Microsoft made big news last year when they announced that Xbox One would begin implementing backward compatibility for Xbox 360 titles. The change in policy, accomplished by gradually making individual 360 games available for free downloads "unlocked" by the presence of a corresponding 360 game in the disc drive or previously-existing digital download, promised to give Xbox One owners a chance to reconnect with (or discover for the first time) some of the biggest hits and hidden gems of the previous console generation - a significant increase in the total number of titles available to current-gen consumers.
Now, the catalog has increased once again, along with a crucial change in policy: 10 new titles have been added to the backwards-compatibility roster, while Microsoft has revealed that titles will now be released as they are made ready, rather than making players wait for specific monthly launch dates.
As has been the case with previous launches, the selection of new-to-Xbox One titles is a mix of well-known classics and smaller titles, with a particular emphasis this month on games previously available through Xbox Live Arcade. However, the most noteworthy addition is likely The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. One of the bestselling titles on the Xbox 360 and the second game in the exceptionally popular Witcher series, it directly preceded The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt - currently one of the highest rated titles in the Xbox One's current-gen lineup (and one of our best games of 2015).
The remaining titles include the space-shooter Aegis Wing, Capcom's humorous pirate sim Age of Booty, Telltale's Sam & Max Save The World, the hit 2D fighter Skullgirls, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Jeremy McGrath's Offroad, Small Arms, Space Giraffe and the Xbox Live Arcade version of the original Soulcalibur.
The continued emphasis on backwards-compatibility has marked an ongoing shift in Microsoft's attitude toward Xbox One software since the console's hugely controversial reveal at E3 2013. While many gamers (and members of the gaming press) had felt consternation over early concepts like mandatory use of Kinect and the device always needing to be online, few things were met with more initial outrage than digital-rights policies that would have placed severe restrictions on the buying and selling of used games and even sharing among friends. The consumer backlash led Microsoft to alter or even reverse many of these policies and led to a renewed focus on games and gamers, which some consider the allowance of backwards compatibility (originally not part of the console's feature-set) to be one of the dramatic examples thereof.
Xbox One owners have thus far logged more than 21 million hours playing backwards-compatible games. With the news that compatible Xbox 360 titles will no longer be held for specific launch dates, players can likely look forward to getting more good news (and more good games) on a much more frequent basis.
Source: Major Nelson
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