It was only a matter of time before the first shoe dropped.
Microsoft announced at E3 today that Xbox 360 titles would slowly become backwards compatible with the Xbox One at no additional cost. Beginning with Microsoft Preview members on June 15th, a small group of last gen titles will become available for you to play with more to come.
Let’s break down today’s announcement and how it affects you, a current or potential future Xbox One owner.
How is this going to work?
Long story short, you’re going to be getting a software emulated virtual desktop version of Xbox 360. Software emulation has proven to be a bit challenging for next generation consoles to handle (as we experienced all too often with the last gen systems,) but I’m confident in Microsoft’s approach this time around. I’m also a HUGE fan of the fact that Microsoft is taking a big risk in allowing you to play cross-platform multiplayer. That means that for a supported online title, I’m going to be able to take on my Xbox 360 owner friends off my XBox One. That might just be my favourite takeaway from this announcement.
The 150-something Xbox 360 titles on my shelf might just continue to have a home with me after all.
Which titles are available at launch?
Today’s soft launch also had a fairly soft introduction. While you won’t find major sports games or Call of Duty titles just yet, you’ll find a few popular titles like Viva Pinata (and its sequel Trouble in Paradise) and Geometry Wars 2. 21 games are available in the current preview period with the hopes of 100 titles by year’s end.
Larry Hyrb (known better to the gaming community as Major Nelson) tweeted earlier that for any of your favourite XBox 360 games to show up as compatible, developers just need to offer their signoff.
How do I play the games I already own?
Once your title is compatible, you have one of two options:
- Previous digital downloads will appear in your Xbox One’s “ready to install” queue waiting for you to download and start playing.
- Disc games require you simply to pop it into your XBox One and then download it to your hard drive.
From there, you just select the title you want to play. It will start to load up on the Xbox 360 virtual console and off you go!
Are there any other features included?
Yes! Playing your Xbox 360 games on your Xbox One will allow you a few perks. Game DVR and screenshots will be available, as will the upcoming Windows 10 streaming option. As I’d mentioned above, my favourite part of the announcement is that you’ll be able to play multiplayer with your friends no matter which console they’re on. It’s my hope that this feature breathes some new life (even temporarily) into previously stagnant online communities.
What about my achievements?
Well, technically, you can’t earn those same achievements twice. Since you’ll basically be playing a virtual version of your Xbox 360 (and your profile has already transitioned those achievements over,) you’ll only have the opportunity to earn new achievements.
The Xbox 360 backwards compatible patch rolled out today to Microsoft Preview members. Expect a fuller scale launch this fall.