Microsoft’s portability programme will expire on November 20, 2021, with more than 70 titles added to commemorate Xbox’s 20th anniversary, but you may be thinking, “Why hasn’t my favourite Xbox 360 or original Xbox game made the cut?”
People have often wondered why more games haven’t been introduced to the Xbox backward compatibility programme throughout the years. Jason Ronald, Xbox’s director of programme management, told TRG that creating a game back-compatibility wasn’t as simple as many would imagine.
“A lot of the games in the original Xbox generation or the Xbox 360 generation, the notion of forwarding compatibility – and thinking about how these games would carry on – was not part of the industry’s DNA at the time,” Ronald explains.
“There would be titles that we would work on and get them technically functional.” But then we’d discover how many various permissions we’d need, whether it’s from a publisher, developer, or licence holder.
“And it really resulted in a lot of labour and a lot of obstacles,” Ronald continues. “In certain circumstances, whether it comes to company consolidation or the acquisition of intellectual property, it might be difficult to find out who you need consent from!”
“However, I will say that each game is a distinct challenge.” That is one of the most difficult things to convey to the community. Because people say, ‘Oh, well, you did this game; you should do that game.’ Every game has a unique set of obstacles, and it is here that a lot of the effort that goes into really taking a game forward.”
So many games, so many challenges
Due to issues with licencing, publishers, and technological idiosyncrasies, Microsoft was unable to add hundreds of titles to the Xbox backward compatibility programme. Because of the aforementioned challenges, certain titles, as Ronald mentions, have taken years to be included in the programme.
“When we began our latest patch [about 70 back-compat titles were added on November 20, 2021], we really started with a list of hundreds of games that we wanted to explore,” Ronald explains. “And we didn’t know whether we’d receive five, ten, or twenty [titles].”
“And, to be honest, there are certain games in the programme that I never imagined we’d be able to bring forward.” It’s a labour of love, and it may take years in certain circumstances, but the team has always been really devoted to doing everything we can for the fans.”
That’s all there is to it. Certain older titles, such as Blur, Stranglehold, and Project Gotham Racing 4, aren’t backward compatible with Xbox Series X for a variety of reasons – and it’s not for want of trying.
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