Microsoft, makers of the Xbox One entertainment console and more, is clarifying how it plans to handle Xbox 360 games with downloadable content when it releases the update that includes Xbox One Backwards Compatibility in mid-November. According to Microsoft, anyone with an Xbox 360 game that wants to purchase extra content through the Xbox Store will be able to do so – it just won’t be through the console itself.
Announced at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, Xbox One Backwards Compatibility will allow Xbox One owners to play games originally made for the Xbox 360 at no additional charge. This is something neither the Xbox One nor Sony’s PS4 console offer to users today.
Microsoft says that Xbox One owners who have already purchased downloadable content for their games will be able to access that content from the My Games and Apps area within the new software launching with Backwards Compatibility on November 12th. The option to download content sits within the Manage menu, just like options for deleting and moving games to an external hard drive.
To purchase content they don’t already own, will be an altogether different endeavor. Microsoft tells GameInformer that when the New Xbox One Experience launches, users will actually have to make all of their add-on content purchases through their Xbox 360 or on the Xbox website. This is because Xbox One Backwards Compatibility will only integrate Xbox 360 games with the Xbox One experience at launch. It won’t emulate the Xbox 360’s software and store.
Xbox One Backwards Compatibility comes at a crucial time for the console. Microsoft is hoping that an attractive line-up of exclusive games this winter and early spring will help it convince users to choose the Xbox One over the PS4. At the same time, Microsoft is trying to appeal to its vast base of Xbox 360 fans. In a recent earnings call, the company confirmed that sales of the Xbox 360 are beginning to slow. Xbox One Backwards Compatibility is a way of convincing users to stay within the Xbox ecosystem, even if Sony has lowered the price of the PS4 to $349, the same as Xbox One.
Playing Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One is pretty simple. Users simply insert their Xbox 360 disc into their Xbox One console. A digital version of the game unlocks for download. After the download is complete users can play their game just like they would on the Xbox 360. Microsoft has confirmed that users will need to insert their disc every time they want to play the game. Users who purchased digital games for their Xbox 360 will see those games available through the My Games and Apps area once they’ve been added to the console.
To be clear, not every Xbox 360 game will be available with Xbox One Backwards Compatibility. Microsoft is working with publishers to get each of their games into the program, it seems. At launch, there’ll be around 100 games for users to enjoy through the feature. Microsoft plans to keep adding to that list on an ongoing basis. Ubisoft, Warner Brothers, Capcom, 2K Games, Square Enix, Disney, Majesco, Sega, EA and Bethesda are all working with Microsoft to enable Backwards Compatibility for their games, according to Microsoft.
Historically, being able to play older games on a newer console has been something buyers can’t necessarily count on. Xbox games came to the Xbox 360, but in a limited fashion. Nintendo does tend to support playing older games on its newer consoles. Sony has a decent reputation with backwards compatibility too. Unfortunately, the PS4 requires that users sign up for Sony’s PlayStation Now cloud gaming service to play older titles on the system. PlayStation Now also offers rentals.