Why Game Preservation Is So Important To Microsoft

To the people working on it, Xbox's backwards compatibility program presents a chance to preserve gaming history for future generations.


One of the big advantages of owning an Xbox Series X|S console is that it isn't just a platform on which the latest games can be played on; it's also a device that celebrates the entire Xbox legacy through a huge library of backwards compatible titles. For the team that worked on this system for Xbox, it was less about placing a dollar value on older games to drum up sales and more a drive to preserve the history of video games on the new Xbox consoles.

"As we got to working on the program, I got to realize that it was much more than that," Xbox compatibility lead Peggy Lo explained to director of programming Larry Hyrb on his Major Nelson podcast.

"That these games didn't just represent like a dollar amount to somebody; it became a lot about the history of what gaming is to the fans, to the people who developed those games, and to the industry itself. These are games that influence the way that games play today. Preserving that history has become so important to the team just so that people can continue to play these games, share them with new people, and kind of celebrate that legacy there."

On Xbox Series X, users won't just have access to Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox games, but also enhanced versions of those titles. Microsoft recently introduced Xbox FPS Boost, a new upgrade for specific games that almost doubles their frame rates and has so far been implemented in Sniper Elite 4, Far Cry 4, Watch Dogs 2, UFC 4, and New Super Lucky's Tale.

Select titles from the backwards compatible library went live on Xbox Cloud Gaming--the service formerly known as xCloud--at the end of March. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can now play 16 titles from across the original Xbox and Xbox 360 on an Android device.

Sony in comparison has focused less on backwards compatibility since it launched the PS5. While its latest console is capable of playing most of the games from the PS4 library, its other platforms are slowly being sunset. The PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, and PlayStation Vita storefronts will close later this year, and Sony has also silently killed off its old web store that let users buy PS3, PSP, and PS Vita digital games.

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