Backwards Compatibility Matters

I continue to see a vast number of articles and postings online from various gaming outlets along with regular people that are down playing the impact backwards compatibility has. It's slightly annoying seeing something that has such a profound impact on a console being turned away by people. Things like pointing out every little flaw they can surface in a negative aspect either because they don't like the console or it's good for hits.

For a console that has been selling well, obviously not at the levels of the competition, but great compared to the last generation this was great news. I personally couldn't believe it when they announced it since I actually was reading the prompter during the Xbox E3 press conference this year and couldn't believe it until they read it out loud. It's something only Xbox One will be properly doing since streaming games over a service for high costs is not realistic for the regular person. Being in the preview program I've also been able to try out a handful of the titles and it's great. Another important aspect is that the process is simple, just put in a disc or download it from the My games area if you own it digitally. It installs the game either way, and just runs. Additionally the option to carry saves over from the cloud is available so it's the same experience from Xbox 360 on Xbox One. Only negative aspect at the moment is lack of the DLC, which Xbox has claimed to be working on so I imagine it'll be ready for the November launch.

Gears of War Original

The games also appear to be running much smoother than before and look much better than they did resoluting from the Xbox 360. I've seen the video where there's apparently crippling frame drops though I've yet to encounter anything like that while playing. Personally I've been playing games I haven't touched in half a decade and they look far less gritty than before. Gears of War looks fantastic on Xbox One, almost as though it could have been a newly released title and playing it again as been great. To go further on that I had my first Gears night in over half a decade with a bunch of friends. This will be a great space to re-discover past titles or even let people play these games for the first time. We've never had such a perfect time for backwards compatibility since high definition has been kept mainstream for so long and that the libraries have never been larger. According to wikipedia "Source" they have 1,163 Xbox 360 games listed and that list doesn't even include the digital games. I should also note that I usually wouldn't use wikipedia for a source, but in regards to a plain list of titles it should be fine.

I can't imagine many have had the time to check out all these games and many more have been forgotten over time. After playing Rare Replay I got to play a stack of games which I never played and got to play Viva Pinata again which I had completely forgotten how charming it was. This brings another argument of value for the players, these games are old now and don't cost nearly what they used to. This is to the point of developers benefitted along with fans in giving away older titles with new ones. It introduces gamers to past games and gives amazing value. This is best shown with the examples of Rainbow Six Siege (Get Rainbow Six Vegas 1+2 Free) and Gears of War: Ultimate (Gears 1+2+3+Judgment Free). Certainly I have other examples and expect more to appear over time, but it's crazy they would give that much for checking out the new games.

Viva Pinata Original

Well, you certainly can't bring over every title and they keep showing of the same games without any sound announcements. This is largely true, it will take time to get in contact with all the publishers in order to secure allowance. From what the general populous has been told it's as easy as a publisher giving the go ahead. Xbox has already claimed that one hundred titles will be at launch in November, yet people still complain at this. That's quite an accomplishment and a great staple to get people started with this to judge the interest. I can only imagine that this is what Xbox hopes is a wake-up call for those that haven't transitioned due to playing old titles that now's a good time to.

After the Xbox Gamescom briefing we got a good list of partners displayed on the board with titles flowing across a graphic. These are teases to get people excited about what this feature will bring, many are annoyed that not all are confirmed. Another aspect of this backwards compatibility is that many developers had no clue about this right up to the announcement. Talking with various people after the conference during E3 they all seemed to be surprised and had no previous knowledge of it. From that point it's been a short amount of time to get publisher on-board for this. While all first party games will be available and all games with gold each month (48 games a year on Xbox One now) will be on the service it may be difficult to get full approval. I'm doubtful of Activision doing it despite talks though I'm very confident the fan servicing publishers will love this and you know who they are.

Fans of the games will only have to wait or take action in voting on the feedback site as more titles get added over time. We'll never see 100% embracement on this and many titles may be lost in time due to contracts (THQ titles). Moving forward I’m sure the biggest titles will all return one way or another and that they will continue onto future consoles as well. Remember that backwards compatibility matters to many with experiences and monetary investment over a long period of time. It's best to just stop focusing on every bit of negativity and just enjoy the games you've loved over the life of Xbox 360 on Xbox One.

Check my Rare Replay Review!

Mass Effect Original

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner