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Microsoft: Preserving classic games is 'more important than ever'

Xbox Series X Controller on Xbox One
Xbox Series X Controller on Xbox One (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The Xbox Twitter account recently discussed classic games and gaming icons.
  • The Xbox team says that it's "more important than ever" to preserve games.
  • Microsoft recently announced backward compatible games for Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Microsoft has shown a commitment to classic gaming for years. With backward compatibility spanning across multiple Xbox generations, people can play new and classic games side-by-side on the Xbox platform. The official Xbox Twitter handle recently discussed the importance of preserving gaming icons and classic games for "new and old players alike."

The tweet from Xbox is polite and doesn't call anyone out specifically, but its timing is quite convenient. While Microsoft recently announced backward compatible games for Xbox Cloud Gaming, Sony announced the end of the PlayStation 3 store and Nintendo killed off Mario, or at least the availability of Super Mario 3D All-Stars.

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The Xbox team's words about preserving classics aren't lip service. Xbox FPS Boost makes several older titles able to run at higher framerates on the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. Many of the best backward compatible games bring iconic titles to modern hardware.

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

19 Comments
  • Is the author serious? Microsoft is the king of consumer abandonment. - People that had digital content for the original Xbox can't download their content since 2010.
    - People that were stupid enough to buy digital games via Games for Windows were shafted back in 2014, most people on that service can't get their games on PC.
    - Microsoft has been shutting down the availability of Xbox 360 content as well, try purchasing Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 4, Halo 3, Halo 3 ODST, etc. The only way to purchase these is through new OS or hardware but if you have the original Xbox 360 or you want the old copy on Xbox, you can't... you have to upgrade to new hardware/OS to buy the new package. When in comes to consumer products, Microsoft is all lip service. What Microsoft is doing is forcing upgrades, by removing Xbox 360 content and only making it available for new hardware or OS. If they really believe that, why did they start removing Xbox 360 context 4 months ago?
  • For good or bad, Microsoft is comprised of various teams. Some teams have been good at persevering and long-term support and some have not. Maybe they're too siloed, but with respect to long-term playability of older games (excepting those that rely on Kinect, but even those worked through the last Xbox One X), they are without peer in the length of support, far better than anyone else. Is every game available via Backward Compatibility? No, but as a percent of total old games, far more than anyone else is doing. Also, I would not define support as (or expect to see MS) continuing to sell old games or providing back-end services for aging, little-played games. The metric that defines support, at least for me, is that for those who already bought a game, they can keep playing that already-purchased game as they move to newer hardware, so they don't have to keep an Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X all in their entertainment system to play games that came out during each generation. Microsoft is doing great at this.
  • Well, I think there are two discussions now... 1.) preserving game (whatever that may mean) and 2.) support. I would say in the PC world as far software or games distribution Microsoft historical might be the worst that has ever existed. One could have bought Halo 2 PC in 2013, and by 2014 the game was no longer accessible even for download. The original Xbox was very similar, they not only shut down the Xbox Live integration but the ability to download the freaking game and content. "The metric that defines support, at least for me, is that for those who already bought a game, they can keep playing that already-purchased game as they move to newer hardware, so they don't have to keep an Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X all in their entertainment system to play games that came out during each generation. Microsoft is doing great at this." I disagree, an example is Games for Windows Live... instead making a good product... they abandoned the service, started yet another steaming POS i.e. Microsoft Store. Those people that bought games and the publishers/devs were instantly shafted by MS. What MS is doing now is trying to force upgrades or subscribe to a service to play the games by removing MS specific games. The original purchase might work, but they want you to upgrade and pay for the software again which is why Xbox 360 Halo games were removed. The author brings up the PS3 but really MS is doing the same thing on a selective basis i.e. removing Halo games from the Xbox 360 store.
  • Online services are ephemeral. I don't think anyone should have an expectation of continuity in a service that involves a recurring fee. That's very different from buying something (physical or digital download). This is because the business ethics are: if we stop charging the fees, then we have no obligation to extend the service.
  • Yes, that is the reality of modern life.... services (many times not needed ones or forced) that are eventually shutdown that makes your purchase either non- functional or diminished in many regards. My only comments was that Microsoft talking bullshit again, all they do is talk when it comes to consumer stuff. Three months ago they started moving Microsoft games out of the Xbox 360 marketplace, a month ago they tried to raise the price of Xbox Live Gold to $120 a year more or less. They are trying to get everyone to upgrade... either hardware (Xbox 360 -> Xbox Series X/S, and from Xbox Live Gold -> Game Pass). F them, personally done with Microsoft consumer products... I do still play my Xbox 360. I have no idea how they have any customers left.
  • The only consumer aspects of Microsoft is Xbox and their gaming initiatives, and Surface. As far as the bullshit you refer to: Raising the price of Xbox Live Gold from 99/year to 120/year was of course bad news, but it was nothing more than an idea for a day to subsidize Game Pass so it could continue to grow without a price hike of its own. The price of Game Pass will most definitely raise in the future, maybe it will even one day be as expensive as premium Netflix. Old consoles do get sunset, but as long as the game libraries are still available to play on new hardware, or for purchase on new hardware, then no one but the most bitter and poor people will care. It would be different if Xbox 360 games were simply not playable on current systems, or if the libraries were taken offline as with the PS3.
