The head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, reveals that almost 50% of Xbox One owners use the backward compatibility feature which allows Xbox 360 games to be played on the console.

When it was announced during Microsoft’s E3 2015 press conference,the Xbox One backward compatibility feature received huge applause. Many fans were excited to be able to play their favorite Xbox 360 games on Xbox One, meaning that their extensive 360 game libraries wouldn’t just gather dust now that they had a new console. But, while the cheers for the feature were thunderous, how many Xbox One players actually make use of it?

According to the head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, quite a few people use the feature, as it turns out. Thanking gamers for “supporting the [backward compatibility] program,” in a tweet Spencer revealed that almost 50% of Xbox One owners make use of the feature and that it’s “great to see” so many utilizing it. While Microsoft no longer reports Xbox One sales figures, estimates from earlier this year put the figure at 20 million units sold (a number no doubt boosted by the console’s recent run of good form) which would mean that around 10 million people are playing games through backward compatibility.

As for which Xbox 360 games – out of the 300-strong library of available titles – are most popular, Spencer didn’t say. However, there are some likely candidates. For example, Red Dead Redemption is now backwards compatible and gamers have been so excited by this that sales of Rockstar Games’ cowboy sandbox skyrocketed by thousands of percent.

Now over 300 back compat titles. Nearly 50% of XB1 owners playing BC games is great to see. Thanks for supporting the program.— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) December 13, 2016

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was also made available, giving gamers a chance to learn more about the fantasy series before jumping into The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. While the BioShock trilogy is backward compatible now too and this is likely to be popular as fans wait (and hope) for another entry in the series.

As Xbox One gamers question what the next 300 games will be and how else Microsoft will try and bump up that ‘almost 50%’ figure, PS4 gamers will no doubt be asking whether a similar feature will come to their console. Clearly backwards compatibility is something that gamers want and use in their droves, so will Sony follow suit?

Unfortunately it seems unlikely that Sony will introduce the same backwards compatibility method – using last-generation discs to trigger a free download on a current generation machine – to its console. Backward compatibility of PS3 games is technically available on PS4, via the PlayStation Now streaming service which costs money. Although it’s unclear just how much money Sony makes from PS Now subscriptions, introducing disc-based backward compatibility would certainly put a dent in those earnings so PS4 players shouldn’t expect that to arrive any time soon (or at all) in future.

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