Being the latest entry in the next-generation gaming console war, the Xbox One has come under the scrutinous eye of critics and consumers alike. Even after the lengthy and careful planning Microsoft took to ensure their ambitious hardware was received well and understood, the company hit a few snags attempting to address DRM issues and other consumer concerns. Xbox Live Arcade is no different, and it seems Microsoft intends to do away with it completely with Xbox One, making a full-blown shift toward family-oriented entertainment and interaction with television and other secondary displays.
According to Microsoft Game Studios VP Phil Spencer, the Xbox One will not support XBLA titles from Xbox 360, even going so far as to suggest users keep their 360 systems. Microsoft has previously stated that, citing a new framework that is incompatible with previous generation games, the new system will not be backwards-compatible in any respect – meaning everything down to the controllers and accessories (even headsets) will be excluded from Xbox One’s grand design:
“[XBLA] will continue to run on your Xbox 360 for as long as your Xbox 360 runs. [Xbox One] is not backward compatible and we think for somebody who invests in a large digital library that you want to keep your [Xbox 360]. Keep that as a vibrant part of the ecosystem. That’s why we’ve made sure that your identity, your friends, are constant between both platforms. You don’t have a separate identity on Xbox One or [Xbox 360]; it’s the same, you are you.”
While it helps that Microsoft has made efforts to keep things like achievements and contacts intact across platforms, it does so only slightly. Considering Xbox One seeks to dominate the consumer market and combine various elements of household entertainment, it seems inappropriate to suggest players hang onto the previous generation hardware. Even though the infamous red ring issue with the Xbox 360 has been put to bed, hardware can stop working for any number of reasons. Once that happens, if the system is no longer supported by Microsoft, entire libraries of previously purchased XBLA titles may be lost.
In the meantime, XBLA can be enjoyed as usual on any Xbox 360 system, and Microsoft intends to support the console for several years after Xbox One makes its debut. What alternatives the major developer may have for its next-generation console remain to be seen, but with any luck, XBLA will not be abandoned completely.
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