Backwards compatibility a backwards notion, Xbox head says

Investing in backwards compatibility for Xbox One is a "backwards" notion, according to Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business.

“If you’re backwards compatible, you’re really backwards,” Mattrick told the Wall Street Journal.

Only 5 percent of customers play games for previous systems on newer systems, Mattrick said, so the time and money required to get Xbox 360 games working on Xbox One is better spent elsewhere.

The Wall Street Journal noted a different survey, which indicated 12 percent of potential customers would be displeased by a lack of backwards compatibility in the new system.

We already knew Xbox One isn't backwards compatible, but Mattrick's comments may seem dismissive to customers with generous 360 libraries. They can always keep both systems plugged in, of course, but that's one less way Xbox One is actually an all-in-one entertainment solution.

Is backwards compatibility a big deal to you? Do you use any current-gen systems to play older games?


  • trikeman - June 2, 2013 3:03 p.m.

    I don't understand where this sense of entitlement to backwards compatibility comes from. It only really started with PS2, and besides Wii playing Gamecube games, it died out pretty quickly this generation. It's a feature that requires a lot of extra hardware and software work, and would make a console a lot more expensive to produce, even if it weren't for the fact that both Xbox One and PS4 have an extremely different architecture from this generation's consoles on the lowest level: a fact that means they would essentially have to include all of the hardware from both this and next generation's consoles to support full backwards compatibility. I'm all for preserving older games as objects that can still be experienced after their own console dies out (I still love to whip out the N64 or Genesis every once in a while to play the original Smash Bros. or classic Sonic), but asking for it this way just doesn't make economic sense, for the console makers OR for consumers.
  • broddeb - May 27, 2013 5:50 a.m.

    Let's face it. If they did make it backwards compatible they would only charge us to play them anyway. As for it being a "backwards" notion to begin with, I disagree. Currently, I have Baldurs Gate installed on my PC (thanks GOG!), Metroid Prime in my Wii U (the Wii version), Luigi's Mansion in my Wii (in my bedroom) and TLOZ Spirits Tracks in my 3DS. I guess I'm one of the 5%. It's not a deal breaker for me it just makes life easier. My original Xbox died last year so I can only play certain games from that era on my 360. When my 360 dies I'll have a huge library of games that I can't play on anything, unless I buy a new Xbox360 which by then may not be still in production and I'll have to buy a 2nd hand machine. Unless they plan on having a Virtual Xbox in the future?
  • winner2 - May 26, 2013 3:33 p.m.

    Damnit, stupid buttons. I'm going to buy the one, but I don't understand how this guy can be that stupid. Not stupid for the belief, just stupid to make an official, publicly accessible insult against the people you want to buy your product. It doesn't bother me because I've never actually played backwards compatible games before except maybe once or twice, but I just can't get over the stupidity
  • winner2 - May 26, 2013 3:30 p.m.

    I'm going to buy the one, but I
  • GoldenEagle1476 - May 26, 2013 9:54 a.m.

    Okay so there's two problems with this guy's statement. The first is that there weren't that many great games for the original Xbox, besides the obvious ones like Halo; some of the ones that are worth playing again aren't backwards compatible, like Star Wars: Jedi Outcast. Secondly, and probably more important, the 360 has a vast library of games, many of which people will still want to play for many years to come. Not making the new system backwards compatible will just give people another reason to keep their 360s and buy a PS4 instead.
  • Shinn - May 26, 2013 6:38 a.m.

    Many of the Xbox's flagship games have strong multiplayer components. Isn't it weird that microsoft doesn't think that not being able to play any of these core games (Halo, Gears etc) at launch will be reason enough for some people to delay their purchase?
  • ZeeCaptain - May 26, 2013 5:59 a.m.

    Headline: Backwards company head pats himself on the back for coming up with a "backwards" pun on backwards compatibility being a backwards notion, meanwhile gamers are to busy questioning his competence to complain about the xbone having three separate operating systems and not one of them could be bothered to have a compatibility mode.
  • Adi_9194 - May 26, 2013 4:27 a.m.

    An open letter to the President of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business: Dear Mr Mattrick, I cannot tell you how overjoyed I am at the reveal of your new games console( read: media box dohickey), the XBox One. I have always been a fan of the XBox system since it first released and currently own an XBox 360. It has provided me with years of entertainment at the cost of my social life, a price I gladly paid. As I am sure you have inferred by now, I find myself in possession of quite a few XBox 360 games, as do many of those who also own an XBox. Collectively we have paid a small fortune to your company in game sales alone, not to mention the yearly subscription forXBox Live. We all own a lot of games, both in physical form and in the form of digital downloads and wished to play them for many years to come. But we knew that nothing lasts forever and that a change was due. When the Sony fanboys went apeshit over the PS4 we knew you had something up your sleeve. Something we could point at and mock Sony with. Something to blow our minds. And you succeeded in wowing us... In all the wrong ways. Apart from the always online "feature", (read: pain in the ass), and the fact that we can't lend games to friends for them to try out, this has to be the biggest slap in the face of XBox fans everywhere. After years of trading barbs with Sony and Nintendo fanboys, it turns out that the worst insult can only come from Microsoft. I understand that it is hard to have built in backwards compatibility out of the box, but look at it's advantages. It makes the transition from current-gen to next-gen a bit smoother and gives gamers something to play if there is a lull in next-gen game releases. The PlayStation 2 was almost fully backwards compatible and it was the largest selling console of all time according to Wikipedia. We, as XBox fans have endured a lot, and instead of giving us a reprieve, you call the notion of making your new machine compatible with the older one "Backward". I cannot help but say that you have done a fine job of putting your foot in your mouth with this statement. I hope you enjoy the taste. All the best for the future, - A Gamer
  • XBOXDuke - May 24, 2013 1:16 a.m.

