As you may or may not know, E3 2015 is happening right now and Microsoft took the stage at about noon (eastern time). Of course they had lots of things to announce, but one of the major points of interest was that starting now, your Xbox One will play Xbox 360 games natively.
“Put the disc in, download the game, and you’re good to go.” said Mike Ybarra, Windows and Xbox Platform Director of Program Management, announced. ArsTechnica also mentioned that any games that you owned the digital version of will just be a part of your library and can be downloaded again to play the game on the Xbox One.
The best part of all of this is that it’s native playback, not emulation like it was for playing Xbox games on the Xbox 360. That tended to be really laggy and made the entire experience pretty terrible. During the demo, they played Mass Effect on the Xbox One to which Ybarra commented, “it looks exactly like it does on Xbox 360.”
This announcement follows Sony’s announcement of Playstation Now earlier this year, which offers backwards compatibility as well, but in a more limited fashion. At least these Xbox games won’t require the users to buy games that they already owned and the games will play locally rather than streaming from the cloud.
According to ArsTechnica this will actually only apply to a limited number of Xbox 360 games, but that more games will be added over time with no guarantee that any particular game will make the list. The list of current games to be supported is not public at this time but we will update this post as soon as more information becomes available. According to the folks at Engadget, the update will be coming to Xbox Preview members “very soon,” and other sources are reporting that the official update will come sometime later this year.
A lot of people have been wanting this for a really long time, so good on Microsoft for listening to their user base and following through. Only time will tell how well this will work in the real world, but this is certainly a start.