Microsoft adds original Xbox backwards compatibility to Xbox One

Xbox One’s backwards compatibility credentials are getting a huge boost with the addition of original Xbox compatibility.

Boss Phil Spencer said on Microsoft’s E3 stage that these original games will look better and play better across the Xbox family”, with combat flight sim Crimson Skies being the first title to be name-dropped.

Microsoft’s Alberto Penello added on Twitter that: Your original Xbox discs will work. Digital licenses will carry over. AND you can system-link play across all three generations.”

Xbox One already works with 385 Xbox 360 titles, including all of the titles that have been offered with the Games With Gold loyalty program.

All of which sheds some light on Microsoft’s recent willingness to stand up for backwards compatibility in the face of reports that questioned its actual popularity.

Recent data fromArs Technicaabout Xbox Live usage suggested that, in Xbox One’s case at least, very little time is spent taking advantage of the console’s large Xbox 360 catalogue. The report found that Xbox 360 titles account for less than two per cent of total Xbox One usage time. As the site says, this means that between them, the hundreds of available titles chalk up less than half the play time of Grand Theft Auto V.

It added that while Microsoft’s previous claim that Xbox One users had spent 9m hours playing 360 games in the first month of availability, that actually averages out at just a few minutes per user. Indeed, the site’s data shows that over 4.5 months the average Xbox One owner spent just 23.9 minutes playing 360 titles.

Microsoft has since argued that these findings were inaccurate, telling Kotaku: Based on our findings, Ars Technica’s analysis and conclusions are grossly inaccurate and misleading due to an incomplete set of data and drawing conclusions about actual usage from data that approximates usage.

As an example, we specifically know, based on our complete view of Xbox Live usage data, players are highly engaged with backwards compatible game titles. It’s why we continue to support this well-loved feature and the games that use it.”

It did not share any specific data. Ars countered that its data could still be accurate on the assumption that all of its numbers were equally undercounted.

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