Today at E3 2017, head of Xbox Phil Spencer revealed a big announcement regarding the Xbox One backward compatibility system. Microsoft is now working on bringing original Xbox games to the Xbox One’s backward compatibility library.
According to Spencer, Xbox engineers are currently hard at work adapting the Xbox One to be able to play original Xbox games. Although he didn’t offer an initial line-up of games that will release for the system, fan-favorite Crimson Skies is confirmed to be coming to the Xbox One via backward compatibility. As with Xbox 360 games played on the Xbox One, Spencer also promised that the original Xbox games will play more smoothly and look better than they originally appeared when played on the classic Xbox console.
This is an impressive feat on Microsoft’s part, and an interesting look at how the two major competitors Microsoft and Sony look at the backward compatibility issue. Sony recently claimed that it didn’t intend to pursue bringing backward compatibility to the PlayStation 4 due to its belief that no one would want to play PS1 and PS2 classic games on the console, due to their aged appearance. Microsoft clearly begs to differ, as Spencer pointed out that Microsoft is “passionate” about the “classics of the past.” The numbers apparently also disagree with Sony, as Spencer noted that half of Xbox One players have played a backward compatible game, even prior to adding the classic Xbox games to the console.
This announcement from Microsoft is unlikely to change Sony’s standing on backward compatibility matters, but it does create a larger rift between the two fanbases. While many games are seeing HD re-releases or ports to the newer consoles, not every older game will be so lucky. As time continues to pass, more players may begin to demand backward compatibility, since the number of surviving classic consoles and peripherals that can play older games are dwindling with each passing day.
Original Xbox backward compatibility will release later this year for the Xbox One family of consoles.