dungeon Siege III
Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara
Eat Lead
Earthworm Jim HD
Fable II
Fable III
Faery: Legends of Avalon
Fallout 3
Fallout: New Vegas
Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon
Feeding Frenzy
Feeding Frenzy 2: Shipwreck Showdown
Final Fight: Double Impact
Forza Horizon
Foul Play
Fret Nice
Frogger 2
FunTown Mahjong
Galaga Legions
Galaga Legions DX
Garou: Mark of the Wolves
Gatling Gears
Gears of War
Gears of War 2
Gears of War 3
Gears of War: Judgment
Geometry Wars Evolved
Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime
Go! Go! Break Steady
Golden Axe
Gunstar Heroes
HALF-MINUTE HERO -Super Mega Neo Climax-
Halo Wars
Halo: Reach
Halo: Spartan Assault
Hardwood Backgammon
Hardwood Hearts
Hardwood Spades
Heavy Weapon
Hexic 2
Hexic HD
Hydro Thunder
I Am Alive
Iron Brigade
Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad
Jet Set Radio
Jetpac Refuelled
Joe Danger Special Edition
Joe Danger 2: The Movie
Joy Ride Turbo
Jurassic Park: The Game
Just Cause 2
Kameo: Elements of Power
Kane & Lynch 2
Lazy Raiders
Left 4 Dead
Left 4 Dead 2
LEGO Batman
LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game
LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
Lode Runner
Lost Odyssey (Disc Only)
Magic 2012
Mars: War Logs
Mass Effect
Metal Slug 3
Metal Slug XX
Might & Magic Clash of Heroes
Mirror’s Edge
Missile Command
Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine
Monday Night Combat
Monkey Island 2: Special Edition
Monkey Island: Special Edition
Motocross Madness
Mr. DRILLER Online
Ms. Splosion Man
Mutant Blobs Attack!!!
MX vs. ATV Reflex
NBA JAM: On Fire Edition
NiGHTS into dreams…
Of Orcs and Men (not available in all regions)
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising
The Orange Box
Pac-Man: Championship Edition
Pac-Man: Championship Edition DX+
Perfect Dark
Perfect Dark Zero
Phantasy Star II
Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds
Pinball FX
Plants vs. Zombies
Portal 2
Portal: Still Alive
Prince of Persia
Putty Squad
Puzzle Quest
Puzzle Quest 2
Puzzle Quest Galactrix
R-Type Dimensions
Rayman 3 HD
Rayman Origins
Red Dead Redemption
Red Faction: Battlegrounds
Sacred 3
Sacred Citadel
Saints Row IV
Sam & Max Save the World
Sam & Max Beyond Time & Space
Samurai Shodown II
SEGA Bass Fishing
Sega Vintage Collection: Alex Kidd & Co.
Sega Vintage Collection: Golden Axe
Sega Vintage Collection: Monster World
Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage
Shadow Complex
Shank 2
Silent Hill: Downpour
Small Arms
Sonic & Knuckles
Sonic & All-Star Racing Transformed
Sonic CD
Sonic the Fighters
Sonic The Hedgehog
Sonic The Hedgehog 2
Sonic The Hedgehog 3
Soul Calibur II HD
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Space Giraffe
Splosion Man
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
Super Meat Boy
Supreme Commander 2
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
Texas Hold ‘Em
The Cave
The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match
The Maw
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Ticket to Ride
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2
Tour de France 2009
Tour de France 2011
Toy Soldiers
Toy Soldiers: Cold War
Toy Story 3
Trials HD
Triggerheart Exelica
Tron: Evolution
Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon
Unbound Saga
Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown
Viva Piñata
Viva Piñata: Trouble In Paradise
Wolfenstein 3D
Word Puzzle
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
XCOM: Enemy Within
Zuma’s Revenge!


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 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.