Xbox One won't be backwards compatible with Xbox 360 games

Microsoft have just announced the Xbox One, the newest version of their supremely popular console at a press event in Redmond. A new version of the Kinect hardware will ship with every One console, and a new generation of games, some of which were previewed by EA Sports, will be offered to take advantage of all the new hardware.

One of the things that Microsoft failed to mention, however, was the lack of compatibility with older Xbox 360 games. This means that Xbox 360 disks won't work,  as well as downloaded Xbox Live Arcade titles.

Engadget spoke to a Microsoft rep who confirmed the news, saying: "We care very much about the investment people have made in Xbox 360 and will continue to support it with a pipeline of new games and new apps well into the future, [but the Xbox One is designed] to play an entirely new generation of games - games that are architected to take full advantage of state-of-the-art processors and the infinite power of the cloud." 

This news will hit those who've invested heavily in the Xbox 360 hard, but it is an unavoidable issue considering the need for higher resolution games to match the new PlayStation 4. Although, just because you buy a new console, this does not mean that your old console will burst into flames, you can still play older titles with your console. Additionally, being able to allow the Xbox One to be able to play legacy titles would likely require additional hardware that would raise the MSRP of the console when it is released, later this year.

Source: Engadget | Image via Microsoft

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

With the Xbox One, Microsoft will succeed, where Google TV failed

Next Story

Xbox One: Provide your email address, get $10 at Microsoft Store

43 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I had a feeling this was going to be the case but dammit to hell anyway.

Nice they assume everyone has unlimited HDMI inputs,, power outlets, and network jacks (hardwired is better than WiFi), not to mention shelf space and storage space for controllers and peripherals, etc.

Needless to say it will probably be a while before I get one now.

Good. I don't want any of my system resources dedicated to backward compatibility anymore. I have an Xbox 360 and when I get Xbox One I will want to do Xbox One stuff on it.

Or solve it like Sony did?
Let the cloud run the PS3 games, just enter the disk and tadá. No local resources wasted AND backwards compatibility. Best of both worlds.

Or.... You could have 1 system that does everything for you? Who wants to have 3 gens worth of consoles hooked up to their TV at the same time?

Most people wont care about backward compatibility. Again ... majority rules. You think people care, because you do. But you're a Neowin member. And therefore entirely minority.

Don't assume since YOU don't want it "most" people don't.

I have a feeling the majority WOULD want backwards compatibility. Millions of people have sizable investments in their 360 collection and don't have the space for even more systems.

So the 60 or so games Ive bought over the years in the Xbox live arcade wont play. No reason for me to buy a One yet at least for a few years then.

Louis Vierra said,
So the 60 or so games Ive bought over the years in the Xbox live arcade wont play. No reason for me to buy a One yet at least for a few years then.

I'm sure that sale will be sorely missed. Oh wait, or you can still keep your 360.... Oh man, it's like you have to hand hold people though life's problems here...

Why let you replay your old games when they they can make you re-purchase the same game again in an "HD Collection" or some crap like they do now with older Xbox/PS2 games?

I dunno, the reveal sure seems to have caused my 360 to burst into flames... Came home tonight and turned it on and NOTHING... What timing... *sigh*

Hmm....the Xbox, I guess I can't call it Xbox 1....had an x86 P3 Processor. Does that mean Xbox 1 games will be compatible w/ the Xbox One???


Jokes aside, this is a huge disappointment for both the PS4 and Xbox One. I can understand Full console games not working on a different architecture, but there is NO REASON why low-powered Arcade games can't have a working emulator to run on the next-gen consoles.

I hope this causes people to think more when they realize all the digital content they buy has a lifespan.

You know, it's funny, movies, even 100 years later, can still be watched. Games, on the other hand, only last as long as the original console. 20 Years from now, you will not be able to play Halo 5. Hell, when the Xbox One comes out, you won't even be able to play Halo 1-4.

20 years from now, you'll be able to get Halo 1-4 and a few dozen other games in a bundle for $3.99 as a "Retro Collection"

Considering how long it's taken MS to (not) release Halo 3+ on PC, i'd say 20 years sounds like a good estimate too.

I didn't read that comment as XBOX 360 discs are incompatible with XBOX ONE's Blu-Ray drive. I read it as "We haven't killed the 360 console yet..." and there was more to come for those owners even after the XONE releases. Maybe it was the way the quote was presented in the article and the MS rep did in fact mean 360 discs won't be playable in the XONE's Blu-Ray drive.

Yup, it was bad editing that made the quote vague. Here is the full question and answer that confirms there is no backwards compatibility CPU in the XONE.

Q: Will Xbox One be backward compatible with my existing games?

