If you’ve been following the new video game consoles, namely Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4, then you probably already know that the Xbox One is getting a patch that would give it limited backwards compatibility with the Xbox 360.
Backwards compatibility, in console video gaming, refers to a console’s ability to play games from an earlier generation. So, back in the days of cartridge games, this was out of the question. If you wanted to play Super Mario Bros., you still needed a Nintendo Entertainment System. This changed in the CD era, because, hypothetically, you could play older games on new systems. Only the PlayStation 2 made good use of this, though, allowing you to play any original PlayStation games on your new console. That was a huge deal because you didn’t have to stop playing your old favorites, and you could still pick up older games you’d missed out on.
The Xbox 360 had a limited list of original Xbox games you could play, and the PlayStation 3 could play any PlayStation games and, if you had the first model, PlayStation 2 games.
But the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One dropped this compatibility entirely. Starting November 12, however, the Xbox One will be able to play select Xbox 360 titles, with that list expected to expand over time. This is important because people who were reluctant to get a new console have a lot more reason to do so now. And by opening up the possibility of playing those older games, Microsoft might see more sales for both their games and the newest console. The Xbox One has largely been lagging behind the PlayStation 4, but as Sony has had nothing to say on the backwards compatibility front, this could be definite feather in Microsoft’s cap.