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Xbox One: no backwards compatibility, no constant connection required

No Xbox 360 for you

Our heads are still whirling after the announcement of the Xbox One earlier this morning. The event is over, but details are still pouring in. We’ve got two items to highlight real fast. One good, one bad.

Sorry, Xbox 360

What should we do first? The bad or good? Bad it is. The Xbox One will not be backwards compatible with Xbox 360 games.  The Verge had a chance to sit down with Marc Whitten, VP of Xbox Live. When asked whether or not the new Xbox One will play older games he said:

“No there’s not. The system is based on a different core architecture, so back-compat doesn’t really work from that perspective.”

It’s a bummer for most people, but understandable when you look at the technology involved. No word on whether select games may be updated as downloads for the future Xbox One. With no new Halo game on the horizon it looks like I’ll be keeping my Xbox 360 around.

Always online? Nay!

Now for the good news. Earlier this year the internent went into a frenzy when rumors circulated that the next Xbox would require a constant internet connection to play games. After the Xbox One reveal, Spike TV’s Geoff Keighly interviewed Don Mattrick, president of Xbox Live. Don went on the record to say that the Xbox One will not require a constant internet connection to play games. It will only need an connection for internet specific activities, like Xbox Live or SmartGlass. Individual games have the option to require a constant internet connection though, depending on what online features they plan to use.

We’ll keep you guys posted on what else we learn.

Source: The Verge

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Reader comments

Xbox One: no backwards compatibility, no constant connection required

108 Comments

Ok... But the PS3 doesn't share the same core as the PS2 or PS1 but they managed to play the games... Sure they had separate chips to run them, I can't imagine with todays modern technology it would be too difficult to do that too for this console...

Microsoft mentioned they will have thier own powerful servers to help do some processing for the Xbox One. Im sure the old Xbox 360 Title will come up on the marketplace to buy and download later

That's because the early PS3s literally had the guts of a PS2 stuffed inside them. Which is precisely why they removed the functionality in revised models. It cost too much and was cannibalizing sales of actual PS2s.

Software emulation may be possible, buts that's costly and unreliable. Youre better off just keeping your 360, why'd you want a new console to play old games anyway "

This is my plan. I was planning on selling my 360, but for the prices they are going for, i'm better off just keeping it for my old games. Maybe I will eventually get around to playing Mass Effect...

And all those games you bought as downloads for the 360 will most likely work on the 1 since they're downloads. I can't recall if it was mentioned but I believe that's how 360 games will be available on the Xbox One. I read somewhere like 450 titles are already playable for the One, referencing 360 games.

The stuff you downloaded for 360 run on the 360. They would be just as incompatible as the disc version. Streaming content could be a possibility. Basically an MS operated X360 is running the content and Xbox live would steam it to your Xbox One.
 
That would be a new service provided to you. Perhaps it comes free with Xbox Live and the download and/or disc can be used to validate you are entitled to the stream. But now I'm just wishful thinking. If Microsoft had such a robust backward compatibility program then they would surely have announced it.

EDIT: Although he did say X360 related news will come at E3.

My PS3 can't play any of my PS2 games, unless I buy them digitally, if they're available that is. Not sure of the point you're trying to drive home.

Mine too old 60gb platinum version with the chrome accents. I had it reballed and had the bluray drive replaced. Still rocks tho

Well there are older PS3, original ones, primarily with the CECHA01 (US) serial number have backwards compatibility (and other serials as well) for PS2 and PS1... They added a special chip called the "emotion engine" which basically hardware processed PS2 games, rather than software emulate... They tried that later when they removed the engine, but was not very good. So to save money, or rather increase profits they phased that out, and by the time the slim came around there was only PS1 compatibility. The point in trying to drive home here is that with an octacore processor and 8gb ram, even software emulation is possible here... Hell even my PS1-1000 series can play downloaded PS1 games via emulation... So its just surprising to me that they didn't figure a way out to make this happen. Why do I want backwards compatibility? I still enjoy playing Skyrim, battlefield 3, civilization... Many titles, that if I spend $500 on a new console, I would like to be able to retire the old one and play all my entertainment on "one" device. While my point may have escaped you, I didn't think it was that difficult to understand, requiring such elaborate explanation. But there you have it!

