Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Program Problems Arrive

Thousands likely cheered in their homes when Microsoft announced its Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Program at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. Now some are wondering if Microsoft’s promise to deliver high quality digital versions of their Xbox 360 games for Xbox One free of charge is something the company can actually make happen.

A video posted to YouTube recently provides a quick look at the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Program problems that Xbox One owners are finding as they try to play Halo Reach on the console. Microsoft introduced the program as a way to lure users over to build brand loyalty and give Xbox 360 users a reason to upgrade within its ecosystem instead of purchasing Sony’s PS4.

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Xbox One owners simply insert the disc for their favorite Xbox 360 games into their Xbox One. If the game is available in the program, Microsoft lets them download a digital version that’s been tested on the Xbox One.

The new video shows what happens when something goes wrong with the program. Halo Reach, which was recently added to the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Program is a complete mess, stuttering at regular intervals. The problem lies in the amount of frames that are rendered on-screen per second. Halo Reach on the Xbox 360 ran at roughly 30 frames per second, a smooth experience for first person shooters. Halo Reach in the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Program is running at around 20 frames per second.

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The issues with frame rate don’t seem isolated at all. Members of the r/XboxOne community report that the game is behaving badly for them on their systems too.

Microsoft hasn’t commented on issues with Halo Reach. The company is in the midst of its holiday break, meaning it’s entirely possible that it won’t have anything to say about the title for days. Already, the problems are beginning to affect perception of the program in general.

In its announcement at E3 2015 Microsoft boasted that Xbox One Backwards Compatibility would allow Xbox 360 owners to upgrade to an Xbox One without loosing access to their favorite games on their old system. What’s more, the company committed to offering users the same options that are available on their Xbox One games: screenshot captures, video clip recording and multitasking with other Xbox One apps.

Delivering the games themselves isn’t enough. They have to be playable when they arrive for gamers to buy into the idea that upgrading won’t hurt their experience.

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These issues come just weeks after Microsoft revealed it’s first monthly addition to the 100 or more titles that the program launched with back in November. Many leveled criticisms at the company then too, questioning why the overwhelming majority of titles added to the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Program were predominately downloadable titles from Xbox Live Arcade, not full titles from a third-party developer. To Microsoft’s credit, there are already some fan favorites available through the program. Fable 3, Gears of War 3, Assassin’s Creed 2, Mass Effect and Fallout 3 are all available for players right now.

Halo Reach is the last major game in the franchise to make it to the Xbox One. Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo 4 are all included in Halo: The Master Chief Collection, a massive bundle that arrived on store shelves last year. 343 Industries made Halo 3: ODST available for free to owners of the Master Chief Collection as a thank your for issues with the game’s launch.

We expect to see new titles added to the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Program sometime in January or February, but Microsoft hasn’t confirmed when to expect the next batch of games.