Xbox Boss Explains Why Backwards Compatibility Is So Important

"As players, it's nice to be able to understand how our artform has progressed."

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One nice feature on Xbox One is backwards compatibility support for Xbox 360 games (and original Xbox games soon). If you own older titles on-disc or digitally, you can play a growing list of these on Xbox One at no extra cost, which is a pretty nice option to have. Even if you don't use it all that often, it's nice to know it's there.

Xbox boss Phil Spencer told Wired recently that one reason that backwards compatibility is so important to Microsoft is to allow for the preservation of games for new audiences. It's an enticing and potentially lucrative business opportunity for publishers to be able to sell older titles to new players but that's just one element of it.

"I see games as an art form," Spencer said. "Console games can get lost when hardware generations go away. It can become more challenging to play the games of our past," Spencer said. "There's something to be learned from experiencing what I played as a kid. There's good business there for the content owners, but as players, it's nice to be able to understand how our artform has progressed."

There are currently more than 400 Xbox 360 games that play on Xbox One through backwards compatibility. Just recently, four Halo games joined the catalog, and there are quite other few high-profile titles in the library such as Red Dead Redemption and many Call of Duty games. You can see a list of all the backwards compatibility games here.

Backwards compatibility support for original Xbox games is coming to Xbox One later this year. The library will not be as extensive as the Xbox 360 backwards compatibility library. The Xbox One X, which launches in November, will also feature backwards compatibility support for Xbox 360 and original Xbox games.

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