They are changing the whole architecture of the system. Much like what Sony are doing with PS4. Simple minds will give out about it but you have to bare in mind the serious changes on the inside of the system. I can see them having the whole 360 library through games on demand.

Looks like my 360 will be sticking with me so I can play GTA5. (they should have waited)

First Xbox was x86. How can the 360 play those games yet its a PPC ? Its called software. They could do this with Xboxone, but they are at it again. Rushing the console out.

I understand but I'm surprised that with the whole metro-app system, they can't make an emulator app that would play the 360 games.

New core architecture? Not backwards compatible?
Where have I heard that before?

Ohh...Windows Phone 7 and WP8
The only difference is that MS said 'New Kernel' but this guy said 'New Core Architecture'

Well...they aren't lying about it to you. They are changing kernels and architectures from their previous products so that they can easily unify their product offerings. It kinda sucks in the short run because we lose compatibility but in the long run its a change that is needed.

Why because Microsoft chose not to waste resources on creating a "social gaming community" like Sony did. No thank you. I'll take functional improvements like snap view and all in one integration over social features any day.

It's like WP7.8 and WP8. Microsoft, be prepared for "when it comes out for 360?" or "no love for 360".

I have a 360 for 360 games. Glad they're concentrating on new tech and not harbouring a dinosaur inside it.

I agree. They can focus on tech for tomorrow. Not to mention, I rarely ever play my Xbox games on 360 or Ps2/1 on PS3. It may be an issue for a few months then most if us get over it.

The difference here is that the new console will be lacking a Halo title, and probably Gears as well (given that Judgment just launched, and the franchise might be retired after it). Right now, we're looking at a console being sold on early-release CoD DLC and Forza. E3 needs to bring probably 3 new launch IPs to make this compelling.

Also, since its x64 (not sure if that mean x86 aswell) one could argue that good games like Mass Effect  and Skyrim for PC could be portet for at new xbox! Kinda funny to think bout when most of those games were portet from consol to PC in the first place! :P

They have the capability to provide compatibility software. The first Xbox was x86, then the 360 was PPC, and now the XboxOne is x86. They are capable of backwards compatibility for the next Xbox.

Looks terrific, but no pricing? No release dates?  If Xbox "One" is $500, I'd rather build a HTPC with Windows 7 and Media Center/xbmc myself.  PC Games, here I come!!

For $500 you can build a decent HTPC, but it won't play many games.. not without a good GPU. And they said it would release later this year.. which means in time for the holiday season.

At least we can see the console and the stupid controller like PS4. Seriously Sony that is super lame

At least Sony doesn't have 50% failure rate or do you honestly think M$ extended the three red lights warranty to three years because it was such a fail safe system???

The xbox one, with its new variable power state, should reduce or eliminate hardware failures. The big problem with the xbox overheating sounds counterintuitive, and im suprised ive never heard anyone explain it. But i will. Its because most users will play for a little bit and turn it off. They may do this several times a day or once a day, but whats happening is that the gel between the processor and heatsink is heating up and cooling off too much ans becomes brittle or loses its ability to transfer heat. If you keep yoir xbox on all the time, it stays warm and it never overheats and you rarely get hardware failures. Ive had the same xbox since launch and ive never had the red ring of death or other hardware failures and that it because i dont turn it off. I have other friends who have experienced the same. Now that i think about it the variable power stuff might be a bad thing for hardware if it actually causes this heating and cooling to happen more often. I will probably prefer to keep it completely on all the time. We shall see.

Not to be rude, but no company usually makes things that have long since been surpassed compatible with newer things. It is just how companies work. If it is such a big deal buy a damn windows phone 8.

