For Xbox, Backwards Compatibility Proves to Be A Key Feature

Posted on June 7, 2017 by Brad Sams in Games with 22 Comments

Microsoft has done an excellent job with the Xbox One and supporting previous-gen game investments by making it backwards compatible with a large selection of last generation titles.

At the time of this post, Microsoft says that gamers have logged more than 508 million hrs of gaming on older titles. And if you are thinking that this is a small part of the user base playing a lot of games, the company says that about 50% of gamers have played a backwards compatible title on their console.

Phil Spencer jumped into the conversation started by Mike Nichols who is the CMO for Xbox, and said that on a typical day, one or two backwards compatible titles are part of the top played games for the Xbox franchise.

The company doesn’t say which games have made it into the ‘daily play’ charts but based on the entire conversation thread, that you can view here, it would not surprise me if Call of Duty, Black Ops II, is one of the games on the list.

These stats are higher than I would have expected but goes to show the value in supporting older games on current gen consoles. It also helps to justify why Microsoft is working diligently to make sure that many of the popular titles from yesterday will continue to work today as the usage rate is quite high for this functionality.

Knowing all this, support for backwards compatibility is expected to be as good as the Xbox One or possibly better for the Scorpio. That console will come out later this year and we should learn a lot more about the launch details and games for that console at E3 early next week.

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Comments (22)

22 responses to “For Xbox, Backwards Compatibility Proves to Be A Key Feature”

  1. wolters

    Agreed. I still wish they could convert over a few of the truly good Kinect games though. The original Kinect Sports was a great party game as well as, well, Kinect Party.

    • IanYates82

      In reply to wolters:

      Yeah. I am thinking of buying a second hand kinect to use with my xbone. Do the old 360 kinect titles work with back compat at all?

      • wolters

        In reply to IanYates82:

        Sadly no. I use the Kinect mainly for voice commands and for Skype, which works great. There are a handful of Kinect and hybrid Kinect games. But nothing close to Kinect Sports and Kinect Party. When I say "hybrid" games...for example...Alien; Isolation...when you hide from the alien, the Kinect kicks in and detects your movement so you can peer through the can also set the game for the kinect to detect ambient sound, which could draw the alien to you. Nice.

  2. mjw149

    Left unsaid is that the last gen was so old when it was retired, that the used consoles had no value. So I just kept mine. But then, I have used the BC already, myself.

    It's so hard to believe them when they've played so many games with stats before. I'm certain they're not lying, and I'm certain these numbers aren't what we think they are or they think they are. The whole 'Windows 7 telemetry proves Windows 8 is ok' got way out of control, to pick on notable example.

    • Darmok N Jalad

      In reply to mjw149:

      The 360 has immense value, really. Most games for it are dirt cheap now, and MS probably won't add all of them to BC. Keeping your old console is the best way to ensure you can play any old title that may interest you, especially any sports (maybe even racing) games that are updated yearly.

  3. IanYates82

    I've really enjoyed the back compat, and I'm someone who had 2x 360s but used mainly as media centre extenders. Back compat has let me get heaps of cheap games that my kids and I play every day. I've got tons of xbone games too but play a wide variety of 360 games too (many I suspect were never very popular).

    I really hope they keep this feature and can't understand all the negative press about it. It's like some want it gone for some reason...

    • daveevad

      In reply to IanYates82:

      I know I'm being picky and will truly deserve any and all down votes here but...Please...XB1, X1, Xbox1, anything other than Xbone. lol! It just pains me to read it and brings back terrible memories of 2013 and the overzealous Sony fanbois! Sorry...I's me!

      • IanYates82

        In reply to daveevad:

        I didn't realise it had negative connotations... Consider me schooled. It was easier with my phone keyboard as I had that word ready from autocomplete previously... Sorry ☺️

  4. MightyGorath

    Huh. Arstechnica seems to think otherwise

  5. BoItmanLives

    Old games don't sell new consoles, and old gen games are not a substitute for a decent current gen library.

    Unfortunately, old games are all MS can seem to come up with since their XB1 library is anemic; meanwhile on PS4 Sony cranks out hit after hit, new IP after new IP.

  6. Darmok N Jalad

    Yeah, I heard that playtime is low for BC, and a reason given for why Sony hasn't pursued it on PS4. Personally, I ended up getting an old 360 on eBay, as there were games I really liked on 360 that don't have a suitable replacement on One, and they will likely never show up on the BC list because of licensing. One prominent example for me is a good PGA title. The old Tiger Woods games have far more features and gameplay than the glitchy joke of a game they made for current gen (Rory Mcilroy), and no replacement is in sight. Also, some of the older Lego titles haven't made the list, and those are good for the kids. Because BC is spotty, it's just not enough of a sales feature, I'm afraid. If you have an old 360, my advice is to hold on to it.

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to Darmok N Jalad:

      I'm sure Sony is absolutely saying they don't have backward compatibility because it isn't really used. In fact, I'd bet they say that every feature they don't support really doesn't matter - until they belatedly add it.

      • Darmok N Jalad

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        Well, they already have PSnow, which is a subscription streaming service that allows users to play PS3 content on various devices, including PS4. They intend to add PS4 content to it as well. I don't see them adding BC to PS4 when they already offer a solution, especially considering that solution is another revenue stream.

    • Orielsy Diaz

      In reply to Darmok N Jalad:

      Low when compared to new games that feature online multiplayer (which makes up the MAJORITY of play time in gaming).

      High when you consider that older titles are MOSTLY played for their campaign content.

  7. Waethorn

    Funny how you put a positive spin on this. Arse Technica is less optimistic:

  8. Narg

    I'm just glad the future is more in sync with the past, as future Xbox machines should carry full compatibility with all past games (within reason, of course) It's way overdue that consoles accepted the norms for all other computing devices in keeping compatibility alive for as long as possible. Big cheers for Microsoft for leading the way on that initiative.

  9. Minok

    Backwards compatibility is important to me - but then I'm not the target audience as I'm still playing my XBox 360S, and will continue to do so for the forseable future. If I ever purchase a XBox One generation console, continuing to be able to play the old 360 games I know and love will be important., as the new console will replace the 360s (which will then go serve duty in a spare room).

    As an aside, the broken online multiplayer support (play with friends over the internet) for the EA titles that means at present those are all only local-coop now (as the network servers were shut off) poisoned me on a raft of games. That, for example, me and my friends copies of NCAA 07 football cannot talk to each other so we can each play from our own homes was inexcusable.

    But then I'm not the target audience, as next to my 360s I have the original Wii. And I'm building out my retro setup in a spare room to hook up my Atari 2600 VCS, Intellivision, and Atari/Commodore computers.