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Three years later, Microsoft’s bet on Xbox One backward-compatible games is still paying off

It has been nearly three years since Microsoft announced plans to make older Xbox games playable on Xbox One, and if there’s one area in which the company has pulled ahead of its competition in the console wars, it’s in backward compatibility.

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theXtReMe1279d ago (Edited 279d ago )

I do like the backwards compatibility thing. It’s nice to have that library to fall back on when you’re in the mood to play something classic. I do wish that the Xbox One X automatically upgraded the games like they are doing with the enhanced titles, maybe even pulling from the library of PC games that have enhanced textures on that platform. I’d also like to see PC titles get emulated. Which I think would be the biggest win for them of all. Because there are so many flight combat games I would love to play, so many games that haven’t gotten rereleases like It Came From The Desert, many of the tycoon games, Age Of Empires, etc. etc.…

Mouse and keyboard needs to be implemented on the system level, so support is built into every game, regardless if the developer hardcoded it or not and support for PC wheels, flight sticks and other accessories the same.

If they can do all of this, they have something that other consoles don’t. Thousands of classic games to pull from, giving those who enjoy everything old and new access to games and genres they wouldn’t via console alone. If they can implement an instant enhancement system to not only boost resolutions to match that of the console and TV its playing on, but also pull from upgrades that have made many of those classic games feel new like upgraded high resolution textures and effects. With framerate upgrades to match.

Yes, many would argue that they buy new consoles to enjoy new experiences that take full advantage of the hardware. Though you can’t argue with an instant library of thousands of enhanced titles that would supplement the dozen or less ‘new games’ that tend to drip from the faucet of developers after a new consoles release.

I look at BC as a win, win for both developers and gamers. Developers of those classic titles can see a resurge in sales of games released a dozen or more years before, while many gamers can experience them for the first time, which they may never have had that opportunity without something like this in place.

It’s up to Microsoft to fully exploit this and make it the best they possibly can, thinking outside the box to include games that were never made available for console owners prior. Which, to me, is an awesome step in the right direction for a PC like selection within a consoles ease-of-use environment.

l33t_haxx0r278d ago ShowReplies(15)
Michiel1989278d ago

you cant just 'emulate' pc titles, same as u dont just walk into Mordor. It requires the game to be programmed again because its a different architecture. It's also not possible for the xbox to automatically enhance the titles. Do you think a console can just create new higher res models out of thin air (mind you, upscaling uses the same models and is not the same as remastering)?

I still hate that my first ps3 died, now I have one without ps1/ps2 backward compatibility :( I do wish sony would do more with backward compatibility but since gaming is moving toward online stream based stuff its unlikely. I wonder if they would consider putting a ps4 chip into the ps5 as an optional model....a man can dream

Teflon02278d ago

They won't need to put a ps4 chip in ps5, as ps4 now switched to traditional builds, meaning its built like a pc where ps5 will likely just be a ps4 with the newer amd parts. Like Xbox has been since the original. It'll be like Xbox where it can play older titles because they're actually similar in structure. It'll be a ps4 pro boost mode or Xbox x enhanced version type situation likely

nitus10278d ago (Edited 278d ago )

The PS4 has x86_64 architecture and if the PS5 uses the same architecture then it is very likely that the PS5 will be able to play PS4 games. However, there may be an issue if the PS5 has a different operating system although I very much doubt that will happen.

It must be noted that the operating system of the PS4 is based on FreeBSD and is called Orbis OS. Such applications (ie. games) that are compiled under this OS will have a very good forward compatibility if the same compiler is used. You could relate this to Microsoft's NT operating system and even Linux although the two OS's are different and binary wise they are not compatible without some middleware software.

As for PS1, PS2 and PS3 games they would have to be run under an emulator or Sony could do what Microsoft has done (which I doubt) for backward compatibility.

BTW. All PS3's can play PS1 media, the first PS3's did have PS2 hardware (PAL versions had hardware and software) so if your original PS3 has failed either get it fixed or you could use emulation on a PC if you really want to play PS2 games. It must also be noted that if you keep an eye out for sales on PSN where you may be able to pick up some PS2 games that will play on your PS4 fairly cheaply.

kneon278d ago


The xbox has changed CPU's every generation. The original was a modified Pentium, then they went PowerPC, and now they are back to an x86 platform.

The GPU platform has also changed from NVidia in the original to ATI for the 360 and XB1

zerocarnage278d ago

Frodo walked into mordor..

Eldyraen278d ago

@kneon: The cpu/gpu change isn’t a big deal as long as basic architecture stays the same, just like PCs. So both the next Xbox and PS should theoretically be BC with this generation’s games unless they intentionally throw a wrench into the system. If it’s as open as people expect it to be anyways since it’s basically a closed system pc more than ever now (more of a Steam Machine than standard Windows PC—designed specifically for a set of goals in mind, similar to say Linux instead of Windows where you can access a particular set of games and anything else designed for the platform, but not necessarily every game ever made as some are architecturally/software specific—Linux/Windows just being examples of course but closest parallel as Windows is more universal with fewer exceptions).

So I expect BC to be huge going forward but I still doubt Sony will do a 180 and emulate old games like Xbox/360 is handled. Which in the long run might not be a bad choice as streaming will be more viable in the distant future anyways (MS has stated their working on Azure-based game streaming as well so they’ll also have that front covered in a few years too i expect). Just for now, I really enjoy the download and higher res option of Xbox. Plus that means when they do go stream heavy they can stream the higher quality versions of old games which is a nice bonus over lower res classics—resolution can make a huge difference as 360/PS3 games did look pretty nice actually even if not modern.

Anyways, sidetracked there but architecture has more to do with just the pieces of hardware thrown together so BC should be viable imo. It can also keep gamers together post-new launches and keep old games more viable as well which is just a bonus.

Michiel1989277d ago

@teflon even if both are pc like builds, they differ a lot. Pc games get built from the ground up with a spectrum of hardware in mind, thats why a lot of games have several options to adjust graphical quality.

It will surely be a lot easier from ps4 to ps5 than from ps3 to ps4, but they wont just be able to be played on ps5 without the proper adjustments to the ps5, they probably wont need a new chip but if the ps5 has a new OS than it wil require more work to get them running on it.

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Tallpine278d ago

I've been wanting keyboard mouse games since early ps3 days. I just don't see why not. If Sony or MS announced a partnership with Blizzard and released a good decently priced keyboard mouse combo with starcraft or heroes of the storm or something, it opens the doors right up. So you have to buy a keyboard and mouse, they aren't expensive and any keyboard and mouse work, super cheap and opens consoles up for new genres of games like RTS's. I don't see any downside.

Veneno278d ago

The audience would be much more receptive to it versus motion control/kinect bullshizz.

SquareBurgers278d ago ShowReplies(3)
strayanalog278d ago

You bring up some interesting things. I do agree that Microsoft having the backwards compatibility feature is a welcome one, as is the feature a great one to have for any system whether a player uses it or not.‎

I agree with you that implementing a way to play thousands of PC titles - though a tedious and borderline impossible task - would be a great idea, and one helluva ace, in my opinion.‎
Admittedly, if Microsoft did this next level BC and didn't make it their first priority, because all hardware needs new software to stay current and competitive, then it could be amazing and I would welcome it.‎

ErogeMaster278d ago

If you want 100% compatibility just keep ur old consoles it's as easy as that.

sampsonon278d ago

just play the games on ur pc

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PhoenixUp279d ago (Edited 279d ago )

Backwards compatibility will always be an appreciated feature

The Wood278d ago

Yep. I wish the ps had it but it seems it's become more than what it's worth. I buy a new console for new games. Bc would be a convenience for me as I still own a working ps3. That being said. . .I repeat, I would prefer to have an option than none at all.

If there was some choice between the two, I'm new games all the way.

Jon_Targaryen277d ago

What's the bet you probably have 4-7 remaster games in your collection? "new games all away", I guess?

