Xbox One's backwards compatibility emulation was tough to design, but should make the process of getting old games onto the console almost painless. By tricking the 360 games into thinking they're on a last-gen machine, it should be a case of simply asking the license holders if they'll allow their games to be sold on a new console. Which means there should be a lot.
Speaking to Official Xbox Magazine, Microsoft corporate vice president and professional sunglasses wearer, Kudo Tsunoda explained that that doesn't mean we should expect to see a big switch being pulled and getting every game ever released for the 360:
“We’ll start with 100 titles this Fall, and we’ll be adding titles as time goes by. You know, 100% is always a hard thing to achieve in anything – I think there’s a possibility for some outliers." But there's a definable goal at work - for Microsoft, bigger is clearly better.
"We’re really going to work on getting the biggest catalogue of games on any platform onto Xbox One – via our big, exclusive blockbuster titles that we’re delivering this Fall, our indie games, plus backwards compatibility. That’s just enormous value for gamers.”
It's a bold claim, but it's certainly a possibility - 360 was enormously popular, its games library rivaling most platforms as it is. In fact, that popularity is precisely what led backwards compatibility to become a key new feature on One.
“That was the most highly-requested fan feature," explains Tsunoda. "When people were asking for us at the launch of Xbox One, ‘hey, why don’t we have backwards compatibility?’ we were kind of like ‘I don’t even know if that’s possible that we could enable that technically.’ And yet it is such a fan-requested feature, and such a driving voice that people wanted when we interacted with our community. So we went and really dedicated a big part of our platform effort and super-talented features to just working that out, because it was something our fans wanted.”
It's certainly had the desired effect - more so than any game, it was the announcement of backwards compatibility that drew the biggest cheer during Microsoft's E3 press conference, and it forms the backbone of an Xbox One that looks vastly different to the console we saw revealed two years ago.