The day has finally come — Microsoft has introduced backwards compatibility for the Xbox One — sort of.
In an announcement this Tuesday (while the gaming world has been waiting with bated breath) — Microsoft’s own Major Nelson revealed that Xbox One will be compatible with Xbox 360 games both disc and download based.
One tiny snafu however — so far there are only 21 games (in the preview stage) and 100 games when the virtual Xbox 360 launches this fall. Microsoft also announced that along with the 100 launch titles they will be adding hundreds more titles each month. All of this at no additional cost.
There are licensing restrictions that will cause problems to the virtual 360. This means that just because you own the license on a particular DLC or disc doesn’t mean Microsoft still owns the rights and can transfer it to the Xbox One virtual 360. In no way does this affect the play of content on an Xbox 360 — it only limits playability of certain games being played on the Xbox One.
This is a huge win for any and all gamers — to a certain extent. With nearly 2000 titles available in the 360 library, 100 titles just simply won’t cut it — at first. At the very least it may inch along competitors such as Sony who do not offer backwards compatibility with regards to the PS4.
Sony also offers a rental program. Games may be rented (PS3 and PS4) from hourly to 90 days at a time — starting at $1 and up. The down side to both the rental and PS Now programs is that both are stream based options — meaning if you don’t have a good enough internet connection, you won’t be able to use each service respectively.
For now Microsoft has a huge edge over Sony with regards to backwards compatibility. Of course the virtual 360 is only in the preview stage, while Sony has fully launched both programs. However true backwards compatibility (or close to) is something the gaming community has been yearning for since the 256 bit era began.
Look for the virtual 360 console coming to Xbox One dashboards everywhere fall/winter 2015.