The Wood276d ago

I did download the remaster of gravity rush because I never played it. Ratchet and clank was fresh so that's not a remake. I will get shadow of the colossus because they updated it but I have way more new titles way more. I see the point you're making but it's a weak one and lost on me personally as I still have a working ps3 sitting next to my pro. I've purchased more full price current gen titles last year than Microsoft have released for the whole gen. Think about that for a minute

Aceman18278d ago

Yea it's a cool feature but its sure as sh*t ain't enough to make me shell out 500 dollars for. I've played 90+% of what I wanted from last gen.

81BX278d ago Show
Aceman18278d ago


Ain't one no trolling it's a nice ole feature, but it's not enough to spend 190 or 500 on when I've played 90% of what I wanted from last gen.

TheUndertaker85277d ago

Good thing backwards compatibility is available on Xbox One and One S then, not just One X isn’t it?

What’s worse is once there there’s zero upgrade fee for backwards compatible titles you own already.

And if you missed even that 10% that shows that you missed not one but multiple titles. Titles that are available on Xbox One backwards compatibility today.

Even all titles available through Xbox Live Gold are guaranteed to be backwards compatible for Xbox One systems and titles available via this method offer multiplayer with Xbox 360 as well.

antz1104277d ago

Lol so how much does BC cost exactly....$190 or $500? I'm curious because you're throwing out random numbers. Besides buying an X One, my monthly gold membership, and the last gen games i still have I haven't spent a dime.

Aceman18277d ago


To me it doesn't matter what either system costs, it's a nice feature but it's not enough to make me rebuy the system as of now especially since I've played 90%+ of the games I wanted from last gen.

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URtheWalrus278d ago

BC has never really been a big deal to me, but now I will be able to enjoy Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, Fallout 4, and MORROWIND! I am super stoked about this!!!!

IGiveHugs2NakedWomen278d ago

I can enjoy those same games... with a PS3.

S2Killinit278d ago (Edited 278d ago )

Personally i keep my older consoles. So i can play older games anyway. But generally i dont.

sampsonon278d ago

yeah, too bad it's at the expense of real triple A games.

Aura7541277d ago

I would expect PS4 BC on the PS5 because ecosystems have become important. It would be in Sony's interest to keep all of its customers in the Playstation ecosystem. BC is a great way to do that because people can move their PS4 libraries to the PS5.

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SpaceRanger278d ago

Honestly, the Xbox wouldn’t have much to play if it didn’t have BC. I can see why it’s considered a “heavily used” feature for many on this site.

NecrumOddBoy278d ago

But funny thing is that the BC Feature is one of the least used. It's like people want it, but don't use it.

aconnellan278d ago

Is it? I haven’t seen any numbers on it so I wouldn’t know

zerocarnage278d ago

I must admit I don't use it much, but I have a lot of friends who repeatedly go and play there old catalogue of past games, so I can't exactly say your entirely rite there..

zeuanimals278d ago

It's kind of funny to me how MS is using BC as a major feature this late into the gen. It's used at the start of a gen to tide people over until new releases come and until the system starts building a respectable library of its own. It's literally always been used as a crutch because systems couldn't stand on their own at launch without the older games to support them.

BC was never a system seller, it was a system justifier and it would've been great at launch to justify the purchases of either the PS4 or XBO at launch due to their weak lineups. The only justification there was is the power to play new multiplats better than before. So MS is using a beginning of the gen crutch and one of the features people might use to justify a new console purchase, but it's 4 years into the gen. That's pretty sad.

Eldyraen278d ago

I have several friends playing old games regularly. It’s just you can’t see them online usually unless you’re playing a 360 game because it emulates the 360 with its own dashboard (start+select brings it up in old games, xbox just brings up One dashboard still). Or maybe when hidden you have to hide in both separately? I just know some friends show up on 360 and not One at times.

It’s not a constant used thing but it’s oretty cool imo. I’m replaying Force Unleashed off and on actually and plan on playing RDR in 4K this summer (busy with God of War this weekend, don’t want to tie up with too many games atm). Probably have to replay kotors one day. I’d love if Lost Odyssey got a 4k patch too and a few other titles as well. So maybe it won’t bring millions of old gamers back but it’s likely doing thousands fantastic fan service. Which quite frankly is closer to or more than what most of the poorer quality Indies receive that hit every store continuously. I’d take 4k OG Xbox and 360 games over most of those indies anytime.

antz1104277d ago (Edited 277d ago )

Spoken like someone that doesn't have one.

