After weeks of teasing and anticipation, Microsoft is finally revealing the list of Xbox 360 games coming to the Xbox One through the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility program. The overwhelming majority aren’t too high-profile, but there are a few trinkets, like Halo Reach and Fable 3.
Microsoft revealed the new slate of titles added to the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility program this morning in a post on its Major Nelson blog. The Xbox One Backwards Compatibility program allows users to play Xbox 360 games that they own on the Xbox One, all without making any new purchases. This is only the second time that the company has added titles to the program since it’s been available. Last month it added classic games made by studio Rare and fan favorites like Assassin’s Creed 2.
The December Xbox One Backwards Compatibility line-up is very, very heavy on digital games, still called Xbox Live Arcade Games on the Xbox 370. These additions include Zuma’s Revenge, Ticket to Ride, Splosion Man, Spelunky, Motocross Madness, Portal: Still Alive, Peggle, Ms. Pac-Man, Iron Brigade, Hydro Thunder, Braid and Doritos Crash Course.
Also included in the new batch of games are Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Kane & Lynch 2. Both are full titles from developers other than Microsoft that were available in stores. Halo: Reach and Fable 3 fill out the remainder of the 16 new titles that Microsoft says are available today. Xbox Live Arcade games will surface instantly in Xbox One owner’s collection if they purchased previously.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Kane & Lynch 2, Halo: Reach and Fable 3 were all available online and in-store. Users who own the digital versions will see them available immediately. Xbox One owners who still have their disc for these games can insert that disc into their console to unlock a digital download.
Microsoft reiterates its promise to work with developers for new additions to the program on a regular basis, but doesn’t say when Xbox One owners can expect the next batch of games to arrive for the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility program. The company has to work with publishers to get their permission to introduce their titles into the program. Presumably, there’s some extensive testing involved before games are made available for the program too, but Microsoft hasn’t confirmed that.
The company could have a new batch of titles available for the program in mid-January, but that’s speculation at best.
By most accounts, December’s Xbox One Backwards Compatibility program additions do seem a bit anti-climatic. Those really excited about the program are hoping to see bigger titles from some of the world’s most popular publishers, not just Xbox Live Arcade titles. Even those fine with the list being dominated by Arcade titles won’t be pleased that many of the games making their way to the program are published by Microsoft. Many worry that publishers will attempt to undercut the program, preferring to remaster their old games and sell them instead of providing them for free to gamers that have already paid for them once.
Games available through Xbox Live Backwards Compatibility still have their achievements and multiplayer elements. What’s more, players get access to features that only Xbox One offers, like streaming and recording.
Microsoft is hoping that the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility program will get more Xbox 360 users upgrading instead of hanging on to their systems and build brand loyalty for the Xbox One Sony’s PS4 doesn’t support playing PS3 games for free. Players do get to keep their game saves, but they are forced to pay rental or subscription fee for the company’s PlayStation Now service.
At the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Microsoft repeatedly noted how its program gave players access to their old games without charging them any more money, an obvious negative point for PlayStation Now.