I was in the Los Angeles Convention Center on assignment when Microsoft announced that Xbox One backward compatibility was on the way. Make no mistake, you could have dropped a giant atom bomb just outside the theater and people inside wouldn’t have been able to hear it. The audience irrupted in cheers. Some stomped their feet. Others sat their in sheer awe.
We’re talking about Xbox One backwards compatibility in this edition of Ask enConnected because what Microsoft is planning is nothing short of genius. It doesn’t hurt that you guys have tons of questions about it. Send your questions about Xbox One, Windows 10, Groove Music Pass – yes, that’s a thing – to theteam@enConected.com. We’ll email you an answer and feature it in the next edition of Ask enConnected for everyone to read.
Xbox One Backward Compatibility Is Confirmed
Q. I heard that Microsoft added Xbox One backward compatibility? Great news. When can I play any Xbox 360 game on my Xbox One.
A. That Microsoft added Xbox One backward compatibility is terrific, but there are a few fundamental differences from what you might be thinking of.
The Xbox One and its internal hardware won’t suddenly be able to completely understand and run Xbox 360 games off a disc. Instead, Xbox One backward compatibility is more granular. Essentially the Xbox One software now includes an emulator that understands Xbox 360 digital downloads. When you put your Xbox 360 disc into your console you’re unlocking a digital version that is compatible with this Xbox One emulator. This is also why any digital Xbox 360 titles that support the feature will just show up on your Xbox One as the library grows.
As for playing any Xbox 360 game you want, it doesn’t seem like that’s in the cards. Developers don’t have to do any coding on their part to enable Xbox One backward compatibility, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s nothing for them to do. The publisher has to be the one to give permission for backward compatibility. I think its reasonable to conclude that games published by Microsoft Studios will support Xbox One backward compatibility though.
How Much Will Xbox One Backward Compatibility Cost Me?
Q. How much do we have to spend for Xbox One backward compatibility.
A. Microsoft says that you won’t have to spend any money to get your Xbox 360 games running on your Xbox One – provided their developer has approved of it being included in the program. Digital games will surface in your collection once they’re compatible. The disc games you own will work too, but you’ll always have to place the disc in the tray before you can play them.
What Game Do You Want Back?
Q. If you could have any Xbox 360 game available on Xbox One, what would it be? You have to pick one.
A. The Batman Arkham franchise holds a dear place in my heart, but I’m in no mood to go back to the earlier titles. I like Batman Arkham Knight’s Batmobile way to much to give it up. I’ll take Star Trek Legacy, but only because I’m anxious to figure out if that game was just bad or if I wasn’t mentally equipped to handle it the first time around.
Windows 10 on Xbox One
Q. When is Windows 10 on Xbox One coming?
A. Soon. At E3 2015, Microsoft finally gave us a taste of what it’s planning for the first major Xbox One overhaul. Sadly though, they’re choosing to call it the New Xbox One Experience.
The whole thing looks like a mix of the current Xbox One software based on Windows 8.1 and the Xbox app that the company has built for Windows 10. Snap Center is gone, replaced by a dedicated area that’s always available it looks less sparse. Cortana, the voice assistant from Windows Phone and Windows 10 takes on the voice commands we have now and adds natural language support so that the commands aren’t so robotic. She can also send friend requests and such.
Microsoft has said fall for the Windows 10 update for Xbox One, which I would think put’s it at a October, November. Some say, December, but that’s a little too close to the holiday shopping rush to be plausible, in my opinion.
Introducing Groove Music
Q. How bad a name is Groove Music?
A. In hindsight, I think I and a few people might have been a bit unfair dissing the name out of the gate. People do groove to music, as Microsoft suggests. I still don’t think it’s a terrific name, but that’s not my call.
I’m more worried about what’s behind the new name not being anything remotely approaching a robust new music service. My hunch is that Microsoft might not have been ready to talk about Groove, but felt it had to because of leaks. If that’s true, I wish they would have waited. I’m not seeing a lot new.
Groove will build on the apps that first existed as Xbox Music for iPhone, Android and Windows. Presumably, the Xbox One and Xbox 360 apps will be included in that. The OneDrive syncing, the music streaming and Music Pass stuff are all holdovers from Xbox Music & Zune. It is worth noting that there’s a line about curated playlists coming back to the service: “Make and find playlists for any occasion, from romantic dinners to epic road trips,” Microsoft’s Groove Music site says.
Thanks so much for your questions. If you have more – and please tell me that you do – send them my way on Twitter or on Xbox Live (HarlemS). I’ll answer them and feature them in next month’s column.