Backward compatibility has always seemed stupid to me. New gamers are not going to go buy 360 games if they buy a One, and 360 owners will still have their 360's around if they buy a One

One of the biggest issues with the 360's power when it launched was that it had to be able to play old xbox games, the One will not be limited in that regards

It's stupid to want to have less consoles connected to the TV but retain access to the software you already own? :-\

If they weren't omitting Halo, it would be one thing. Missing their top IP from the launch titles (meaning the games) is a big deal. Not having the games from the past either? That's just stupid.

I guess in some regards though xbox to xbox 360 was a jump from sd to hd whereas 360 to one is a jump from hd to hd/4k where, for a few years, not many gamers will be using 4k so there will be less of a difference in that regard
That could make late 360 games seem more appealing on the one?

That like buying a bluray player and keeping your DVD player for DVDs, nevermind the benefit of 1080 upconvert for your DVDs on a bluray player, buy imagine 4k upconvert for your 360 games? That would be worth it!

My question is: Does this pertain to just games that were originally released through retail or do XBLA games fall into this category as well?

According to engadget the only thing transferring over is gamerscore, no other type of games be it xbla or 360.

No backwards compatibility is a good move. It will ruffle some feathers but the game developers really need to the new revenue. They have been taking a beating for the last year or so.

Didnt care if it wasnt backwards compatibility but this just confirms im selling my 360 this wknd.......that will be a jump start to my xbox one savings

So they want to streamline everything into ONE device except for their own gaming machine. I guess we still will be switching inputs on our TV's after all.

Real question for me is if there's a way to connect a 360 to a one and use the cool voice alt tab feature.

"Xbox go to 360"

You guys are forgetting that all of the digital content you bought on 360 is included in this. Everything you've purchased on 360 digitally is now locked to only being on your 360.
It's not as simple as "well okay, it makes sense that you can't put in a 360 disk and expect it to work". This is understandable.
The problem is for people who've bought countless of XBLA or direct download titles from 360 over the years of owning, and now they are expected to just pretend they never bought any of it and that purchase is now valueless. Imagine if you bought something off XBLA this fall or... got the new GTAV game coming out (which isn't on the new consoles)? Sorry, if you want to play that you'll have to skip over this new xbox.
That's really bad. You don't want to give your consumer base a reason to not get your new product. Going "oh, all this stuff you got for the lifetime of our product is now completely worthless, including all digital content" is a major issue for the majority of people who use the 360 currently.
The PS4 is questionable in this as well, but at least it seems like they have some kind of plan (if it works, that'll be the big question). I.E. it appears the PS4's solution to this problem is that all of your previously purchased content is avalble via Gaikai's streaming services - I.E. I can play a PS3 game I bought on my account through my PS4 via Gaikai emulating the game on their end and streaming the game to my console.
Oh, another downside is that this new console will not support used games at all, and they require forced installations for every game you own (You know.. one of the major irrations of the PS3 back when it first came out). When a game is  installed, you don't need the disc anymore which is nice. Problem is if you loan your disc to a friend or sell/rent a game, they have to buy the game in order to play it. Can't post source because it doesn't allow links here, but it's easy to find this information, just search online for it.
In other words, this new xbox just seems just like my PC, except with none of the upsides of PC gaming. Infinite backwards compatability back to any game from the pre-2000 era of games, the utility of having a PC, a platform level of freedom that makes it so the indie gaming scene is the largest and best on PC, Steam sales and discounts proving how to do Digital Only the RIGHT way (and by the way, every game I get on Steam is compatable with every PC no matter how old that game is as long as the PC has good enough specs to run it), etc. This new xbox doesn't seem anymore than a "crap PC", and the features that it can do beyond what my PC already does is stuff that my SmartTV already does, gimmicks like voice activation aside.
I've never been so completely not-sold on a product ever before. At least the PS4 seems to offer convienece and gaming that my PC+TV doesn't already do, but I'm not totally convinced on that either.

Don't mean to be a hater... xbox is fine for gamers.  But why are articles on the xbox filling up the Windows Phone web site? I'm interested in the OS and the phones, not the xbox.

I am a PC guy too, just built my own gaming machine. If you are happy with your PC, why are you complaining? This may not be for you and I, but it will be for millions of others. Its not just gaming - far more than that. Sorry, this was supposed to be in response to korjax.

