Microsoft's announcement of Xbox One backward compatibility at their E3 2015 Keynote is exactly what fans of the console have been waiting for. While critics have often panned the tech company in the past for touting the Xbox One to be the “all-in-one entertainment system", Microsoft's slogan for the system is now truer than ever.
In fact, the proclamation of backward compatibility during the E3 press conference drew a heavy deal of applause, especially after the reveal that on-disc games can be imported into the console at no additional cost. So, thankfully, over the course of the next few months, the Xbox One's library will get a huge shot in the arm, as hundreds of Xbox 360 titles will begin arriving for digital download.
Of course, there are some interesting logistics involved as far as backward compatibility goes. For those gamers unsure how the concept was conceived and will eventually work for the Xbox One, Microsoft's Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb has taken to YouTube to discuss the feature with Xbox Platform Team member, Bill Stillwell.
In the rather grainy video posted above, Stillwell mentions the process involved in confirming that Xbox Ones could be backward compatible, saying:
"In order to make this happen, which we didn't think was initially possible, we went ahead and actually built a virtual 360 all entirely in software, and then we take the old 360 games and put them in the emulator and run it through emulation."
To display the power of the console's backward compatibility aspects, Stillwell and Hryb feature one of the Xbox 360's most popular titles, Borderlands, by showing off the last-gen title's gameplay on Xbox One. According to Stillwell, Borderlands was one of the first 360 releases that his team worked on in establishing backward compatibility, and as far as the video is concerned, the game appears to be running quite smoothly.
Of course, fans are not only interested in how well 360 titles will play on the Xbox One, but they are also curious as to how achievements will work. In regards to issue, Stillwell puts on a diplomatic face and takes a stern tone, saying, "These are still Xbox 360 achievements . . . you're only earning the 360 achievements. You're not able to earn them twice." Although the answer Stillman offers is a tad discouraging to fans hoping to double up on achievements, it's a reasonable trade-off just to have 360 classics running on a more powerful console.
To continue, the two Microsoft employees go on to talk about how Xbox 360 digital and disc titles will become incorporated into the next-gen console, with Stillwell explaining that the downloadable releases will show up in gamers' ready-to-install queue and can be played just like an Xbox One digital game would. Additionally, in an even cooler turn, the Xbox One recognizes the physical discs of 36o releases—that is, if they're currently in the catalog—and transfers the game onto the hard drive. Plus, the 360 games will also take advantage of Xbox One features like DVR, screenshots, and live broadcasting.
While limited backward compatibility titles are only being offered to preview members at the moment, the component will be available in a wider spectrum with hundreds of 360 games to choose from when the feature goes live later this fall. Of course, due to technical restrictions and hurdles to clear with licensing, it will take lots of time for developers to be able to transfer most, if not all, of the older 360 releases. Also, much to the chagrin of Kinect users, such limitations also ensures that Kinect games won't work with the Xbox One. However, it's hard to muster up any complaints when the backward compatibility option is being offered free of charge.
Which 360 titles are you looking forward to replaying the most on the Xbox One? And if you're a PS4 player, what do you think about Sony's stance on the issue?
Xbox One's backward compatibility feature will be available to the general public later this year.