In context: While Sony’s plans for backward compatibility on the PlayStation 5 are somewhat underwhelming, Microsoft has been much bolder. The company previously stated that it hopes to have every single generation of Xbox games working on its upcoming Xbox Series X and S devices — not just Xbox One titles. However, exactly how and when these games would become playable was unknown.
Fortunately, we finally have answers to some of these lingering questions, courtesy of a new tweet from Xbox Project Manager Jason Ronald. Ronald says that, after a whopping 500,000 hours of testing, his team can confirm that not only is just about every Xbox game in the world playable on the Series X and S, but they’ll also be playable on launch day.
That’s somewhat surprising — it’s not unusual for some key console features to roll out post-launch. Still, it seems the Xbox crew is committed to offering customers a compelling reason to choose the Green Team over the Blue Team this generation. While the PlayStation 5 will ship with limited backward compatibility, it pales in comparison to this.
To be clear, that’s not a dig at Sony. We can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for the Xbox team to accomplish this feat, and one could certainly argue that their resources may have been better spent elsewhere.
After 500K+ hours of testing, we’re are excited to share that all Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One games playable on Xbox One today, except for the handful that require Kinect, will be available – and look and play better – on Xbox Series X|S at launch.
— Jason Ronald (@jronald) October 28, 2020
Nonetheless, Microsoft needed a compelling reason for PC players, in particular, to shell out money for their upcoming console (since they’ll be getting all Series X exclusives anyway), and this might just be it.
Kinect games are the only exception here: they will not function on the Series X. That’s no surprise, though, since the accessory never really took off anyway.
Notably, Ronald claims that past-gen games will also “look and play better” on the Series X, but that’s a tough pill to swallow. Many older games have capped framerates and archaic engines, so we’re unsure how the experience could possibly be noticeably smoother on the Series X. Naturally, we’re not counting the handful of cross-gen Xbox One titles that are getting next-gen optimizations.
At any rate, this is overall good news for Microsoft fans. If you have a collection of old Xbox games lying around, consider dusting them off ahead of the Xbox Series X’s launch on November 10, 2020.