NEWS - Friday, June 2, 2006

Backwards Compatibility Over?

Microsoft has been very vocal about its desire to support the first Xbox by making all original Xbox games backward compatible with the next-gen Xbox 360 system. The goal was to make every original Xbox game playable on the Xbox 360. In May 2005 a PR manager for Xbox told that Microsoft’s "goal is to have every Xbox game work on Xbox 360. You will NOT need to purchase a new ’version’ -- your original games will work on Xbox 360." Microsoft VP Peter Moore may be taking on the role of the fat lady and singing backward compatibility a fond farewell in a video interview available today on gaming website Kikizo. "Nobody is concerned anymore about backwards compatibility." Moore said. "We under promised and over delivered on that. It’s a very complicated thing... very complex work. I’m just stunned that we have hundreds of games that are backwards compatible. More are coming, but at some point, you just go, there’s enough, let’s move on, or people aren’t as worried about a game being backwards compatible -- and I like to think we’ve upheld our end of the bargain in making at least two or maybe three hundred games backwards compatible." In a recent interview with Microsoft Game Studios executive Shane Kim, however, told IGN the opposite -- that Microsoft was still planning on creating more backward compatible games. "We’re going to continue to work on backward compatible games," Kim said in the interview. I mean, our goal is to make everything backward compatible. We’re at over 200 now, and we’re working on making them all backward compatible." IGN contacted Microsoft to get the official word on the fate of backward compatibility and Xbox 360, but representatives didn’t return our calls prior to deadline. According to the Xbox website there are exactly 207 original Xbox titles that are playable on the Xbox 360. Some titles that are not currently backward compatible are Psychonauts, Lego Star Wars, and the Project Gotham Racing series. Peter Moore went on to dish out new dirt in the next-gen console babble battle. "I think Nintendo’s doing their job, in broadening the look and feel of what games are about for the consumer. And, you know, Sony wants sell high definition movies." Moore clearly took issue with Sony’s alliance with Blu-Ray, the next-generation optical disc format meant for high-density storage of high-definition video and data -- technology built into the PS3, along with a hefty price. "It just doesn’t seem like good business to burden the cost of the box and get back up to five or six hundred dollars because movie playback is the primary way that you’re driving what should be a games business, into a movie format war business." Moore also dismissed the PS3’s ability to deliver output in 1080p, offering that 780p was plenty good enough for his personal home theater projector. He went on to call out Sony’s PS3 by hinting at an arguably inevitable price break for the Xbox 360 and the familiarity of launching a next-gen console in November with two SKUs and an online network. We will be sure to update when we hear more. In the meantime, let us know what games you still want to see playable on the 360 in our forums.


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