Phil Spencer Wants Xbox Backwards Compatibility, Xbox Game Pass on PC

Xbox boss talks about the future of Xbox on PC.

Posted By | On 14th, Jun. 2017 Under News

Microsoft made its fair share of headlines at E3 2017 by announcing the Xbox One X but plenty of attention was generated by Xbox backwards compatibility as well. That’s the original Xbox with games like Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge. Speaking to PC Gamer, Xbox boss Phil Spencer was asked about whether Xbox backwards compatibility could come to PC at some point.

After answering, “Yes,” Spencer followed this up by stating, “I want people to be able to play games! [Emulation] is hard. [Xbox] 360 specifically is a PowerPC chip, emulated to x86, which is difficult. It’s a little bit easier when you have a fixed spec, when you think about Xbox, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X. And you think of the variable specs of the PC space, so you’re taking a fixed-spec PowerPC emulator and then moving it over to run on PC, so there’s a lot of work there.

“The original Xbox, OG Xbox, is a little bit easier, because that was an x86 chip it was running on. Obviously when we think about UWP and the ability for games to run across console and PC, we’re getting closer. I want developers to be able to build portable applications, which is why we’ve been focusing on UWP for games and even apps that want to run on multiple devices. So I think we’ve got work to go do there, but I think it’s in our future.”

Interestingly, Spencer is also interested in getting Xbox Game Pass – the $10 monthly subscription that allows players to experience over 100 Xbox One and Xbox 360 games – to PC as well. “I’ve said I want to bring Game Pass to the PC. The team doesn’t love it when I pre-announce things, but I definitely want to bring Game Pass to PC. It’s a business model that I think could be good for creators, and when business models work for creators, it usually means good content will come for gamers.

“I like that. We don’t have the deep catalog of games on PC that we do on console, so I’ve had some pushback from the marketing team that, well it wouldn’t necessarily be the best feature right now, because we won’t have enough games, but I just want to start. So I’m putting a lot of pressure on the team to go get enough content lined up to do something on the PC, and then make sure we have a long-term commitment to build.”

What are your thoughts on all this? Let us know in the comments.

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