When designing the upcoming Xbox One gaming console, Microsoft made the conscious decision to not make the device backwards-compatible, meaning that all the Xbox 360 games consumers have spent billions of dollars to acquire over the last eight years can not be used on the Xbox One. Realizing that this might miff some gamers, a Microsoft exec now says the idea of backwards compatibility hasn’t been completely ruled out.
Sony, whose upcoming PS4 console will also not be backwards compatible at launch, has said it plans to eventually use its Gaikai cloud servers to make previously purchased PS3 games playable on the new console. That seems to be what Microsoft is considering, according to Microsoft’s Albert Penello.
“[T]here are so many things that the servers can do,” Penello recently told GameSpot. “It could be more complicated things like rendering full games like a Gaikai and delivering it to the box. We just have to figure out how, over time, how much does that cost to deliver, how good is the experience.”
Aside from the technological aspects involved in serving up these games over the cloud, another concern not addressed by Penello, but one which Microsoft and Sony are most certainly mulling over, is how to authenticate that the game is indeed owned by the user, and that multiple users are not cashing in. It would likely require Microsoft reinstating some of the controversial digital rights management programs it dropped after a customer backlash.
In an effort to help transition people from the Xbox 360 to the Xbox One, both Amazon and Best Buy are offering upgrade programs on a handful of new titles, allowing customers to pay a fee to upgrade to the new console versions of those games when they are released.