    WE CAN fix this. Rather than sit here and complain I propose that we all of us send in one xbox360 controller. The older the better, like the white ones. We ship them right to Don Mattick. We also ship an American Flag or if your country has servicemen serving overseas in an area that has NO internet connection. Why is that? Because not only do their sacrafice ALLOW us to have the freedom to play the games we love and live the lives we want it also serves as reminder of a very significant loss of business they will suffer if our freinds or anyone that is in the military that reads this are unable to enjoy the kind of games that would bring them joy in a miserable environment. By the way, I had a friend of mine that was in Felujah back in 2007. He missed Halo 3 launch but one of his squad mates got it sent to him. It was a huge morale booster. It and several other games, some of which were from my library, made it more bareable. When they came back he told me that he left them for their replacements to have and enoy. To me that kind of attitude where paying a fee is low and not good for business. So in conclusion, I propose that before E3 we each send a box that has that controller and a flag with a note inside that states: I AM PROUD TO BE SDRAWKCAB (: REMBMER THE TROOPS DON'T HAVE INTERNET IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWEHRE TO CONNECT TO EVERYDAY NOR SHOULD THEY HAVE TO PAY A FEE TO PLAY A GAME USED AND LEFT BY SOMEONE THAT WAS THERE BEFORE THEM Something like that would sure get some news and I doubt that Microsoft would want the bad publicity but it will only work IF we are onboard with it
  • mothbanquet - May 24, 2013 2:52 a.m.

    I actually deployed out to the Gulf the day after Halo 3's launch (I missed 2's by three months because I was serving over there) and it was the subject of many hours of awesome split-screen co-op all through the tour. While your gesture won't really gain much sympathy with the mainstream youth you raise a valid point about a whole section of people who will be affected by Microsoft's asinine policies. I have loved the Xbox since first playing Halo and the console quickly overtook both the PS2 and GC as my 'most played', and the tradition continued with the 360. All I see now is the same 'we know best' arrogance displayed by Sony during the PS3 launch. I'll likely get a PS4 for Killzone, Goddawar and Uncharted, to supplement my newly-resurrected PC gaming habits. I have neither the time nor money these days to support two consoles and sadly, Xbox is looking like the one to be axed.
  • ZeeCaptain - May 25, 2013 4:48 p.m.

    I like the idea, but Mattick will just end up selling the controllers back to us.
  • mikehoncho - May 23, 2013 10:40 p.m.

    If Microsoft released a version of the XBONE with backwards compatibility that cost $100 more than the standard version, I guarantee the backwards compatible one would sell better. I still don't see how software emulation isn't a viable option given the amount of power the new system has, I doubt the new OS uses that much more resources than the 360. It's a move all about money, plan and simple. That sound you hear is everybody that's part of the PS4 team orgasming simultaneously.
  • Craza - May 23, 2013 10:10 p.m.

    My original Xbox started to have issues a couple years ago after a strong 10 years with no problems (And the only real problem is that I can only turn it off by unplugging it, as well as a couple freeze-ups here and there). Because of the 360's ability to play most (sadly not all) of my original games, I wasn't upset about it, and was very happy to still be able to play them even if I couldn't use my old save data. I've gone through 3 Xbox 360s, and though I never fell in love with the console, I could always play the classics I loved from the first Xbox if the mood struck me. Given the 360's terrible reliability, if I were to buy the Xbox One and my 360 died, I'd have no way to play any of the games I have spent hundreds of dollars on. All my investment over 13 years would equal 0 in the end, and for it to be because Microsoft decided it'd be more beneficial to make a "TV Box" instead of a game console would utterly devastate me and piss me off. Though, I'd probably just buy another 360 if that were the case. But after spending however many hundreds this console will surely cost for it to not have this one basic feature just kills it for me, along with the fact that I rely on used games and no longer could, but that's another topic. I mean, I can play PC classics from 1995 on Windows 7 in 2013, but I can't play my 2010, 360 games on a "superior" 2013 Xbox One. Bullshit.
  • edward-gein - May 23, 2013 8:55 p.m.

    This just goes to show how out of touch they really are. Vote with your wallet.
  • Jet - May 27, 2013 1:10 a.m.

    This. I hate the direction consoles are going in
  • pokepark7 - May 23, 2013 4:43 p.m.

    Seriously this is HUGE!! ?why? i placed a lot of effort into my Xbox 360 is it really all going to waste? :'(
  • Adi_9194 - May 26, 2013 4:54 a.m.

    I know that feeling man. A lot of us do. We spend years buying and downloading games on the XBox, and all of a sudden, this . I hope things work out for you in the future if you chose to purchase an XBox One.
  • NullG7 - May 23, 2013 2:49 p.m.

    Yea thats true I did not play many Xbox games on the Xbox 360, but thats mostly because the Xbox wasn't fully backwards compatible so I couldn't if I wanted to. Considering this I kind of think there may be incomplete data involved here.
  • ZeeCaptain - May 23, 2013 2:03 p.m.

    Microsoft shows one more reason that their not making a game console, their making a DVR with built in BluRay dvd player and Social Media. Oh and I suppose the left over funds for screwing gamers can be put to good use, why don't we just throw in some angry birds,

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