A: Xbox One hardware is not compatible with Xbox 360 games. We designed Xbox One to play an entirely new generation of games

Well I am okay with it since this will be my first Xbox device. I just hope a version of GTA V gets released for it.

Asik said,
It's an x86 CPU, so, no, unless using emulation (which would be terribly slow).

Nah, emulating ARM based applications on much powerfull x86 processors would be possible with acceptable performance, the other way around would be a different story.

Asik said,
It's an x86 CPU, so, no, unless using emulation (which would be terribly slow).

That is software emulation though, hardware translation is a very new and efficient concept. As I said above with 8 cores of CPU and a lot of this capable of being translatable to run on GPU threads it may actually not be that much of a stretch.

OoOoh..just realized something. With all the work they did on Glass, they could technically have a Glass interface between the One and the 360.

AKA, your Xbox 360 hdmi connects to the One, the One connects to the TV. You turn both on, you launch the "360 Connect" app on the One, it then starts displaying the content from the 360 and let's you use your One controller to control the 360.

From your One, you could then do all the same snapping like you would with your cable content and switch between One and 360 games.

Silly(still have both consoles), but easily doable(and gives better experience).

You would think since a lot of games are already cross platform (xbox360 & x86 Windows) on the xbox360 it will be easy to port them to the new platform.

Melfster said,
You would think since a lot of games are already cross platform (xbox360 & x86 Windows) on the xbox360 it will be easy to port them to the new platform.

How does porting games to new architecture have anything to do with this article? this is about existing games people have bought not being compatible, of course a game company could port the game but you'd need to buy it and why the hell would they port old games when games come out thick and fast anyway? they wouldn't sell!

duddit2 said,

How does porting games to new architecture have anything to do with this article? this is about existing games people have bought not being compatible, of course a game company could port the game but you'd need to buy it and why the hell would they port old games when games come out thick and fast anyway? they wouldn't sell!

Not all games are equal, and there a lot of clone / unoriginal games. There still games from previous gen that don't have current gen equivalent.

Correct me if I am wrong but didn't microsoft port some original xbox games to the 360 when it first came out I don't see why they couldn't do the same here.

No surprise here. Once the decided on x86 there was no looking back. The promise was made that game and services development for the 360 will continue.

Neither will PS4 play PS3 games..

The only thing i'm curious about is if XBLA games will have any chance for emulation since they're mostly ran out of XNA vm anyway..

maybe MS will do "cloud" backward compatibility to stream it.. who knows. i'll still have my xbox 360 going anyway

Exactly! Seeing as what they have done with Hyper V is pretty amazing it would not surprise me if arcade games could be emulated- especially like Minecraft etc. Heck, the way emulation with Hyper-V is going, it may even be possible to use the power of NT's HAL to run x360 games and with 8 cores of power, 8GB of RAM and a super GPU the concept doesnt seem too far fetched.

Uhm, with the PS4 you can stream all your PS3 games if you want. Just insert the disc, it will recognize is, and start playing from the internet.

It still has backwards compatibility, just a new approach.

Shadowzz said,
Uhm, with the PS4 you can stream all your PS3 games if you want. Just insert the disc, it will recognize is, and start playing from the internet.

It still has backwards compatibility, just a new approach.

I don't expect it to be the greatest thing in the world either, but if they can at least provide us with an option, I'm happy. Truthfully, I wasn't expecting backwards compatibility from either company.

Given how long it functioned on the Original Xbox for after the 360 launched (And the Original Xbox was never that popular). A long time.

n_K said,
So how long will xbox live work on 360 for?

It seems like Microsoft isn't done with X360 yet. They said more X360 announcements will be made at E3. And there is a rumor of an even smaller cheaper version of the X360.

And this all makes sense as the PS2 also went on a while after PS3 was out. The Xbox One will be very expensive and there will stil be consumers looking for a cheap console. So I think Xbox Live for the X360 will go on for a long time since it remains profitable.

As for having no backward compatibility. It does suck but its to be expected. But I had hoped Microsoft would compensate gamers by announcing a streaming service for X360 games. So that when you have a download license or a disc of a game you can validate that you own a certain game and then stream it on Xbox Live Gold. You're already paying for gold and you'd stil pay to stream X360 games you haven't purchased before.

Seems like a win/win to me and a way to get X360 owners to get the Xbox One instead of switching. Because without backward compatibility its easier to switch.

Haha all I remember about the original XBLive was some hardcore halo players staying on as long as they could. Glad to hear though!

Yeah, I think that Xbox Fusion just might be the very small "Optical Drive-less" 360 that was rumored some time ago. That could hook into the One for BC. Guess we'll see at E3.