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Apocalypse Shadow278d ago

Basically. It's only this generations talking point like cross game chat for last Gen. A nice feature as well but if I'm deep in a story driven game, I don't want to talk with anyone playing something else.

Sony is spending money making new games, new ips and new experiences like vr for its player base. I think they knew BC was a loss switching from cell to x86 but figured the advantages for developers and themselves were more important than a feature most didn't use after more games are released after the launch of a system.

But it's funny though. Microsoft is winning a race Sony's not even running in. And if anyone here says ps now is BC or Sony forcing you to rebuy games you already played, don't be delusional. We all know ps now is a streaming service like PS Vue and no one at Sony forces you to rebuy anything. Including remasters or remakes either.

Septic278d ago

"It's only this generations talking point like cross game chat for last Gen. "

Cross game chat wasn't just a 'talking point' for the sake of it. It was an important feature, an omission of which was pretty glaring.

"A nice feature as well but if I'm deep in a story driven game, I don't want to talk with anyone playing something else. "

That's not what cross game chat or party chat is relegated to. Practically speaking, it's really important for MP games.

"But it's funny though. Microsoft is winning a race Sony's not even running in. "

You think of it as a race but it's a feature that's all. Sony not having it isn't good whatever way it's twisted. And come next gen, if the PS5 doesn't have BC will you all 'not care' too?

Downplaying BC is silly. Overstating it is silly too as the primary focus should be on new IPs. But let's not pretend that it's not a great feature that really should be in all consoles.

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Kiwi66278d ago (Edited 278d ago )

And no one at MS forces anyone to use BC either as its also optional

chiefJohn117278d ago

Your entire post is one big facepalm. If you ever hyped a remaster then you're hyping BC too. Not only did you try to dismiss like it's a meh feature but you called cross game chat nothing more than a talking point for last gen console war. 😑 Cross game chat is the gaming equivalent of out of state/out city/international phone calls. You dismissing these features is a joke. You ppl must only play sp cinematic games don't care or anything else but that. Cause I don't see how anyone that play mp, ever had a favorite game that never gets old to them, ever missed out on a game they never got to play or willing to try out a free game given to them would anyway shape or form sweep things like gamepass, bc, cross game chat under the rug.

And don't try to blow this up like bc is being hyped as the best thing about a console or something. I'm saying these are good worthy features and down playing them as nothing, is a joke

InTheLab278d ago

Do people really trade in their consoles for pennies and just hope Sony or MS chooses to have BC? And what games are you playing over Sea of Thieves, Farcry, and other games due out this year? I can't think of a single 360 game I'd like to play over the free games from Games with Gold.

BC is overblown but I won't ever say no to another feature. But honestly I've used the feature maybe twice on Xbox 1 and for about 2 months when the PS3 launched. We are in year 4 of X1 and shame on MS for not giving you enough new titles to keep you busy instead of dusting off old CDs....yes...CDs.

So two schools of thought. BC is nice. New games are better than Old games.

Apocalypse Shadow278d ago (Edited 278d ago )

Chief, cross game chat is not that big a deal. Playing **in the same game and chatting** is fine as you're coordinating with others in a game or trash talking against others.

But I wouldn't say cross game chat is important online either. If you're playing a different game than I am, why break your concentration chatting with someone not playing the same game?

You talk about cross country communication when they made this thing called telephones and cellphones to do that. It's an okay feature that isn't a big deal.

Same with BC. It's cool to have. But not that big a deal. When Sony had full BC on PS3, it was nice but not that big a deal. I bought a next Gen console to play next Gen games. I keep my previous consoles to play last Gen games. You guys act like they no longer function when a new console comes out. Hyping up last Gen games on your new system is beyond hilarious. When new exclusive games aren't being made with all that money Microsoft has.

