During Microsoft’s E3 2015 press conference, the company dropped a bombshell for Xbox gamers. It was announced that a future update for the Xbox One will make Xbox One backwards compatible with Xbox 360 games. This turned out to be one of the biggest surprises of all the E3 press conferences, and had fans everywhere celebrating the fact that the Xbox 360 legacy would live on throughout the course of the Xbox One’s lifespan.
With the Kinect such an integral part of the initial Xbox One ecosystem, many assumed that this backwards compatibility would apply to Xbox 360 Kinect titles as well. However, as it turns out, this is not the case. In order to achieve backwards compatibility with Xbox 360, the Xbox One will simply simulate Xbox 360 software, meaning that none of the additional accessories or peripherals released for Xbox 360 over the years will function when playing 360 games on Xbox One.
Overall, this doesn’t seem like that big of a blow to the hype surrounding the new Xbox One functionality. After all, most gamers seem to dislike the Kinect. At one point, Microsoft was adamant that the Xbox One would never be sold without Kinect, but they eventually gave in, and started selling Xbox One systems without the Kinect device. Since that move, the Xbox One has managed to greatly improve its sales, and even pull ahead of the PS4 in the NPD sales charts on a few different occasions.
For the most part, Xbox 360 Kinect titles were considered to be mostly mediocre experiences. Rarely were any Xbox 360 Kinect games met with much critical acclaim, with the exception of Harmonix’s Dance Central series. Microsoft tried their best to push Kinect as much as they could over the last few years, even having some of their most renowned studios, such as Rare, dedicated almost entirely to Kinect game development.
What’s surprising about this news is that the Xbox One Kinect device apparently can’t play Xbox 360 Kinect titles. Considering the fact that the Xbox One’s Kinect is significantly more advanced than the Xbox 360’s, one would assume that it would be able to do so no problem. It looks like that’s not the case, and Microsoft not taking the extra effort to make 360 Kinect games backwards compatible is just another sign of them largely abandoning support of the hardware.
After all, one of their chief Kinect studios, the aforementioned Rare, have now stepped away from Kinect development to put out a huge collection of their games called Rare Replay, and they are also working on a gorgeous pirate-themed MMO for Xbox One called Sea of Thieves.
Xbox One backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 is coming later this year, but Xbox One Preview members can check out the functionality right now.