When the Xbox One was first announced, fans were extremely disappointed. Not only was the console an unimpressive television DVR with outrageous DRM protections in place, but it also was completely incapable of playing games designed for its outdated cousin, the Xbox 360. When a new console launches, a hefty catalogue of games is imperative if a company wishes to outcompete the other options on the market, and a common way of accomplishing this is by allowing backwards compatability of older video games. So when players found out that they couldn’t play their Xbox 360 games on Xbox One, they cried fowl.
Until lately, the only way to enjoy classic Xbox 360 games was to either hook up your old console and play them from there or hope that the game is remastered for the Xbox One. However, recently, Microsoft has taken notice to the market potential for backwards compatability, and so they have been working on a way for the old games to work on the new console despite the differences in architecture. Their solution is sure to make many gamers very happy.
In order to get Xbox 360 games on Xbox One, there needs to be an emulator of sorts that can convert the Xbox 360’s PowerPC processor instructions into x86 architecture instructions. This is by no means an easy task, nor is it efficient. The code needs to be recompiled in real time, which is something that can cause massive slowdowns if not implemented properly. Luckily, Microsoft has some of the world’s best engineers working on it, and the hard work has paid off. The Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty: Black Ops now runs on Xbox One, and the console manages to outperform its older cousin. On average, it runs nearly 10% faster than the Xbox 360!
Of course, Black Ops isn’t the only game to receive VIP treatment. Microsoft has announced their plan to release an extensive catalog of Xbox 360 games on Xbox One. In the near future, the entire Bioshock trilogy along with Skate 3 will be released on the Xbox One. There is a whole list of confirmed games at the bottom of this post. Be sure to check it out!
Of course, while the technology allows the playing of Xbox 360 games on Xbox One, it is technically illegal for Microsoft to allow every single game to be played right off the bat. When publishers reached an agreement to release their games, it did not include the Xbox One. In turn, publishers will beed to approve their games running on an Xbox One console before it can be released. Of course, bugs will likely need to be ironed out before the releases as well, delaying the process of adding games to the backwards compatible list.
How to Play Xbox 360 Games on Xbox One
The process behind playing Xbox 360 Games on Xbox One is actually super straightforward, and works pretty much the same way that the Xbox 360 handled original Xbox games. You simply pop in your Xbox 360 game (assuming that the game is currently supported and working on the Xbox One), download an update, and seconds later the game is ready to be played. Additionally, gamers can choose to buy the supported games directly off the Xbox Marketplace. Microsoft is advertising the heck out of Black Ops’s release on the Xbox One, so they will likely announce future compatible games via the news section of the dashboard.
The cool thing about it though is, it works just like an Xbox 360. The interface is the same, the the notifications are the same; it’s essentially like owning a regular Xbox 360, except now you have two consoles in one. Microsoft has really outdone themselves with the way it handles Xbox 360 games on Xbox One.
How it Works
Earlier we mentioned the fact that Xbox One backwards compatibility required PowerPC emulation on x86 processors. This in and of itself is very exciting news, as most personal computers also run on the x86 processor architecture. Bundled with the fact that the Xbox One essentially runs a modified Windows 8 kernel, this means that Xbox 360 emulators for PC are more than likely in the near future! How does Halo 3 on PC sound? And we mean the full, official Halo 3, not the Russian Halo: Online that has been modded and turned into a community project.
There already exists an Xbox 360 emulator for PC, but it is still in early development, as it can barely run any games. Codenamed Xenia, the program is capable of reaching a few in-game menus and loading a few levels of select games, but overall the experience is currently non-playable. With the ability to play Xbox 360 Games on Xbox One, however, we know that the technology is possible, and Xenia is without a doubt on the right track to bringing Xbox 360 games to Windows.
Regardless, the addition of Xbox 360 games on Xbox One will add a powerful arsenal of titles to the Xbox One’s library. It will be awesome to see where it goes from here.
Backwards Compatible Xbox 360 Games on Xbox One (5/23/16)