How to access Xbox 360 titles on the New Xbox One Experience with backwards compatibility

The New Xbox One Experience is finally here, and we're running a series of quick how-to guides for the uninitiated!

In this guide, we'll be showing you how to access your existing Xbox 360 discs and downloads, and where to purchase additional digital titles that are part of the Xbox One backwards compatibility list.

For those who might be unaware, it's important to note that backwards compatibility is limited to the 104 titles listed below. In our recent interview with Xbox platform lead Mike Ybarra, he emphasised that Microsoft are keen to add new titles on a regular basis. It's ultimately up to publishers, IP holders and developers whether or not their games end up as part of the Xbox backwards compatibility lineup, but it seems most major publishers are on board.

Below is a list of the titles that are available today as part of the first wave. Microsoft has already teased Halo Reach, Halo Wars, Skate 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Bioshock 1, 2 and Infinite for the second wave. Microsoft has also committed to providing backwards compatible Xbox 360 titles as part of the Games with Gold free titles promotion - that means Xbox Live subscribers on Xbox One will receive four playable titles for free every month.

Here's the list so far:

  • A Kingdom for Keflings
  • A World of Keflings
  • Alien Hominid HD
  • Assassin's Creed II
  • Asteroids & Deluxe
  • Banjo Kazooie®: Nuts & Bolts
  • Banjo-Kazooie®
  • Banjo-Tooie®
  • BattleBlock Theater
  • Bejeweled 2
  • Bellator: MMA Onslaught
  • Beyond Good & Evil HD
  • Blood of the Werewolf
  • BloodRayne: Betrayal
  • Borderlands
  • Call of Juarez® Gunslinger
  • Castle Crashers
  • CastleStorm
  • Centipede & Millipede
  • Condemned: Criminal Origins
  • Crazy Taxi™
  • Deadliest Warrior: Legends
  • Defense Grid: The Awakening
  • DiRT 3
  • DiRT Showdown
  • Discs of Tron
  • Doom
  • Doom II
  • Dungeon Siege III
  • Earthworm Jim HD
  • Fable II
  • Fallout 3
  • Feeding Frenzy
  • Feeding Frenzy 2: Shipwreck Showdown
  • Gears of War
  • Gears of War 2
  • Gears of War 3
  • Gears of War: Judgment
  • Golden Axe™
  • Halo: Spartan Assault
  • Hardwood Backgammon®
  • Hardwood Hearts®
  • Hardwood Spades®
  • Heavy Weapon
  • Hexic HD
  • Ikaruga
  • Jetpac Refuelled
  • Joy Ride Turbo
  • Just Cause 2
  • Kameo™: Elements of Power
  • LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
  • Lode Runner™
  • Mass Effect™
  • Metal Slug 3
  • Metal Slug XX
  • Might & Magic Clash of Heroes™
  • Mirror's Edge™
  • Missile Command
  • Monday Night Combat
  • Monkey Island: Special Edition
  • Monkey Island 2: Special Edition
  • Ms. Splosion Man™
  • Mutant Blobs Attack!!!
  • N+
  • NBA JAM: On Fire Edition
  • NiGHTS into dreams…
  • Operation Flashpoint™: Dragon Rising
  • Pac-Man: Championship Edition™
  • Pac-Man: Championship Edition DX+
  • Perfect Dark
  • Perfect Dark Zero
  • Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds
  • Pinball FX™
  • Plants vs. Zombies
  • Prince of Persia
  • Putty Squad
  • Rayman 3 HD
  • R-Type Dimensions™
  • Sacred Citadel
  • Sega Vintage Collection: Alex Kidd & Co.
  • Sega Vintage Collection: Golden Axe
  • Sega Vintage Collection: Monster World
  • Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage
  • Shadow Complex
  • Sonic CD
  • Sonic The Hedgehog
  • Sonic The Hedgehog 2
  • Sonic The Hedgehog 3
  • Super Meat Boy
  • Supreme Commander 2
  • Tom Clancy's RainbowSix Vegas
  • Tom Clancy's RainbowSix Vegas 2
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth™
  • Torchlight
  • Toy Soldiers
  • Toy Soldiers: Cold War
  • Tron: Evolution
  • Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon
  • Viva Piñata
  • Viva Piñata: Trouble In Paradise
  • Wolfenstein 3D
  • Zuma

Xbox 360 games from the disc

Backwards compatibility runs on a Xbox 360 software emulator. When you insert a compatible Xbox 360 disc, an icon for the game will appear in the Xbox One recent apps list, below the main tile. The game will then install to your hard drive, using the disc for license verification. Once complete, you can boot up the game as you would normally either via the recent apps list on the dashboard or your installed games list - found at the bottom of the main dashboard menu.

