Microsoft’s Xbox boss is once again talking about the future of his gaming console on Twitter, and this time the future may involve looking back to the origins of the platform.
The Xbox One may get backward compatibility with the original Xbox console, according to Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft’s gaming division. The executive was on Twitter when someone asked him about the possibility of original Xbox emulation on the Xbox One, and Spencer answered by saying it is something that he’s interested in himself — although it isn’t a priority as the company is focused primarily on getting 360 owners to upgrade to an Xbox One.
@HadleeSimons I don't think it's silly. I ask the BC team this question a lot. Need to finish 360 BC for now.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) August 19, 2015
Microsoft is working on getting Xbox 360 backward compatibility fully operational on Xbox One. That feature is in a beta version that is only open to people who have opted into a special preview program, but it already has several games — like Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, Shadow Complex, and Geometry Wars — already working.
But backward compatibility was not always intended for the Xbox One. When Microsoft made the jump from 360 to Xbox One, it made a conscious decision to switch up the computer architecture at the heart of its console. That meant the Xbox One would not work with games from its predecessor.
The company started working on backward compatibility after the console’s November 2013 debut, and it accomplished it by building an Xbox 360 emulator that mimics the hardware architecture of that older system on through clever software tricks on the Xbox One.
The Xbox One is powerful enough to also emulate the original Xbox, but the company clearly wants to deliver on the Xbox 360 feature first. That’s because it has already promised to do so — but also because Microsoft is trying to get Xbox 360 owners to make the jump to Xbox One rather than ditching Microsoft altogether for Sony’s PlayStation 4.
Along those lines, Microsoft even announced that people with Xbox Live Gold can start adding the “free” Games With Gold releases for the Xbox One to their libraries. So this means that people with a substantial Xbox 360 library can make the jump to Xbox One and have plenty of software to play that includes both older and newer games.