One of Microsoft’s big wins at E3 recently has been their announcement that the Xbox One is now – to a certain extent – backwards compatible. This has been widely regarded as a good move and made a lot of people very happy. Indeed, our very own Ash had many fair and impartial things to say about this as he applauded the move.
I’m somewhat less enamoured by the news.
The Xbox One was released on November 22nd 2013 – a full 577 days ago. Now fair enough, if you’re releasing a console backwards compatibility is a great thing to include. People are sat on titles which they are playing currently and the library of the old console is always going to be richer than the new. Backwards compatibility helps soften the blow of upgrading.
However once I bought my One I – perhaps unsurprisingly – sold my 360. It no longer had any use because I had a shiny new machine that is far more capable. At least that’s the theory.
To me, this move smacks of something which the current gen is struggling with: a lack of decent titles. There are very few big games which aren’t available on the older generation hardware as well as the new. A lot of this is driven by the fact that the One and the PS4 are not that impressive a jump from their older brothers.
Ideally, this backwards compatibility announcement from Xbox should have been greeted by a big ‘who cares’ because there’s already plenty of great content out there. The reaction we did see is telling.