Backwards compatibility would seem like pretty much a no-brainer for any modern game console. It instantly adds a lot more games, keeps players happy, and ensures publishers and developers get a little extra revenue. Microsoft, however, is apparently not entirely convinced.
At the Build Developer’s conference, Microsoft is apparently unconvinced that backwards compatibility is ready to go. At least that’s according to Kotaku’s coverage of the Q&A with Microsoft executive Frank Savage:
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Are there plans for an Xbox 360 emulator on Xbox One?
SAVAGE: There are, but we’re not done thinking them through yet, unfortunately. It turns out to be hard to emulate the PowerPC stuff on the X86 stuff. So there’s nothing to announce, but I would love to see it myself.
In other words, Microsoft hasn’t fully licked the technical challenges yet. That said, it seems unlikely that something like this won’t eventually come around the pike, especially now that Sony has thrown down the gauntlet in this regard by planning on making the PS4 absurdly backwards compatible. If Sony’s plans come to fruition, yeah, you’ll have to buy the download, but in theory, that would put seven thousand games on the PS4 in one fell stroke. That’s… a lot of added value.
So, if Sony follows through on its plans, expect Microsoft to follow suit. After all, it wouldn’t do to be left behind.