Digital Xbox 360 games

To access games you've purchased digitally, they'll appear in your games list on the far right under "Ready to Install". The only way to get to this area is to scroll all the way across to the right. Select a title by hitting the A button, you'll then be prompted to confirm installation. Once installed, it'll appear in your games list ready to play.

Purchasing new Xbox 360 games for backwards compatibility

As of writing, there's sadly no way to purchase backwards compatible Xbox 360 games via the Xbox One itself. They won't appear in Xbox One search results, and there's no section dedicated to it on the store. If you want to pick up any of the games on the list you don't already own digitally, your best bet is to head to the Xbox Store (opens in new tab) and do a quick search. Alternatively, you can always purchase the discs from retailers.

Using the Xbox 360 emulator

The Xbox 360 emulator on the Xbox One functions a little differently to the 360 itself. Naturally, you can't access the 360 dashboard - the emulator behaves as if you're running a game.

Pressing both the View and Menu buttons (perhaps more commonly known as Start and Select) on the Xbox One controller will open up the Xbox 360 guide when you're inside a backwards compatible game. You can access some basic settings using the guide, including online status and notifications. You can also configure your cloud saves by going to the storage option.

If you want to bring your Xbox 360 save files over to your Xbox One some of you might want to continue playing saves stored on your 360. If you have an Xbox Live subscription, you can upload the your save files to your personal cloud via your Xbox 360's storage menu, they should then appear as part of the save files when running the game in the Xbox One emulator. Note that cloud saves only upload once you've exited a game, so give it a little while. You can check the sync status using the storage menu, found in the Xbox 360 guide.

While in the emulator, you can use most Xbox One system functions, such as game DVR, Twitch streaming, screenshots and Xbox One party chat. Xbox 360 games on Xbox One behave almost exactly like regular Xbox One games, so be sure to start sharing those clips!

The Future

As mentioned, Mike Ybarra from the Xbox platform team stated they hope to have a monthly release cadence for new backwards compatible titles. It'll ultimately depend on publishers and IP holders whether or not those games get included, but you can make your requests heard on the official Xbox One UserVoice page. Microsoft is also working to solve issues with games that are spread across multiple discs, such as Lost Odyssey and Mass Effects 2 and 3.

What backwards compatible Xbox 360 titles do you want to see in the coming months? I can see myself finishing the Mass Effect trilogy again before Andromeda hits next year.

