Most of the newer game systems nowadays have introduced many new amazing features, like updated graphics, achievements, multiplayer, etc., but one feature that seemed destined to be left behind is backward compatibility (the ability to play games made for old systems on a new ones). But Microsoft has decided to change that.

At their E3 presentation, Microsoft said: “Our goal is to deliver the largest games catalogue ever on Xbox. And Xbox One backward compatibility allows us to do just that.”

Xbox backwards compatibility should be available this holiday season, but a beta version is already available for Xbox Preview members. It will not come with any extra cost, and Xbox Live Gold membership will not be required (it will, of course, be required for multiplayer features).

How they will achieve this is simple: instead of physically making the Xbox One capable of playing 360 games, Phil Spencer of Microsoft explained that hundreds of Xbox 360 titles will become available on the digital store. You can either buy the game directly from the digital store or, if you already own a 360 retail copy of the game, you can simply insert the disc into the Xbox One, which will then recognize the game and download the digital copy with no extra cost.

Bill Stillwell, a member of the Xbox Platform Team, explained that getting the Xbox One to play 360 games was fairly simple. They just created an 360 emulator that could be inserted into One’s software, so 360 games will just run through the emulator. And since it’s connected to your Xbox account, this feature will also carry over achievements gained on your 360 over to your One version of the game.

In the presentation they showed off ‘Mass Effect‘ running through an Xbox One – Spencer claims the game runs exactly as it does on a 360, but is improved by Xbox Live, which’ll allow multiplayer capabilities, screenshots, and broadcasting.

Not every 360 game will be available with this feature, but Microsoft claims that there will be 100 games available at launch. For now, some of the games available through in this feature include ‘Banjo-Kazooie,’ ‘Mass Effect,’ ‘Super Meat Boy,’ and ‘Perfect Dark.’ They also plan to expand their list of available titles over time.

The only reason why they won’t be able to have every 360 game available at launch is, besides some minor technical issues, they first have to go through legal issues and copyrights to get them over to Xbox One. This means that some of the first games available through the program will be first-party games that Microsoft already owns. Any games besides that will be chosen by requests and popularity, and Microsoft is encouraging feedback from fans on what games they want to see.

As a jab at Sony, Spenser concluded his presentation by saying:”With Xbox One Backward Compatibility, we won’t charge you to play the games you already own.”

You can check out the E3 presentation and the interview with Stillwell about the backward compatibility details below, or you can read more about it yourself on the Xbox website.

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