  • Actually they raised (or tried) it (XLG) from$60 to $120, a person with a Xbox 360 has no use for GP. Its a forced upgrade, or attempt. "but as long as the game libraries are still available to play on new hardware" But huge chunks of MS library isn't playable on new hardware, matter of fact, if you go to buy it... you can't. Same thing as everyone else is doing. I'm not sure where this artificial standard of playing on "new hardware" came from. They are saying they are preserving (games) but no they are not... at some point these games will not be playable on local hardware... its just a matter of when. " It would be different if Xbox 360 games were simply not playable on current systems, or if the libraries were taken offline as with the PS3." As far as I know PS3, PSP, and PSV titles will be downloadable for the time being by people that bought games on the original hardware. So, you expect PSP and PSV titles to be playable on what the PS5? Where do I play my original Xbox titles on, or what GFWL games, or window phone games? Oh, same thing. I agree in part, but that is not what MS is saying. They are doing same as every other hardware manufacturer but trying to act like they are different. I see nothing wrong with sun-setting things... but just don't tell me they're not. First, they discontinue the Xbox 360 Halo titles for download, they then sunset the service for online for those titles, then they up the cost of XBLG from 60 to 120 (failed attempt). So, if you have have Xbox especially a Xbox 360 it doesn't make sense to pursue your friends to get the original title.... you force everyone to upgrade the game, the hardware and the service.... for $$$$$. Preserving games, I don't think so. Forcing upgrades yes. Basically, what MS is saying doesn't make much sense.... its even confusing to even get at this whole "preserving games".... bad marketing yet again for MS.
  • Updating your OS seems like a pretty trivial requirement?
  • Preserving old games doesn't have to mean maintaining dead services, or aging consoles, or keeping online services running indefinitely. The concept of game preservation is about the ability to play and purchase a developer's artistic creation years or decades after it was released. Having all Halo games in their best state available in 2021 for purchase is far better than new purchases being cut off entirely like Sony has done with most the libraries of PS3, and their portable consoles. The fact people can play their old games on a new Xbox is literally game preservation. It's absurd to expect the Xbox 360 or PS3 to be a functional storefront forever, but it doesn't matter if the gaming content has been carried forward to modern supported platforms, or even expanded to places no one expected like on mobile.
  • For the record.
    NES~PS4/5 + PC : Native Execution.
    Xbox since 2016, is Hyper-V & Virtual Machine. HV&VM is the foundation of BC/FC, QuickResume and xCloud tbh. And Xbox has XPA under its disposal. XPA-on-the-go during flights, on your Alienware, Surface or Aya Neo is possible. And if you have a good connection, xCloud-on-the-go is also available.
  • The PC platform is the best at backwards compatibility. Oftentimes you have to tinker a bit.
  • Pretty much... PC and Steam. I don't think the average Nintendo player gives a crap.
  • As a Nintendo player, I give a massive crap that every Nintendo game and digital purchase and virtual console game I bought on earlier systems is not available on my modern console. It makes a person see Nintendo as not appreciating their own heritage or my investment in their platform. It requires me to hold onto my old systems and prevents me from experiencing simple enhancements that modern tech like upscaling or ML could bring to the table.
  • No, you don't care as you keep buying it. The average Nintendo consumer doesn't appear to be phased at all. If MS actually believed this... they wouldn't be shutting down there own games, shutting down access to stores (original Xbox games/content back in 2010, Games for Windows games, and soon windows phone software). This whole preserving things makes no sense and appears to be another stupid PR thing as I see the same article (more or less) all over the webs.
  • Like Adamaii said. Preserving old games doesn't have to mean maintaining dead services, or aging consoles, or keeping online services running indefinitely. Also, Xbox before 2016 == native execution, xbox after 206 is Virtual Machine. Different era, different approach / tech / mindset / leadership / business model.
  • Beg to differ. I think some of my Steam game stopped working a while ago. There was one from Sega, forgot the name, it's a classic collection. PC still executes games natively (same as Sony and Nintendo consoles).
    Windows has great API BC support but logically, games will stop working eventually (cus it's native), unless, if such game is a game-as-a-service + big user pool, so devs will keep adapting latest hardware & API. * and it's even more fragile if you are using 3rd party SDK or API. Native Execution is vulnerable to hardware architecture & software API changes. Launching a xboxOG game on a One/Series console, that OG game won't know it's executed on a One/Series hardware nor OS. Launching a PS4 games on PS5... game will know it's on a PS5 hardware and OS (that is why from now on, Sony has to keep buying Ps4/5/6/7 core and keep testing games on new HW, OS and API). ps: Hyper-V and Virtual Machine is the foundation of Xbox's BC/FC, Quick Resume and xCloud.
  • Look what Microsoft Xbox is doing now is wonderful. Especially you look at how many years from OG to Xbox series X, 360 technology was different from from OG Xbox. Plus it takes money and resources to keeps servers up and running. Even with Playstation I understand they had to shut down the Vita and PS3 but i wish they would take maybe too 25 to 50 games and a find away to download them from the new store. Or play them on ps5 in all there blocky glory. What Microsoft is doing now is wonderful and I appreciate it, they can't make up from past failure if we don't appreciate what they doing in the present.
  • "We will feed you whatever we think you will buy to make us money." end of story
  • They should do something about ATARI... No not the old system and games but their more recent and last titles they no longer have available *cough*Riddick*cough* 👀