EA exec: It's unlikely 'next Xbox' will play Xbox 360 games

Microsoft's Xbox 360 console can play some, but not all, of the games made for the original Xbox via software emulation. However, an executive for Electronic Arts now claims that we should not expect Xbox 360 games to run on the next version of the console, nor should owners of the next Playstation expect to play PS3 games on that machine.

Gamasutra reports that EA chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen, speaking this week as part of the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, said, "An important thing to remember is that next-gen consoles will most likely not be backwards compatible… And if you [play] multiplayer on a game, you'll most likely not be able to play with someone on a different generation."

It used to be when people bought a new game console, they also got a way to play all the older games made for the previous generation of that console. When the Playstation 2 came out in 2000, it was able to play PS1 games. The original version of the PS3 was able to play PS2 games, but later versions of the console took away that ability. The Nintendo Wii could play GameCube games and the current Wii U console can play Wii games.

That kind of ability seems to be on the way out for the next consoles from Microsoft and Sony. Even with that missing feature, Jorgensen says that consumers should be happy with what the two companies are going to offer, without going into specifics. He said:

No one's really seen yet… I mean, we have internally, but no one externally has really seen what the look and feel will be like on the new consoles. So I'll reserve judgement other than to say that I think people are going to be pretty excited.

Sony is expected to reveal the next Playstation console during a press event on February 20th and Microsoft should follow with its own Xbox announcement sometime later in 2013, with a launch for both consoles in the fall of this year

Source: Gamasutra | Image via Microsoft

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I wonder if they offered an emulator on their Marketplace for $20 that will allow you to play old XBox 360 games how many people would actually buy it.

Yet another nail in it's Coffin, along with the used games block rumor, all before it's even released....buyer beware!!!

As with everything else you "heard", it's a massive rumour. When Microsoft (or Sony for that matter) actually state 100% what the state of backwards compatibility is, don't worry about it.

Also all this talk about different architectures and stuff, yes its probably a PITA to emulate, but if any company in the world can make it happen its MS,.
We are the loyal fanbase and they decide to screw us the most.

Cry me a river, you big baby.

As if Microsoft are deliberately and personally screwing with you.

It's a business decision much like everything else - this is the real world. Stop taking it so personal.

If it affects you so much, don't buy the next console.

Making it backwards-compatible would be against profit. Companies would rather sell you the same game again than for you to use your old copy, or buy a pre-used one!
Just look at the PS2 games they now sell on PSN.

So what's the deal with GTA 5 then? Is that going to be released for 360 or for the next gen Xbox? I don't think they would release a game for "an old console" just a few months before the new consoles come out if it won't be compatible.

There's really no reason that some of these AAA titles can't be released for both generations, just as they're currently released for PS3, 360 and Wii/WiiU. Most of the effort goes into platform-independent work, like design and content creation.

I will be disappointed if I can't play the games I've downloaded on the PSN on the PS4.

It really makes me consider purchasing any future titles from these online stores.

Why is the title worded as if this only affects XBox, when he clearly mentions both the XBox and PS4 in his quote?

Nevermind, I just saw who wrote it. The skew against anything Microsoft is strong in this one...

Lack of backwards compatibility is a huge problem to quite a large margin of gamers with a game library., moreso to those that don't want to keep a handfull of systems all setup.

My last console was a PS2, and while I was interested in a PS3, it cost far too much and I couldn't justify paying so much when I was primarily a PC gamer. Sad that that lost me the ability to get a backwards compatible PS3, but since emulation has kicked up so much, there's no reason to run my PS2 anymore (and in fact I just finally transferred all my PS1/2 memory card data over).

Emulation of the 360/PS3 is a different story; much more powerful hardware and I don't see it being feasible anytime soon, unless dedicated hardware is used, which, as everyone is saying, would cost them far too much. Shame.

Boo hoo.

Like many people, they'll just have to live with it.

It's not as if there isn't an alternative. Simply keep old console. So what if some gamers want to have less boxes underneath their TV. I want a Ferrari, but I'm not crying buckets over it.

Deal with it. The loss of backwards compatibility hardly stops you from actually playing the game.

Hypothetically speaking, I'll just sit my PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, the next Xbox, a Wii, and a Wii U under my TV... On top of other accessories, such as the cable box.

That's the problem with lack of backwards compatibility :'(.

Just wondering where your PS2, PS1, GameCube, N64, SNES, Genesis, Sega Master System, and NES are...

The point I'm trying to make is that you choose to hold onto the consoles that you choose to hold onto.

Shadrack said,
Just wondering where your PS2, PS1, GameCube, N64, SNES, Genesis, Sega Master System, and NES are...

