Xbox One backwards compatibility is coming on November 12, but do you really care?
If you keep up with video game consoles, you’ve probably heard that the Xbox One is going to be backwards compatible soon. It has long been one of the most requested features for both Microsoft’s system and the PlayStation 4, and now we know when it will happen for the Xbox One.
During a Halo 5 launch event, Xbox boss Phil Spencer announced that the long awaited Xbox One backwards compatibility will come via an update on November 12.
The real question is do you really care?
Your first answer is probably “hell yes,” and rightly so. More games is always a good thing.
It sounds like an obvious slam-dunk for Microsoft, and makes for a great selling point over the PS4. The Xbox 360 library is massive, and backwards compatibility means that the Xbox One’s library just got larger by proxy.
At the moment, the library for backwards compatible games for the Xbox One is around 100, although a complete list hasn’t been provided yet. It will include some once major releases, including Fallout 3, the Gears of War titles, Borderlands, and more. Not every game will be backwards compatible, but most of the biggest games probably will be.
The way it works is that the Xbox One essentially creates an Xbox 360 within itself. Microsoft is using Hyper-V Virtualization software, just like it does with Windows 10 to provide a 360 experience on a PC.
When you run a Xbox 360 game on the Xbox One, it will behave just like it did on the 360 – exactly like it did on the 360, down to the older notifications and even the 360’s home menu. It will still allow for use of some of the Xbox One’s newer features like live streaming, but you are essentially playing a 360 on the Xbox One.
Given that everything is identical, you will be able to save games to the cloud and then play on either the Xbox One or 360. Perhaps best of all, the free Xbox Gold games available for the 360 will be playable on the Xbox One.
This is without question a great addition, and a long overdue one. Given the architecture of the PS4, it may not be possible to make Sony’s system backwards compatible, which is a huge plus for Microsoft.
But beyond the hype, does anyone care? Really?
Playing 360 games on the Xbox One doesn’t improve the games in any way. The graphics are the same, the controls are the same, the play is the same. All you are getting is access to older games.
Here’s the thing – I don’t know a single person that completely skipped the last generation of consoles – the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 – and then bought a PS4 or Xbox One. I’m sure there are some, but not many people will be seeing these games for the every first time. Plus, most people I know that do own a new console still have their last system sitting around – not all, but most.
Like the majority, I was thrilled when I heard about the backwards compatibility coming to Xbox One. I have a few old games I never finished, and I liked the idea that I would get the chance to go back to them.
Then I remembered that I still have my 360. I also remembered that there are a lot of amazing games for the new gen systems that I am more interested in playing than any older titles – games like Fallout 4, COD: Black Ops III, and Star Wars Battlefront.
All three will probably take me well into the next year, plus I still have games like Halo 5, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, NBA 2K16, Forza 6, and others. If those get old, I never got around to playing Shadows of Mordor. Then there are the older games that received a new gen upgrade, like the Uncharted (PS4 only, I know) and Gears of War collections. If those get old, I wouldn’t mind playing both Metro titles on the new gen either.
Look at it like this: if you are considering buying a new system, would you rather have the Xbox One with backwards compatibility, or the PS4 with exclusives like No Man’s Sky and the VR Project Morpheus on the way.
I am in no way endorsing one console over the other (Xbox has some killer games on the way, like the new Tomb Raider), I’m just pointing out that I’d rather play new games than old ones.
When the Xbox 360 began to introduce downloadable backwards compatible titles from the original Xbox library, I was excited then too. Over the years, I ended up buying exactly three games, and I only played two of them – one of them, Halo CE – was eventually re-released multiple times with increasingly better graphics and new features anyway.
I love that Microsoft is giving us the option of playing backwards compatible games. It means that I can finally get rid of my old 360 with a clear conscience, but that’s about it. All I’m saying is don’t buy into the hype. Backwards compatibility is a good thing, but Xbox One backwards compatibility is not the game changer Microsoft would have us believe.