I like the idea of having a console have a role in my living room is all. Considering that PC gaming has exploded in recent years, it's bad when a new next-gen console release just end up being "crappy PC's" instead of consoles. There's something to be said about just sitting on a couch and popping on my console to play a new game I just bought with no strings attached. That's the big advantage of a console over a PC, is that it's focused, direct, and to the point. This new console generation is about as far removed as you can get from that though, without any of the advantages PC's have had for years. And to make things even funnier, PC gaming is getting to the point where it's getting easier and more convenient to just get to your games you want to play. But consoles seem to be going in the opposite direction? Why? It's honestly to the point where I would not be surprised if this was the last console generation we'll ever see. TV's already can do what Xbox Live Gold charges you $60/year to do, imagine what they can do in time for the next generation. PC's are literally doing the whole "gaming" thing much better and much more cost efficient than a console is doing, and it's shown with how huge the market has become in the past few years (Valve, who has 80% of the PC gaming digital distribution market, has been doubling in profit revenues every single year since they've launched steam, and they make more profit-per-employee than Microsoft, Google, AND Amazon. Again, can't post sources on WPcentral, just search for this stuff.).

I wasn't impressed by the tv/movie part. I don't do that now on my 360 and I don't plan on it at such time that I get the X1. I buy game systems to play games. If you want watch to watch movies and tv, watch tv or go buy the movie and watch it on your tv.

My comment might get lost in the crowd here, but I would LOVE a used game Fee to play on my console. Not from a consumer point of view, that sucks bigtime, but from a developer/business point of view. Think about it, Gamestop can no longer charge obscene amounts for barely used titles because with the new fee the value is much lower. The FEE could theoretically go to the makers of the game and microsoft instead of Gamestop. Your out-of-pocket cost remains the same, developers get paid for EVERY user that plays the game and greedy thirdparty companies stop playing the middleman markup rôle.

Totally agree, pisses me off to see the likes of Game hiding new games behind overpriced used ones, where developers make no money for their hard work on products we love.

I thought of this too. Hopefully implemented so developers win. I think windows phone made me think this way. For example, I don't use Instagram very much but buy the instagraph and itadagram apps to support developers who make quality stuff and advance the platform.

So much Sony hatred in these Xbox articles. The both have strengths and flaws. Both are exceptional pieces of technology. Both are personal preference just like say a car or favorite tv or whatever else have you. So quit bickering like little children over it

What I want to know is what are the options for hooking into cable.  I don't subscribe to cable currently and use HDHomeRun digital tuners hooked into my media center for watching over the air tv.  My hope is that I can still use these tv tuners with the XBOX one.  Also on my wish list is for the XBOX one to be able to stream video from a seperate server.  If it can do those 2 things, no more media center pc is required, a HUGE WIN.
IF the xbox one is using the XFINITY app to plug into television, that will be a huge let down.

I think a way to solve all this will be that you got a original disc and a code so if you have to change consoles or update you can always use that code to download a version that can work on that console .

What about the rumored Xbox-Mini (codename Stingray), the $100 add-on to the NextBox that allows for both on-demand, and disc based 360 games (as rumored by VGleaks). There have been several rumors to support this. I think the quote by Whitten is reffering to the NextBox, by itself, not being able to play 360 games; at least I hope so...

While I generally don't trust any VG sites articles, I hope this is true only because it would be a great solution. I also,hope for some streaming system if this idea doesn't come to fruition, similar to what Sony alluded to for the PS4

Its always been like this with next gen consoles, so no suprise there for me. I still have my trusty 360 if I need to look back.

I'm not buying a new console to play the same old games I beat already on 360. Backwards compatibility has never been an issue for me.

Backwards compatibility only softens the transfer from one generation to another, but adds significantly to hardware/software development cost(remember the ps3 launch price, yikes). I would rather keep my xbox 360 in a closet to pull out when needed than drive up the cost of nextgen gaming. My SNES never played my NES cartridges and I never heard anyone complain about it back then.