As the second year of the current console generation draws to a close, both the Xbox One and the PS4 have evolved to fit a changing marketplace. The consoles have received updates to their user interface for simpler navigation as well as introducing new SKUs in time for the holidays. While Microsoft and Sony have different trajectories, their paths are inevitably determined by the consumers.
Case in point, Microsoft announced the Xbox One will be updated to include backwards compatibility for a number of Xbox 360 games. It was a feature absent from the console's announcement and subsequent launch, but also one that was repeatedly requested by Xbox One owners. Finally, after two years, Microsoft has granted the request.
Microsoft revealed the first set of backward compatible games, a list including 104 different titles from the 360 and Xbox Live Arcade. The list includes some of the platform's most popular games, including Fallout 3, Assassin's Creed 2, Gears of War and Mass Effect. The list also includes these gems from the Live Arcade: Shadow Complex, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+ and Castle Crashers. A full list of the compatible titles is available here. These games will be playable starting November 12th, 2015.
The 360 games are emulated on the Xbox One, so players will have the advantage of some additional features while playing. The 360 guide will be available while playing backward compatible games, allowing One owners to play games with friends still using their 360s. The games will also be available for streaming through Twitch, without the need for any additional equipment.
While their are quite a few new titles set to launch this week, there are already more on the way. Microsoft revealed that games such as Bioshock, Halo Reach and Call of Duty: Black Ops are coming, though there's no indication as to when they'll be released. The video at the top of the article features Larry Hyrb (Xbox Live's Major Nelson) promising that hundreds of 360 titles will eventually be made compatible with the Xbox One. So, if some of your favorites haven't been announced, there's a good chance you'll see them in the future.
For those on the fence about upgrading to the Xbox One, this is just one more reason to take the plunge. With the lower price and current selection of holiday bundles, there's never been a better time to join the current console generation. This update greatly increases the console's library and while these games are available on another console, the integration of the Xbox One features should make for a unique and enjoyable gameplay experience.
The “New Xbox One Experience” debuts on November 12th, 2015.