Don Mattrick, head of Microsoft’s Xbox division recently said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that he doesn’t see a problem with consoles not having backwards compatibility as gamers don’t often take advantage of it.
Mattrick claims that only five percent of gamers play older games on new consoles, which doesn’t justify the cost of building in backwards compatibility. In his eyes it makes more sense to put that effort into making the new console better.
“If you’re backwards compatible, you’re really backwards,” Mattrick said.
To back up Mattrick’s statements social media research group Fizziology said it found that only 12 percent of potential Xbox One customers would be unhappy if it lacked backwards compatibility.
Microsoft’s current console, the Xbox 360 broke backwards compatibility with the first Xbox when it came to store shelves back in 2005. Select Xbox games did work on the Xbox 360 through software emulation, but it seems that Microsoft found very few gamers that actually used the feature.
So far Microsoft hasn’t announced any plans to use software to make Xbox 360 games to work on the Xbox One. Gamers who want to play those games will want to keep their older console around. That includes both disc-based games and Xbox Live Arcade games.
The Xbox One doesn’t render the Xbox 360 useless, however, as Microsoft said during the Xbox Reveal event that it would talk about the future of the Xbox 360 at E3 next month.
Microsoft isn’t the only one breaking backwards compatibility. The Sony PlayStation 4 won’t play PlayStation 3 games, though Sony said it will try to find a way to make it possible to play PS3 games using its Gaikai cloud gaming technology.
The only recent console that supports backwards compatibility is the Nintendo Wii U which will play Wii games. The Wii U is closer in technology to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, however.