No more Xbox backward compatible games planned due to legal and technical constraints

Xbox One Backward Compatibility
Xbox One Backward Compatibility (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has updated its Xbox backward compatibility list today with over 70 titles.
  • Backward compatibility now supports hundreds of old games from previous Xbox generations.
  • The latest wave of titles marks the end of the program, with Microsoft citing various "licensing, legal, and technical constraints."

Microsoft has celebrated 20 years of Xbox with a live show that gave fans plenty of surprises and an ending that fans won't forget. The live show also brought over 70 new games to the backward compatible library, spanning games from the original Xbox and Xbox 360 era.

Unfortunately, it seems that these will be the last time we will get backward compatible titles, at least according to the latest press release (opens in new tab) issued by Microsoft.

"While we continue to stay focused on preserving and enhancing the art form of games, we have reached the limit of our ability to bring new games to the catalog from the past due to licensing, legal and technical constraints," stated Peggy Lo, Xbox compatibility program lead. "Thank you for being part of this journey with us."

The unfortunate news might dishearten fans, which could be expecting more backward compatible titles in the future. It could mean that underrated games will remain a relic of the former generation, never to make it to the latest Xbox consoles.

The announcement explains the long absence of the program. While Microsoft could revisit its decision in the future, for now you'll need to enjoy the 70+ games added in today's announcement.

Rizwan Anwer
  • Doubt it was techical, there were plenty of games in series that worked, where the later ones are not backwards compatible (Atari, Namco, Konami, Capcom, Williams) etc. Its more of a licensing issue. Where they have to release multiple versions every generation, forcing people to rebuy games, each time. later
  • Licensing was also mentioned as one of the reasons.
  • After thinking about it some more, the most likely technical issue getting in the way is the games that use specialised controllers - most notably the Kinect v1 (though it would also include the likes of the Guitar Hero/Rock Band controllers among others).
  • That's too bad. But they did good work and I appreciate everything they did to try to bring past generations of games forward on consoles.
  • Truly appreciate the Xbox division's efforts to bring the classics as well as many others to new generations of gamers. With XCloud, they have also brought these games to new audiences too. The individuals and companies holding out preventing other games coming to backwards compatiblity.(licensing / legal constraints) are really foregoing alot of free cash. In regards to the other aspect - technicaI constraints I suspect the bean counters are squeezing hard. As Microsoft can easily emulate many more games with or without the source code. But without being able to allocate resources it would be a impossible endeavor.
  • I think the technical side of it is more to do with the games that use specialised controllers (Kinect v1, Guitar Hero/Rock Band series, etc).
  • Disappointed, while I do understand the reasoning. I wish they could have done Blood Wake and Lollipop Chainsaw before shutting down. Oh well lots of good games were added if this was the last drop.
  • Backwards compatibility is one great thing about PC gaming. It would be nice if a gaming PC were as cheap as an Xbox.
  • And remember: even PC struggles to keep backward compatibility as time goes on and new technologies and architectures break the old ones.
    So yes, even though it's a gray solution, emulation (and inevitably, solutions that are technically piracy) led by the community must be protected at all costs.
  • Please make xbox 360 game playable during console streaming please!!? I cannot play my Ilomilo via console streaming Xbox One!
  • Now that they are being successful with game pass they don't need to ride the pr of bc
  • Honestly I got everything I wanted except for Eternal Sonata which is a bummer but you can't win them all. I'm pretty happy. I don't really go back to play older games anymore anyway. I've been working through them since they added back compat.
  • Don’t put your hopes and trust in game preservation and b.c. with companies.
    PC remains the best platform for backwards compatibility and retro games via emulation.