One of the biggest stories from the Microsoft E3 2017 press conference is that original Xbox games will be backward compatible with the Xbox One. But unfortunately, the company did not use its press conference to explain exactly how that would work.
Thankfully the lead of marketing for Xbox, Albert Penello, has taken to social media to explain how it will work. Posting on Twitter, Penello said that much like the existing Xbox 360 backward compatibility program, the backward compatibility program for original Xbox games will also work with original Xbox game discs. Those game libraries can finally be put to good use instead of collecting dust, then.
The executive also confirmed that “digital licenses will carry over,” which means that any original Xbox games purchased on the Xbox 360 will also be available on the Xbox One through the service. Additionally, Penello also said that system-link play will work across all generations. The only downside is that the service will not automatically work with every game and like the Xbox 360 BC program, Microsoft will make certain games available through it.
Your original Xbox discs will work. Digital licenses will carry over. AND you can system-link play across all three generations.
— Albert Penello (@albertpenello) June 12, 2017
It’s currently unclear exactly when the original Xbox backward compatibility feature will be introduced. When a fan asked the executive about the service’s release date, Penello said that more information about available games and the program’s features will be available this year. Microsoft may not have an exact release date set for the feature yet.
For many though, it will be well worth the wait, whenever the feature shows up. As Sony continues to refuse to introduce backward compatibility to PS4 – for either PS3 or PS2 games – the Xbox One is the only console family that makes so many of its older games available on current generations.
It should be noted that Sony does offer some backward compatibility, with streaming of older games available with PlayStation Now (which costs money.) Arguably, PS4 remakes of games like Shadow of the Colossus also allow players to relive games they enjoyed from way back when. But that, nor Nintendo’s virtual console (which still has not been officially confirmed for the Switch), are the same as the Xbox offering.
Microsoft has certainly won some brownie points from games for this and many are absolutely over the moon with the company’s announcement. Whether that will translate to sales for its existing Xbox One models and the upcoming Xbox One X is unclear, but for now, Microsoft will be celebrating this victory.