Why Red Dead Redemption Isn't Playable on Xbox One...Yet
"We're definitely engaged with all of our publisher and developer partners--including Rockstar."
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Microsoft has spoken out to explain why Red Dead Redemption, among other Xbox 360 games, are not playable on Xbox One through backwards compatibility--at least not yet. As you might have guessed, it likely has something to do with licensing agreements.
"After the technological breakthrough that got backwards compatibility working, the next step was to figure out how to license all this content, originally released on Xbox 360, for Xbox One," Microsoft engineer Richard Irving told Eurogamer. "As you can imagine, publishers have cut very specific deals on some of that content. For example Madden--you can imagine how many licenses go into a game with the players, the NFL, sponsors, and so on. And there's over 1000 games at this point on Xbox 360."
Irving said it "didn't seem fair" to ask publishers to go out and obtain licenses for these games without knowing if there would be demand for them. To that end, Microsoft opened a voting portal on its Xbox Feedback website where fans (including Snoop Dogg) could demonstrate their interest. Armed with that information, Microsoft can then reach out to publishers about specific games and say, "'Please let us know if this is something you can do,'" Irving said about obtaining the required licenses.
He added that, ultimately, it's publishers who decide if they want to approve their Xbox 360 titles to be playable on Xbox One. This back-and-forth takes times, Irving stressed, which is why Microsoft was not able to deliver all of the top 50-100 most-requested games.
Pressed about Red Dead Redemption specifically, which is published by Rockstar Games, Irving said, "We're definitely engaged with all of our publisher and developer partners--including Rockstar--on when and how we can [deliver] on that fan feedback."
GameSpot has contacted Rockstar Games in an attempt to get a response from their side of the table. We'll update this post with anything we hear back.
Rockstar Games is one of the only major publisher that has no presence in the initial list of 104 backwards-compatible games. Hope is not lost, however, as Microsoft plans to deliver "hundreds" more in the future, though a specific lineup of upcoming games has not been announced.
Clearly, there is demand for Red Dead Redemption to be added to the lineup. On the Xbox Feedback site, the acclaimed 2010 western has more than 104,000 votes, sitting behind only Call of Duty: Black Ops II. That game also did not make the cut, though the original Black Ops has been confirmed to be coming later.
Some games you shouldn't expect to see in the Xbox One's backwards compatibility program are Xbox 360 Kinect titles because the Xbox 360 and Xbox One have different Kinect cameras.
What games would you like to see added to the backwards compatibility lineup in the future? Let us know in the comments below.