Xbox Platform lead explains complexities of backward compatible releases

Xbox 360 games on Xbox One
Xbox 360 games on Xbox One (Image credit: Microsoft)

Ever since backward compatibility was revealed for Xbox One, and thus the steady trickle of games coming to the program started, there has been a constant call for Microsoft to expedite the addition of some of the more popular games from the Xbox 360 era (looking at you, Black Ops II). And while it may seem like Microsoft is dragging its feet at times, the truth is it's a very complicated process with lots of variables involved. In a post on Twitter, Bill Stillwell from the Xbox Platform team has given fans a somewhat detailed look into the process of ushering a game to the backward compatible program in an attempt to give some more insight and assuage fears that some games have been forgotten.

You can check out Stillwell's post on Twitter, and we've reproduced the full, lengthy text below:

Twitter is a great medium, but often hard to use to properly answer a complex topic. Lately, there has been another surge in the "We want BOII!!!" tweets. With lots of continued angst and concern over why there is no answer. Combined with the lull in releases for BC overall, I wanted to give more context directly, hence this "wordy" reply.First, it is important to remember that BC releases have always ebbed and flowed. Just like the industry, some months are loaded, and others are pretty light. We are still 100% committed to the program. I expect big releases in the near future. But unlike the holiday season, big bi-weekly releases of titles are unlikely to happen each and every month.Yes, I know the upcoming titles, what issues we have with each one (technical or not), and the runway before they launch. I'm still very confident in this year's plan, and that we'll see happy customers in the future. Beyond that, it is not my place to communicate those plans. Especially when it involves someone else's IP.Releasing a big/popular game, even as a rerelease into the BC program, is a heavily orchestrated event. Publishers often have target dates that coincide With other initiatives, such as sales, or related titles, and they want to maximize the release. We also have long term business relationships, and want them to continue to deliver great news games to the console for many years. It makes no sense to jeopardize that business relationship for a short-term boost.Additionally, I can't understate the complexity Of the non-technical part Of this. We are in some cases reviewing licensing agreements that are a decade old, evaluating the impact of new technology on those agreements, and then negotiating with a host of Other parties for terms to get renewed/changed. This is not a quick process most times.Finally, I do appreciate the well-wishers. I also have no problem with the continued asks. We've been doing this for over a year and half, and it's been a constant stream of "Where's RDR...Black Ops...Skate 3...BOII...and so on." And if and when Black Ops II ships, I'm sure there will be another title to take that crown. We even have a pool internally! This is all goodness. I have said many times that I'd much rather work on a project with passionate fans, even if it trends to the annoying at times, than work on something no one cares about. The day no one is clamoring for a game is the day this program is no longer of value!I'm not going to tell you when BOII is coming. Or Fable, or Halo, or any other game not yet released. I'm not going to tell you that a title is in or out, as those are confidential publisher decisions I am not authorized to reveal. I will just say that we in the program want these games out as much as you do, and are working hard to make them happen. I'd prefer that the entire 360 catalog was already running on the Xbox One With no exceptions. And this team Will continue to move towards making that a reality as long as we can.

And there you have it. The explanation is unlikely to satisfy anyone aching to jump back into Black Ops II right away in the short term, but it's good to have a small window into an enormously complex process. While some high profile titles have yet to hit the program, the full catalog has grown quite a bit since launch, now totaling more then 300 games. For the full rundown, check out our comprehensive list of backward compatible games.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl