‘We’re having great conversations about it.’
The only roadblock to Microsoft’s excellent backwards compatibility program for the Xbox One so far is the fact that the publishers may not be on board- as Microsoft explained when they debuted the feature at E3 in June, the technical side is all handled and ready to go, but Microsoft do need the publishers’ go ahead to allow an Xbox 360 game to be played on Xbox One. And with so many games’ rights now in legal quagmires, or with so many publishers planning remastered releases of their last generation hits, publishers being on board with this is not always guaranteed.
However, according to Microsoft’s Phil Spencer, the response from them so far is encouragingly positive.
“We’re having great conversations with all the publishers about backward compatibility,” he replied.
“It’s really been a good time for something like backwards compatibility to come around, because so many of the publishers have built more service-based games where they’re able to find a business opportunity in the longevity of games.
“Longevity can be through paid DLC or smaller transactions in some cases on PC and tablet. But engagement in franchises has become a critical measure for any publisher. So when you think about it, there’s this opportunity to take franchise and get people re-engaged in it.
“One of the things that’s really exciting for me, and we announced this with Gears of War, Just Cause, and Rainbow Six, is that when franchises are releasing an Xbox One version, [publishers] have an opportunity to give them the Xbox 360 version at the same time.
“I’ll be honest, I didn’t really have that in mind when we started thinking about backwards compatibility, but the studios have got the games, they realize they’re not really selling them anymore, and can use them to introduce people who maybe didn’t play the earlier entries in the franchises while growing engagement in the property itself. That’s very valuable for a publisher.”
As of yesterday, a whole lot of major third party publishers, including Bethesda, EA, Capcom, Square Enix, Sega, Tecmo, Warner Bros., and Ubisoft are on board- 100 games are set to be backwards compatible with the Xbox One this Fall, when the program launches for everyone.