They promised it would happen, and now it’s about to: the XBox One’s backward compatibility will reach all the way to the original XBox. As with the 360, the process will have to happen a handful of games at a time — when we’re dealing with different processors, it’s the nature of the beast. None of these games can be emulated well.
When the service goes live, 13 XBox games will work on XBox One:
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Ninja Gaiden Black
- Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge
- Fuzion Frenzy
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
- Dead to Rights
- Grabbed by the Ghoulies
- Sid Meier’s Pirates!
- Red Faction II
- BloodRayne 2
- The King of Fighters Neowave
And they’ll be enhanced! On the original XBox they ran in 480p at 30 frames a second or slower….this time they’ll shine in 1080p with no slowdown! Most are still in the 4×3 ratio, with the exception of Ninja Gaiden Black which was forward-thinking enough to include a 16×9 mode.
To play any of these games, you just need an XBox disc…insert it and the game will install. If you already own some of the games digitally, they’ll appear in your library if they aren’t already there. If not you can buy them for $9.99 apiece. System Link multiplayer also works across the generations, so someone playing Crimson Skies on XBox in the same room as someone playing the game on XBox One can play against each other. The one thing that couldn’t port over was online multiplayer….XBox Live died earlier this year and the servers for a lot of these games were unplugged well before then.
As for what games could be playable on XBox One in the future, that all depends on the type of game and how easy (or difficult) it is to re-license. Music licensing is still the pain it’s always been, and for some games the publisher doesn’t even exist anymore. But Microsoft is working hard to get the most popular titles from the early 2000’s playable again.