Early on at E3 Microsoft announced that the Xbox One would soon be backwards compatible. In other words, gamers will be able to play Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One. Sony has responded to this news, and Microsoft has gone into more detail on how it will work and why they did it at all.
The Xbox One is very different from the Xbox 360, and to get the Xbox One to be backwards compatible (according to MMGN) Microsoft is using software emulation to run a virtual Xbox 360 within the Xbox One. During the announcement at E3 Phil Spencer said, “We won’t charge you to play the games you already own.” The Xbox One will be able to play Xbox 360 games you own digitally, and any that you have the disc for. However, both physical and digital games will be played as digital copies for them to work with the emulation software. Playing Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One will also let you play games with friends who are playing on an Xbox 360, because there won’t be a diference in servers or how the game works.
Sony seemed impressed with Microsoft’s announcement that the Xbox One would be backwards compatible, but don’t appear to have adding that feature to the PlayStation 4 as a high priority. After the conferences Jim Ryan, the head of PlayStation Europe said, “We have experience of backwards compatibility. The earliest PS3 model was backwards compatible with PS2, and it is a much requested feature…but actually it’s not so greatly used.”
The head of Sony Computer Entertainment’s world wide studios, Shuhei Yoshida told Polygon in an interview, “I don’t think we will change our approach. The PlayStation 4 doesn’t have backward compatibility…Backward compatibility is hard. I won’t say we’ll never do it, but it’s not an easy thing to do. If it was easy we would have done that.”
Of course, not every game will be backwards compatible right away due to licensing and other issues. On top of the announcement that Xbox 360 games would be playable on the Xbox One, Microsoft is going to incorporate streaming Xbox 360 games onto Windows 10 PCs. There has not been a specific date announced for all of these changes, but they will all be coming out with an update this “holiday season.” Also anyone in the Xbox Preview Program is already able to play Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One.
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Written by Spencer Havens, a writer and gamer who somehow finds time to also work a day job.