There won’t be any more Xbox Backward Compatibility game updates

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Last night saw Microsoft drop 70 more Xbox 360 and original Xbox games into the Xbox Backward Compatibility program, but this update will be the last as licensing and legal restraints prevent them from doing more.

Tucked away in the announcement, Microsoft states that “While we continue to stay focused on preserving and enhancing the art form of games, we have reached the limit of our ability to bring new games to the catalog from the past due to licensing, legal and technical constraints.”

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This was their last effort, with “Your constant requests for specific titles and enhancements encouraged the Backwards Compatibility team to partner with the original creators to preserve thousands of games from over four generations of Xbox.”

Microsoft concluded the Xbox backward compatibility program with a huge 70 game update.

When asked by IGN, a Microsoft spokesperson said “Yes, this is the final addition of Xbox 360 and original Xbox games to the backward compatibility program. We have reached the limits of our ability to add additional games to the catalog due to licensing, legal or technical constraints. We know we’ve said this before, but we went back one more time to bring as many fan-requested titles as possible to the catalog to celebrate our 20th anniversary.”

Additionally, Microsoft has almost always ensured that games that they are adding to backward compatibility are made available for sale. This isn’t so tough for Xbox 360 games that were always available digitally, but there was obviously no online marketplace for the original Xbox. There’s a few outliers that remain delisted or are disc only, but all of the games have only been brought into the programme with the permission and cooperation of the original rights holders.

Sadly this means there are hundreds and hundreds of games that are not included. 632 Xbox 360 games have been released into backward compatibility, but that’s out of the 2154 that have been released. Similarly there’s just 63 of the 996 that were released for the original Xbox. Tons of games are missing, so anyone hoping for the venerable Project Gotham Racing series or lost classic Jet Set Radio Future to reappear will have to put those hopes to rest.

Source: Xbox

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5 Comments

  1. So now they’ve finished adding BC to old games, what’s the total number of original XBox, 360 and Xbone games that can be played on a Series X|S?

    It’s hard to find numbers that aren’t a year out of date, but it looks like it’s just a bit more than the number of previous generation games you can play on the PS5. About 5% more. Maybe a bit less if you count the PS2 games that were released for PS4 bundled with an emulator. And with another year of games on top of that, the PS5 has probably managed to sneak ahead by now.

    Not sure if those XBone games that have Series X|S versions should count either. With that smart devilry nonsense, you can’t play the old XBone version on the newer consoles, can you? At least Sony give you the choice of either version, or both.

    It’s still pretty impressive though, and an interesting way to do it. A built in emulator would be trivial for original XBox games (but probably throw up all sorts of issues), and probably a bit trickier for 360 games. The way they’ve done it solves all the problems, but just means it’s limited due to legal and licensing issues.

    So yes, impressive, and we’ve now got an answer to the question of which is more backwards compatible, the X|S or PS5. And surprisingly it’s the PS5.

    • Statistics will tell you whatever you want. Xbox One and Series both supports 6.3% of original Xbox games and 29.3% of all 360 games, compared to PS4/5 only managing 1.2% of PS2 games.

      • The PS5 has done a good job of the important bit though. A small handful of PS4 games don’t run on it, and they even sent out free adapters for the old PS4 camera so all those VR games (apart from a couple) could work.

        The Series X|S has a much higher number of XBone games that don’t work. But you get the new version downloaded automatically for you.

        I think they’ve both done a good job of it. MS have done better at supporting some older stuff to keep 4 people happy. Sony have possibly done better in supporting the last generation. Although they made a bit of a mistake with dealing with upgrades to native PS5 versions. They’ve fixed one problem, by letting PS5 games read PS4 saves. But not the other way around. And trophies don’t always carry forward either (especially if Bethesda are involved, it seems)

        MS really have done a good job this time. If only they’d not bothered with the Series S they might have managed to make enough of the Series X for people to get hold of.

  2. It’s been a great program, and having access to so many old games is great.

    Not sure why MrYd thinks anyone with an xbox would care how many games are BC on a different system though. Certainly I doubt anyone has gone to the lengths of researching numbers and percentages like he has!

    • If you think I went to any lengths researching numbers, other than about 12 seconds of Googling, then I suspect you may need some practice in Googling stuff. (Other search engines are available, but may take longer. Like 15 seconds or more)

      And it’s the XBox people that seem to care about how many BC games are on a different system. They’ve been going on about it since they started doing it with the XBone. Plenty of people seem to care that MS let you run all those old games and Sony don’t. Point out the actual numbers for the PS5 and Series S|X and suddenly nobody cares? You’d make a good politician. (No, actually, I think you’re probably better than that. Along with 99%+ of people, and several species of fungus)

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