The commercial benefits are obvious but Phil Spencer wants players to see how games have evolved.
One might wonder about Microsoft’s strong commitment to backwards compatibility. The company announced backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One at no additional cost whatsoever but this year, it went ahead and added original Xbox titles to the backwards compatible roster as well.
Sure, it’s good business for Microsoft but according to Xbox boss Phil Spencer while speaking to Wired, there’s more to it than that. Spencer believes that backwards compatibility is about preserving games and allowing new players to see how the medium has progressed throughout the year.
“I see games as an art form. Console games can get lost when hardware generations go away. It can become more challenging to play the games of our past. There’s something to be learned from experiencing what I played as a kid. There’s good business there for the content owners, but as players, it’s nice to be able to understand how our artform has progressed.”
Which is pretty noble, especially considering how large the roster for backwards compatible Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One is currently. The list will be slightly smaller for original Xbox titles though and Microsoft has yet to provide a comprehensive list of the same.
How important is backwards compatibility when the Xbox One’s release lineup is kind of bare? That remains to be seen especially in light of the Nintendo Switch’s stellar launch year and the PS4’s solid library.