I used to look at backward compatibility on a console as a nice-to-have feature, but not something that most people would use. In the last few years, though, I’ve changed my mind thanks in large part to Microsoft’s big push to make compatibility a pillar of the Xbox brand. After bringing Xbox 360 compatibility to the Xbox One in 2015, Microsoft then announced backward compatibility for a few titles from the original Xbox. The company has been quiet ever since on that front, but now, news is coming.
Next Tuesday, Microsoft is airing the next episode of its Inside Xbox show, and backwards compatibility will be a major feature.
“One of our most common requests is for Original Xbox Backward Compatibility news,” the company said in an Xbox Wire post. “We’ll be starting off the show with a big update on just that.”
What this news ends up being is anyone’s guess right now. It could simply be another batch of 10 or 15 original Xbox games, which would be newsworthy enough itself, but it doesn’t seem to warrant a week-long tease. Microsoft could be preparing to announce compatibility for some of its flagship titles like Halo, Halo 2, Fable, Forza Motorsport, and Jade Empire – maybe even with some Xbox One X-specific enhancements as we saw with Xbox 360 games like Fallout 3 and Halo 3 last year. It’s possible something like full Xbox compatibility is coming, allowing any original Xbox game to be played on the system. When Microsoft unveiled the Xbox 360, most Xbox games worked out of the box, and it’s possible the company has the licensing to do that that it doesn’t have with the Xbox 360.
Since announcing the feature a few years ago, Microsoft has added over 400 Xbox 360 titles to the Xbox One backward compatibility list. Last summer saw the addition of 13 original Xbox games, as well. More and more, Microsoft seems to be making the Xbox One the single destination for Xbox games, and we’re finding fewer and fewer reasons to keep our Xbox 360s around. Original Xbox games do present difficulties that Xbox 360 games don’t – most of them aren’t widescreen, and not a single one includes achievements, a feature introduced with the Xbox 360 and one of the big ways people engage with Xbox games.
I’m looking forward to seeing what Microsoft has in store. The first batch of 13 games included a bunch of my must-haves, bringing Ninja Gaiden Black, Crimson Skies, Psychonauts, Sid Meier’s Pirates!, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Prince of Persia: Sands of Time to the system, so I’m curious to see if this new announcement can equal those expectations. Look forward to the official announcement on April 10.