Microsoft’s E3 conference yesterday evening was interesting for a number of reasons – the new and terrifyingly powerful Xbox One X was unveiled, we saw new games and for some reason, they even wheeled out a car. But for retro gaming fans, the biggest news was that Microsoft will be expanding the Xbox One’s backwards compatibility to include games for the original 2001 Xbox.
Details are currently thin on the ground as to how this will work, but communications from key Xbox figures give us some clue. The first game confirmed to be supported is Crimson Skies – and the fact that we’re talking about which games will be supported indicates that, as with the existing Xbox 360 backwards compatibility, games will be enabled on a case-by-case basis. It’s also been confirmed that your old discs will work, and that any original Xbox games you bought as digital downloads on Xbox 360 will transfer over too. Apparently, you can even play system-link games on a mixture of all three generations of hardware!
We’re pleased to see Microsoft taking this step. The Xbox library is currently a difficult one to access, as the Xbox 360 only offered partial backwards compatibility and the emulation community has struggled with the system. Cynics might note that it’ll be an easy way to bump up the Xbox Game Pass library and flog a few digital copies of Halo, but we’re pretty sure that there isn’t a huge deal of money in adding the feature (especially given that your discs will work). Ultimately, we’ll welcome anything that helps to keep our old games accessible for the future.
Incidentally, if you can’t contemplate going back to Halo without the right kind of pad in your hands, you’ll be pleased to know that Hyperkin is producing a new Xbox One version of “The Duke” – the original Western Xbox pad that many decried as being too large back in the early Noughties.
Will backwards compatibility tempt you to join Microsoft’s Xbox brand if you haven’t already?