Without a doubt, one of the nicest features available on the Xbox One is its ability to play titles from the 360-era – and soon titles from the very first console Microsoft ever put out – thanks to the system's backward compatible program. With this being the case, Phil Spencer, the Executive Vice President of Gaming at Microsoft, recently stepped forward to further elucidate exactly how important the feature is, as he contests that it helps to preserve games as an "art form" for future generations.
Spencer revealed as much during a recent interview with Wired, with the Xbox boss stating that backward compatibility is important to Microsoft due to its capacity to protect video games of the past from being forgotten altogether. While Spencer also admitted that there's a potentially lucrative business opportunity for publishers to be able to sell older titles to new players, he states from an historical standpoint that backward compatibility is best for the industry as a whole.
"I see games as an art form. Console games can get lost when hardware generations go away. It can become more challenging to play the games of our past. There's something to be learned from experiencing what I played as a kid. There's good business there for the content owners, but as players, it's nice to be able to understand how our art form has progressed."
For those unaware, there are currently more than 400 Xbox 360 titles that play on Xbox One through Microsoft's backward compatibility program, but a report from several months ago asserted that most fans "ignore" them, as they barely play any of the games. Not long after the story was released, however, Microsoft stepped forward to refute the report's claims, stating that the research data that had been gathered was "grossly inaccurate."
Taking all of this into account, while the jury's still out on whether or not backward compatibility for the Xbox One is as regularly used as Microsoft claims it to be, Spencer's aforementioned sentiments regarding the preservation of games as an art form is more than enough justification for the program. So, with any luck, once the tech company starts to make original Xbox games available for the feature, most fans will at the very least be appreciative of being able to revisit the games of yore that helped lay the groundwork for today's titles and those of the future.
The Xbox One is available now with more than 400 Xbox 360 titles available through backward compatibility.