Some are wondering if Microsoft’s Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Program will pick up support for Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption. The speculation comes after Microsoft mistakenly made the game available as a digital download to anyone that had a copy meant for Xbox 360 over the weekend.
Microsoft’s Larry Hyrb spent yesterday apologizing for what the company has described as an accident. The Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Program allows users to download and install digital versions of their favorite Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One, Microsoft’s latest console. Microsoft wants to ensure that any game – purchased digitally or on disc – is eligible for the program. To be clear, even if a game tests well for the Xbox One, it still needs approval from its publisher.
A post in the r/Games community on Reddit is how many people found out about Red Dead Redemption being available in the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Program this past week. Posters theorized that Microsoft had already done the work to prepare the game for entry into the program, but had simply released it a bit too early, and without an announcement.
Hyrb’s apology on that same forum topic calls that scenario into question. “Microsoft tests all Xbox 360 games with our emulator to ensure a quality experience across a breadth of titles,” the apology begins. Apparently, Red Dead Redemption being added to the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Program was a mistake. “Due to an error, some of the games currently in test were accidentally made available.”
Some are taking the accidental release as a sign that Red Dead Redemption is absolutely coming to the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility program. After all, why would Microsoft bother testing a game that it doesn’t plan to release any time soon?
Parsing Hyrb’s statement puts a damper on that theory. The Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Program involves two working parts, a tested digital rerelease of the title itself and a software emulator that tricks the game into thinking that it’s running on Xbox 360 still. He explicitly notes in his statement that Microsoft tests that emulator by running every game it possibly can on it. The explanation makes sense as Microsoft hopes to make the process of adding a game to the program as easy as it can be for developers and publishers.
Certainly, that’s disappointing for those that really wanted to see Red Dead Redemption make it to the Xbox One. The game was enormously popular on Xbox 360. It sold millions of copies, and it dominated game sale charts for months. Unfortunately, it’s up to Rockstar Games to make the call on if the game makes it into the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Program. The company hasn’t spoken about adding any of its titles for users to add to their Xbox One at no additional charge.
Sister company 2K Games was among the publishers that Microsoft said joined the program back in June of last year. Bandai Namco, Bethesda, Disney, Majesco, Electronic Arts, Sega, Square Enix, Capcom, Ubisoft and Warner Brothers were on that list too.
Presumably, we should hear about more games coming to the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility program very, very soon. Microsoft said last month that it would stop holding all game releases for a big reveal to focus on delivering each game once it was through testing.
Microsoft is hoping that adding support for older titles will lure large numbers of Xbox 360 owners over to the Xbox One. It’s also clearly meant to drive loyalty; Sony charges for access to PS3 games on its PS4 gaming console. Microsoft and publishers sometimes give out game codes for previous games in a franchise, when shoppers purchase the game’s current release for Xbox One.
Borderlands, Halo Reach, Fable 3, Assassin’s Creed 2, Gears of War 3 and Fallout 3 are all available on Xbox One already for those that have a game disc or a digital download.