The point I'm trying to make is that you choose to hold onto the consoles that you choose to hold onto.

Was wondering when some one was going to bring up the old consoles. I don't remember the snes playing NES games or the megadrive playing master system games.

Silver47 said,

Was wondering when some one was going to bring up the old consoles. I don't remember the snes playing NES games or the megadrive playing master system games.

Exactly. Backwards compatibility is a NICE feature...do not get me wrong. If it is there GREAT! However, it has not ever been a killer feature that sells consoles and in fact out of the WHOLE history of consoles only a very few have had backwards compatibility. Notably: Gameboy Advanced, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PS2, and the first PS3 model.

Yeah, its only recently happened, no expectation that its a guarantee.

Though here's a thought, if the next Xbox has an x86 processor that the rumours claim, could it at least run original Xbox games?

Not sure... surely there would still need to be some compatibility layers in place to work correctly. If I were MS, I would not be prioritizing original XBox backwards compatibility when I couldn't get XBox 360 compatibility to work. Just isn't very useful...

Silver47 said,

Was wondering when some one was going to bring up the old consoles. I don't remember the snes playing NES games or the megadrive playing master system games.

the megadrive version 1 has an adapter to play master system games which i have

I don't see this as being that big of a deal, tbh. But for me, I play a game until I am done with it and then I am done with it and usually sell it.

It seems to always take a great deal of effort to get good backwards compatibility worked out in new consoles, and I hardly think it is worth all that effort to support games that nobody is going to be buying. Its a new console, and people will go buy new games for it.

If you have old XBox 360 games that you still want to play then Good News For You! You don't have to get rid of your XBox 360 when you upgrade.

Not too surprising... whenever you switch CPU architectures, you have to either do software emulation (which will be orders of magnitude slower in many situations) or you can insert another hardware layer (which is part of why the PS3 cost so much). The WiiU, on the other hand, stuck with IBM's Power architecture, so most if not all instructions for Wii games can just pass right to the hardware without modification.

its so funny hearing people bitch about backwards compatibility. why dont you just keeps your current console beside the new one. its not like its a law not to have two consoles on the same shelf. its not like its costing you a paycheck to keep it there. are you paying for extra square footage?

and another thing. its not financially viable and probably not technologically possible to emulate xbox360 or ps3 on the new hardware. they can probably achieve a few fps while running peak.

just look at arm emulators for pcs for example. they stutter and sometimes have a hard time. imagine emulating xbox 360 GPU, or the CELL processor.

You make a fair point, but, the xbox 360 isn't known for being a solid piece hardware that will last for years to come and this will affect peoples desicion when purchasing a new console, do they want to get all new games or play the ones they already have, we all know which ones the parents will choose.

Technologically speaking, Microsoft is likely is a far better position to provide backwards compatibility than Sony is and if they did provide it, and Sony couldn't, that would make for some very bad times for Sony's next console.

I think unlike EA though, Microsoft put some forethought into their projects and this EA guy is wrong.

JaredFrost said,
You make a fair point, but, the xbox 360 isn't known for being a solid piece hardware that will last for years to come...

Pretty much this. My PS1 and PS2 have lasted me the longest time though, and still run today! (both are the fat models)

vcfan said,
its so funny hearing people bitch about backwards compatibility. why dont you just keeps your current console beside the new one. its not like its a law not to have two consoles on the same shelf. its not like its costing you a paycheck to keep it there. are you paying for extra square footage?
.

As I said above
some people have more elaborate wall mounted systems and with limited number of HDMI plugs and or space where the media equipment is kept.
its all about convenience, I would rather not have to mess around with all the cables and stuff every time I have the desire to play an older game.
But alas I remember we are on Neowin, and anything MS does is the right decision, how dare anyone question it ? right?

So the future is looking rather bleak in terms of backwards compatibility and used games, from what I'm gathering. Perhaps this is to continue to sell older games to us?

I hope Sony keeps their online multiplayer setup free because I'm starting to feel like we're getting pinched.

I'd prefer it to play 360 games, but if not, oh well, the more toys/components in the TV stand, the cooler it looks.
Sometimes I feel like adding my old XBOX (translucent green) to my setup, just for looks.

I fear EA might be right about this. Sony dropped backward compatibility early into this generation which made me very happy that I purchased an Xbox 360 instead. I have used my X360 to play games like KOTOR, Fable and Jade Empire (the last two actually looked better on the X360).

But since Sony dropped support Microsoft can also choose to drop it. They might lose some 'sure buys' but it wont be as damaging as not supporting backward compatibility while the competition does have it. And when you drop support you have much more freedom in designing the new hardware.