Kiwi66278d ago (Edited 278d ago )

This is a question to those who disagree with my other comment, when has it been compulsory for Xbox owners to use BC ? because the last time I heard it wasn't, it's just like how buying remakes or remasters isn't compulsory

starchild278d ago


You're so very very wrong. People make this claim about "diminishing returns" every generation and every generation it is proven to be blatantly false. Game graphics have a long way to go. The core graphics in next gen games (outside of framerate and resolution) will look much better than today's games. You'll see.

@ Apocalypse Shadow

Ha! BC isn't a big deal? If Microsoft or Valve or whoever took away BC from the PC you'd see PC gamers riot. Being able to keep your games and play them on your newer hardware and not have to keep old PCs or consoles hooked up is always going to be an important feature for a platform. Let's face it, though, the only reason you're downplaying it is because Sony doesn't have it. Personally I'm really hoping the PS5 has backwards compatibility with all previous generations of Playstation console games. My fat PS3 sadly died and I'm not going to go buy another PS3 and PS2 and have them cluttering up my entertainment center. Being able to carry over and continue to enjoy my games on newer hardware is a basic feature that I think needs to be there in every platform.

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zerocarnage278d ago

what planet you on pal.

you talk all this forcing to rebuy games and again another fanboy making out Sony is a golden child and do no wrong, there is plenty wrong they all do just in different ways they go about it.

that being said you are highly wrong the way you make out Microsoft forces people into rebutting games, would you have even come out with that if Sony had of done BC??? doubt it very much.. then there's the fact that anyone with a quarter of a brain will realise that in the BC world everyone will have to buy the titles unless they still own disc or purchased digital.

basically you tried to make all this into something it is not, while turning it against m&s all while somehow trying to praise Sony, but it didn't work..

antz1104277d ago

That's a typical N4G response. Lol that's funny because last gen the majority of this site was screaming that PS3 needed BC and now that Xbox did what they didn't the feature is played off like its not a big deal.

+ Show (9) more repliesLast reply 277d ago
Septic278d ago

"Honestly, the Xbox wouldn’t have much to play if it didn’t have BC."

How is that? Multiplats don't run on Xbox? Are PS owners primarily playing exclusives alone? Such a silly statement to make.

278d ago
SpaceRanger278d ago

How is it a silly statement to make?

You ask a lot of questions yet have no ability to actually read and consider posting a non-trolling comment. I said “wouldn’t have much to play”. Never said they didn’t have anything.

It’s common knowledge that the PS4 library is bigger and gets more games often throughout the year.

InTheLab278d ago

You pretending there's no gap in games on Xbox? Like multiplats just drop out of the sky every month?

You have State of Decay coming about a month from now and nothing else for the rest of May! So Sea of Thieves, which we all know has limited content, and State of Decay 2, a $30 game.....

Meanwhile, God of War drops in days and Detroit is out a month later.

Surely you see the problem here?

starchild278d ago


Microsoft does have a problem with first party games on the Xbox One, but that's very different than saying the Xbox owners don't have much to play. They have thousands of multiplats and backwards compatible games to play, as well as some exclusives. The fact that the PS4 has an overall larger library and more exclusives still doesn't make your statement true. The PC has a larger library and more games released for it each year than the PS4, so does that mean the PS4 doesn't have much to play?

OffRoadKing278d ago (Edited 278d ago )

Multiplats aren't why people buy consoles I dont understand why you dont get that.

zeuanimals278d ago


Uhh... Multiplats are the main reasons people buy consoles. But exclusives are the main differentiators for consoles to give people a reason to buy one and not the other(s), otherwise there wouldn't be a difference between the consoles.

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PhoenixUp278d ago

Multiplats aren’t titles worth playing?

PhoenixUp278d ago

“Honestly, the Xbox wouldn’t have much to play”

Then what’s this supposed to mean?

SpaceRanger278d ago

“Then what’s this supposed to mean?”

It means there wouldn’t be much to play. Not everyone wants Farcry, so having exclusives release in the same window is a good option.

