Xbox One’s final hurdle… backwards compatibility
We’re a little over a year from the original announcement of the Xbox One and its string of controversial policies and features. Some would have liked Microsoft to stick with its guns and followed through on those plans. Others wish they had gone much further faster. 12 months on and the console we have sitting our TV at home may look practically identical to the one shown off in Seattle, but it certainly doesn’t behave in the same way as it was intended to.
DRM policies restricting how and with who you could share games? Gone. Game sharing with up to 10 family and friends? Scaled back and toned down, since DRM would have been a linchpin of making this happen. Playing used games? Not problem (although it’s possible it was never going to be). Headset in the box? There is now. Have to have Kinect plugged in to play? As of June you won’t even need Kinect at all. Need a Gold account for media apps? Again, not as of June this year for Netflix, Hulu, Twitch, YouTube and HBO Go.
And then there’s backwards compatibility. It’s the final missing element in most people’s wishlist for the Xbox One. There may be arguments over whether the DRM policies and trading ambiguity would have better served us in terms of quality of game and experience in the future, but there is some agreement that getting to play your old games on a new machine would be a welcome addition. Not essential. Just welcome.
It’s telling that neither the Xbox One or its competitors enjoy this feature. The last generation has been cut adrift by this new hardware, but there have been mutterings of a rescue attempt. Sony has been working on a streaming service and Microsoft has its much lauded and rarely seen cloud network. If the Xbox One hardware is genuinely as incompatible with Xbox 360 discs as has been claimed then surely the potential for live streaming content from the cloud remains? It may not be a console-selling feature, but it’s the kind of crowd pleasing gesture. In a year where Microsoft has worked hard to win back doubting fans, it would be a major move.
In the check list of features missing or unwanted on Xbox One, this is the final unmarked box that most would agree they want. If it was to be addressed even in a small way at E3 this year it would be a big step for those still reticent to make the leap the next-gen. To me, this is the final hurdle in the way to making the Xbox One the console the people want it to be. It’s not a generation winning move – just a thumbs up to the crowd and another acknowledgement that somebody is listening.