So EA is probably right but if they are wrong then a new Xbox is a sure buy from me. If not then Sony is an option too I guess.

Ronnet said,
Sony dropped backward compatibility early into this generation which made me very happy that I purchased an Xbox 360 instead.

But since Sony dropped support Microsoft can also choose to drop it.


Microsoft dropped backward compatibility in November 2007: http://support.xbox.com/en-us/...x-games/play-original-games - They dropped it just a month after Sony did here in Europe: http://www.scei.co.jp/corporate/release/071006e.html - And the PS3 can play more PS2 games than the 360 can play Xbox games. There's also the PS1 games to take into account, as all PS3 models (including ones currently on sale) can still play PS1 games.

makes total sense. xbox uses power PC and ps3 uses the ridiculously clumsy cell. both are totally incompatible with plain x86 chips from AMD. even worse from sony, they went with an NVidia GPU.

I'd expect the 360 to manage better than sony which not only went with a cpu so bizarre that nothing written to it would port over, but the gpu itself is different.

If the new xbox doesn't play 360 games, it'll be a while before I buy one. I still have too many 360 games that I still haven't played to buy a new Microsoft console that doesn't play them. Same thing applies to the new PS3.

In other news: Millions for xbox 360 owners not getting the new xbox, Microsoft baffled as to why.

I'm sorry, but they pretty much HAVE to support xbox 360 games, if it doesn't off the bat, I wont get the new xbox and millions of others wont either, not for many many years and by then it could be too late for the console.

And you can't really compare the xbox and xbox 360 situations, the xbox brand is much larger now with a much larger catalogue of games and services, they could get away with it last time, but I doubt they could this time.

PS: This EA guy is a tool, like most higher ups in EA is just looking for way to get an extra two cents from people, even if that means screwing them over and ****ing them off. /rant.

Last time around, they did software patching to support some of the most popular games and game engines. I see no reason why they couldn't do that again and provide backwards compat for Halo, CoD, and Unreal Engine games right off the bat, and expand the compatibility through Live updates. It worked reasonably well last time, and if somebody could convince the bean-counters to let them devote the development time, they could probably do an even better job of running original Xbox games on the new system.

Confusing article

Title: EA exec: It's unlikely 'next Xbox' will play Xbox 360 games

Summary on front page: An executive from Electronic Arts says that it is "most likely" that the next game consoles from Microsoft and Sony will offer backwards compatibility with games made with current generation consoles.

They built software emulation for both the PS3 and 360. Unless the new consoles are not powerful enough there is no good reason not to continue offering backwards compatibility. If they want to charge a monthly fee for backwards compatibility I would be willing to pay for as long as I use the feature.

Yes but this architecture is not really that powerfull, compared to how powerfull the x360 gpu was when it was released for example. There was simply no gpu on PC that was as powerfull as the 360 gpu in Nov. 2005

Emulating this architecture will probably be hard to do, so that it plays smoothly. Remember the N64 emulation, you needed a beast, and it wasn't perfect. But true,it was different.

Avatar Roku said,
They built software emulation for both the PS3 and 360. Unless the new consoles are not powerful enough there is no good reason not to continue offering backwards compatibility. If they want to charge a monthly fee for backwards compatibility I would be willing to pay for as long as I use the feature.

The PS3 and Xbox 360 came out towards the end of the megahertz race. The processor speed was dramatically higher than for the previous-gen consoles, 4x for the Xbox 360, 10x for the PS3. They had plenty of headroom for software emulation.

But the Xbox 720 is coming out after the multicore revolution. The chip speeds really haven't increased much in the last 7-8 years. Yeah, there are more cores, but it's not like you can take two cores and use them to emulate one core of a different architecture.

Cost reduction and greater profit if this feature is removed. Plus they can make the games available online for a $$ Fee.

That's disappointing. I played Halo 1-2 on PC and wanted to finish the rest of the series, but picking up a 360 this late into its life just seems like a waste. I was planning on picking up the new console day-1, but this might change my plans.

You can get the white 20GB version off eBay for a very low price now. That's all you need to play Halo. It'll be worth it, Halo is awesome.

giantpotato said,
That's disappointing. I played Halo 1-2 on PC and wanted to finish the rest of the series, but picking up a 360 this late into its life just seems like a waste. I was planning on picking up the new console day-1, but this might change my plans.

So you don't want to buy the console now cause it's too old and you don't want to buy the new for lack of backwards compatibility. If you lived without it for this long why bother at all.

S7R1K3R said,

So you don't want to buy the console now cause it's too old and you don't want to buy the new for lack of backwards compatibility. If you lived without it for this long why bother at all.