Options aren’t good anymore I’m guessing?

twiggytree12278d ago

It means there isn't as much to play on Xbox as opposed to other platforms. Don't be dense, it's obvious what he meant.

PhoenixUp278d ago (Edited 278d ago )

@ space

But there is much to play. You don’t have to play FC5, the console still received plenty of other games this year worth playing.

Having exclusives is nice yes, but let’s not act ignorant and pretend XO hasn’t had any games at all release on it this year like it’s Wii U

@ twig

XO has received more games so far this year than NS.

Don’t be dense. You’re clearly behaving like exclusives are the only kind of games anybody ever plays.

Besides that what does what people playing on other platforms have to do with XO users having the large library of titles available for them to enjoy?

Prince_TFK278d ago (Edited 278d ago )

Even if we are talking about exclusive, the X1 does have some coming up such as State of Decay 2, Ashen, Ori 2, and Crackdown 3, coupled with the recently released ones such as SoT.

But this is the view that N4G always like see when it comes to X1, that it has no games.

S2Killinit278d ago (Edited 278d ago )

Multiplats arent the differentiating factor between consoles. What sets consoles apart is their exclusives. You know, how its always been.

Everything is relative.

PhoenixUp277d ago

@ S2

Way to state the obvious.

What you said however makes no sense to people who already have an XO. There's nothing stopping them from enjoying the large library of titles readily available to them on their platform of choice

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conanlifts278d ago (Edited 278d ago )

Wouldn't have much to play? It does have around 1500 xbox one games so there are plenty to play. Just not a huge amount of new 1st party exclusives.

SpaceRanger278d ago

True, I can correct my statement to say:
“There wouldn’t be much new content to play throughout the year, specifically on an Xbox One, without BC.”

Prince_TFK278d ago

“There wouldn’t be much new content to play throughout the year, specifically on an Xbox One, without BC.”

Except that there are new contents to play throughout the year on the X1. Many games are released every month and heavy hitters like RDR2 and Shadow of The Tomb Raider are best played on the X1 (if you are a console player). Let stop pretending that no new games are released for the X1, shall we?

conanlifts278d ago (Edited 278d ago )

“There wouldn’t be much new content to play throughout the year, specifically on an Xbox One, without BC"
For me as a fan of both platforms, who is currently gaming on Xbox the issue is definitely the lack of exclusives. Plus Ms are currently being very quiet about anything upcoming. Is there even a halo or gears 5 this year? Even their main franchises are ltd with just 1 new entry so far. It is clear they need to do far more, the question is whether they will and even their loyal fans are becoming skeptical.
The xbox has a lot of games, but very little from MS to pull in new users.

chiefJohn117278d ago (Edited 278d ago )

Wtf are you talking about bc titles only make up 10% of the entire Xbox one playable library. The dumbest statement made this week. More stats for you out of the top 5 games this week 3 are Xbox one titles. 😵 Lol #FactsOverBS

SpaceRanger278d ago

And? The frequency of releasing those 10% are more frequent than exclusives on Xbox. Still doesn’t change my point.

I appreciate the facts to further support my comment. 👍🏼

chiefJohn117278d ago (Edited 278d ago )

So your trying to say with a straight face 200 BC titles have been released more frequently than 1200+ native titles? idk if I should laugh, ignore, facepalm or call you some help. You're not be serious are you? I'll play along, well looks like that BC is more frequently release than ps exclusives as well. 😂 Either was how does that relate to there not being much to play without BC? You made anstupid statement to to defend and uphold it is only making you look more dumb.

Realms277d ago (Edited 277d ago )

On a PC you can emulate just about almost all consoles and it's a good thing for archival purposes but MS's gaming library would get even more highlighted without BC because they just get fewer games period. Some of you are so defensive about people pointing out that MS has been lacking in that department for a long time and no there is no shortage of games to play on any current gen system but it's disingenuous to see the kind of games the PS4 and Switch are getting and think MS is doing well in that regard. Hey if you are enjoying last gen games more power to you but the rest of us are busy playing current gen games.

81BX278d ago

Yo space! No one has given me the proper # of games that should be released in a yr... so please inform me?!?!