If you think this guide is helpful, we have many more posts like this in our Xbox help, tips, and tricks page.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • Dumb question. Can you play online with people who are still playing on their 360 while you use the emulator on the One? Or is it only people on Xbox one that you can play with?
  • I believe you can play BC games with 360 players.
  • Yup.
  • You most certainly can.
  • Is it possible to choose either?
  • Its essentially running the Xbox 360 OS on your Xbox One, so when you fire up an Xbox 360 game you connect to the same live services as you would on your Xbox 360, So unless the game supports cross play you will only be playing with other Xbox 360 players playing the Xbox 360 version of the game wether they're on an Xbox 360 or an Xbox one.
  • I have the digital version of Rare Replay that I bought a few weeks ago. Everything was working, including Xbox 360 Banjoo & Kazoie games. Today there was an update to the Xbox 360 games. After downloading the update, it's asking me for the disc of the games when trying to start them. Since I bought the digital version of Rare Replay I don't have these. Anyone having the same problem ?
  • I'll have to check mine when I get home.  Do the tiles still have the "Rare Replay" banner, or did they revert to the standard Xbox 360 ones?
  • Maybe try redownloading.  I had weird issues with the game since I already owned some of them.  On my console it will show two versions, one having the Rare Replay banner.
  • Launched Perfect Dark Zero and it downloaded an update.  Works fine and was the digital copy.  Is it possible that they have to be launched outside of Rare Replay to get an update so they work properly?
  • Xbox Technical Support are on the ball were problems are concerned.
  • Same exact problem here. Tried redownloading no luck keeps asking me too insert disc.
  • Darn it...i believed an earlier article on another site that said Civilization Revolution was gonna be in the first batch...sigh... And I would actually prefer if 2k Studios re-released the Bioshock series enhanced for the XB1. Imagine the graphics of Rapture, Big Daddies and plasmids they could do in next gen :D
  • It was a fake list, shame really as it had loads of great games on the list. Hopefully they will be on the way.
  • Lol fm2,3,4,H would've been nice since the main titles have yet to appear digitally
  • Anyone got their bundled gears of war titles that came with the ultimate edition? Mine are currently not showing up.
  • They will start sending the codes December 1st.
  • Thanks bud
  • Also Skate 3, not listed but in banner pic
  • "Microsoft has already teased Halo Reach, Halo Wars, Skate 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Bioshock 1, 2 and Infinite for the second wave." -Right above that image.
  • So stoked for Skate 3, gonna Game DVR all the tricks. :D
  • I'd like to see Saint's Row (1, 2, and 3) added. I believe that they were listed on some initial leaks, but I'd ultimately like to see them get added officially.
  • People should vote for Splatterhouse. It was an awesome, awesome game that got run through the muck because, Namco refused to give reviewers advertising money. Fire Pro Wrestling while not anywhere near as great as FirePro Wrestling Returns would also be fun to play.
  • Got my Dirt 3 installing!
  • Snap. Had to go onto edge browser to get it. Bit of a long way round!
  • Yup. Same here.
  • Where is my 360 games on my Xbox one.... Y'all gave me my update big but not my 360 games
  • Not all of them are compatible. This post has everything you need to know.
  • Waiting for Halo Wars before HW 2 comes out.
  • I want all the Arcade (as in, 80's stand up arcade) games ported over... Tempest, Dig-Dug, Robotron, Stargate, Galaga, ... all the classics from Atari, Sega, Williams, etc.  I saw a few were in this first batch (Missle Command and Centipede), but I want them ALL!  
  • Will I be able to play BC 360 games that I no longer have the discs?
  • No.  But you will be able to buy them digitally and have them work or get used discs.  
  • & this is what is holding back 3rd party published titles. Acti being 1 who has removed games from 360 store in past & hasn't republished
  • If you didn't buy a digital copy back in the day, then you need the disc.
  • Thanks for the reply. That sucks for me. I traded all my old 360 games in at the MS store when they were running a special offer on trading in old games.
  • How does that suck for you? You got cash or credit for the games you got rid of...
  • Just been playing Dirt 3 on the xbone. Thank you Microsoft.
  • No Duke Nukem Forever? Lol. It was fun at first but I couldn't take down that flying airplane thing. Gave up.
  • Guess does not apply to these games downloading to xb1 clients
  • What's the point of having a website to vote on the games to be made backwards compatible, when most of them aren't even in the Backwards compatibility update?? You would think the 5 top voted would be made compatible by now.....
  • Im glad i have a 2TB HD on my collective minds media hub add-on to put all my games in. I Played Crazy Taxi today and snapped Pandora with a Offspring playlist...
  • Hi, I just want to ask that if I have disc then I only need to install the game right and not to download full game? , coz I live in India and we do not have very good internet to download entire game.
    P.S : I have read the article but had a doubt. Thanks
  • Meh, only 6 or my 30 or so games are on that list, 2 of them being the Lego games
  • All we need is Too Human. But it will never happen. I'm so sad :(
  • I was not able to install South Park The Stick of Truth from disc, system said the game is not compatible. Most of the digital stuff installed fine. Except Lode Runner was not listed at all, got that free from somewhere so I don't mind. I also noticed on that I don't own Doom II anymore...I'm 100% sure I've bought it and completed 200/200 Gamerscore...has there been some legal problems with Doom II ? Well doesn't really matter, I'm just curious. South Park I wish would work...never got around to play it that much.
  • Crackdown please, be good to play through the original again before the next gen version drops!
  • Installed Gears of war 3. Was planning to play horde with some friends who are still playing it on the 360. Couldn't even connect to party chat with them. Don't know if I did something wrong or something's not working right.
  • Glad Gears of War 3 on this list - best ever 360 game for me.  BUT, the fact it's running on an emulator gives me pause.  Would that possibly introduce lag when I'm playing against 360 players I wonder?
  • Downloaded Dirt3 and it works, but framerate drops to 10/sec every 30 seconds...its just me?
  • No fighting games, no Batman Arkham Games? NO Resident Evil games?Yet you give us Bullshit titles like Banjo Kazoie, Ms.Splosion Man and earth worm Jim. COME ON GIVE US THE BIG NAME GAMES, THE GAMES THAT WE REALLY WANT! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I agree 110% stupid games where is Red Dead Redemption ,GTA V ,Assassins creed Black flag,foreza 4  seems all the story driven games were excluded and what about the older madden tittles they were better then the new ones.Xbox only told half truth sure YOU XBOX 360 GAMES ARE BACKSWARD COMPATABLE  and in tiny tiny print (only if we make them that way on and their on our exclusive list ) in truth its ONLY A SELECT FEW  XBOX 360 GAMES WILL WORK ON XBOX ONE.
  • So it says that Call of Duty Black Ops is available on backwards compatibility but when I go to put the disc in it say not available check for a list of games. Am I supposed to do something before I can play a disc version?
  • its not out yet sorry :(
  • We got Skate 3 for xbox 360 and it won't work on the xbox one.  Ideas?