I never said I'm not going to buy the new console, I said it will change my plans. It all depends on what features it has. After all, these are just rumors. If it doesn't have backward compatibility, I'll buy a 360, since thats the only way to play the entire the Halo series, and wait for a price drop for the new one. If MS released the later games on PC, I probably would not bother with xbox at all.

info about future steam games showed halo 3 for pc being released in the future, who knows whether they will or not be i wouldn't rule it out. You wouldn't need a 360 then. They wont be releasing halo 4 any time soon though on pc.

giantpotato said,
That's disappointing. I played Halo 1-2 on PC and wanted to finish the rest of the series, but picking up a 360 this late into its life just seems like a waste. I was planning on picking up the new console day-1, but this might change my plans.

I think the same, i skipped the current generation however there are some games that i miss to play.

2 reason why Microsoft is doing this. Don't have time to code software to run the older games or 2 to force developers to stop making xbox 360 games.

or to stop people selling on their 360's when the 720 comes out as lots of people will then be able to get a 360 off ebay for a very low price due to so many being put on sale.

I think the fact that it would be expensive and time consuming to make compatability is the main reason though. I'm sure the next gen if they ever are released will be backwards compatible with xbox 720 and ps4 assuming amd make it as it is an apu. Try making ps4 amd apu playback cell processor games or an amd chip playing back the 360's nvidia processor games, that would be very tough.

ACTIONpack said,
2 reason why Microsoft is doing this. Don't have time to code software to run the older games or 2 to force developers to stop making xbox 360 games.

It would be too time consuming for the hardware to emulate a different architecture. But, it might be possible to emulate to emulate the old Xbox hardware, it was just a special build of a x86 PC.
The new consoles will be more down to earth than the current generation.

All of the rumors are pointing to the next Xbox running on multicore x86 processors. They are not compatible with the PowerPC (PPC) architecture, which means an emulation layer is necessary.

Microsoft absolutely has the know-how to write an emulation layer (they're actually quite good at virtualization these days), but the other rumors point to the next generation consoles not being a huge leap in technology. Not to mention, emulating games that run on the tri-core PPC architecture, which likely depend heavily on the architecture for their game engines, to run effectively on a six or eight-core x86 processor is not as simple as just translating instructions.

If performance in a significant number of games is going to go down, then the new Xbox would be at a disadvantage online, and it would immediately give it a bad reputation resulting in lower sales.

Actually, I am more curious what they expect to introduce with the next Xbox in terms of support for running applications. Microsoft has found quite a good niche in terms of the "three screens" and running Xbox at the center of a DLNA home theater setup. How they top that is likely far more important than backwards compatibility, as that clearly never effected the PS3 after they cut it out relatively early on to lower costs (PS3 started with PS2 hardware built-in, which added cost, followed by quickly moving to virtualization).

Bad plan IMO. I normally sell the previous gen console but not now. There are good quality games on the 360 that I still like to play.

Ha! Me too on the SNES (unless you were being sarcastic...). Probably someday I will not have a TV that it will connect to. It will still work though. The SNES was an awesome design.

Avatar Roku said,
It better play all the games and videos I've purchased on Xbox Live otherwise I'll be sticking with Xbox 360 for a long time.

lol!! Oh man, almost crapped in my pants. There's nothing saying you have to throw your XBOX 360 away for the new XBOX to work. You CAN have BOTH.

LUTZIFER said,

lol!! Oh man, almost crapped in my pants. There's nothing saying you have to throw your XBOX 360 away for the new XBOX to work. You CAN have BOTH.

Not everybody want two large consoles to fill the space under their TV.

Karanlos said,

Not everybody want two large consoles to fill the space under their TV.

That's right! I like the space under my TV to be as mobile as possible!

It's not just space though (although that is a huge part) - i've got tons of software from 15 -20 years ago that works perfectly, but the hardware to play it on has died long ago. Even if you look after the hardware perfectly it only takes one part to break and then your software is worthless.

LUTZIFER said,

lol!! Oh man, almost crapped in my pants. There's nothing saying you have to throw your XBOX 360 away for the new XBOX to work. You CAN have BOTH.

Err some people like myself have wall mounted tv and the hdmi cables and such are put in the wall with the cables then coming out in a separate space where my current media player and other gadgets are, so not only will it be about space the inconvenience of having to plug and unplug if I decide to play an older title. I hardly think its asking for too much to have backwards compatibility.

Hitman2000 said,

I hardly think its asking for too much to have backwards compatibility.

Yeah because it's a walk in the park. Get real!