Xbox One does the timewarp – finally gets backwards compatibility

Thomas Wellburn
June 16, 2015

Yesterday at the E3 conference, Microsoft gaming head Phil Spencer proudly announced native backwards compatibility for 360 games on the Xbox One.

He took to the stage and demonstrated the technology along with an engineer from the development team. Using a copy of the original Mass Effect, we got to see the sci-fi classic taking advantage of all the next-generation features that are unique to the console. Users can take screenshots, access the side-panel and multitask just like in any current Xbox One title. The showcase brought cheers of applause from the crowd, as the feature has been requested many times by members of the public.

The process is only made possible thanks to the extensive patching system used by Microsoft, which has already seen great success in improving the UI by listening to user feedback.To play their favourite 360 game, all players need do is insert the disc. The game will be patched automatically so it can work with the new hardware, whilst digital downloads will be changed behind the scenes.

Interestingly, Phil Spencer made a point of saying that the entire process was native. If this is the case, then it means that the Xbox One is using some form of hardware emulation, rather than relying on software alone. If this is true then that’s a big coup, as differing architectures often cause big problems for emulation.

There will be 100 titles available by the end of the year, with many more expected to arrive following its release. Xbox Preview members will get early access to the changes when system is rolled out in beta. Phil Spencer stressed that it was incredibly easy for other games to be added to the library, all they have to do is opt in.

This is a big deal for Microsoft, as it makes their game library much larger than that of Sony. Whether you want to play last generation games or not, it makes the numbers look good. With Playstation 4 still unable to play Playstation 3 games, it doesn’t look like Sony are going to catch up anytime soon.

For more on Microsoft, visit What Mobile’s dedicated Microsoft page. 

About the Author

Share this article