Backwards compatibility is one sweet little feature to have in consoles. The ability to play classic games from your dusty library brings back a lot of good memories and entertainment. When Sony ditched the feature after in the middle of the PS3’s generation lifespan, Microsoft took the opportunity to add this feature on Xbox One – and now expanding their backwards compat support down to the Original Xbox.
However, while Microsoft thinks that one of the major selling factor of the Xbox One is the backwards compatibility, some say that only a small fraction of Xbox One users took advantage of that feature based from a third-party API that tracks Xbox One users who registered on their site. But Phil Spencer responded that it’s a feature highly used by their consumers.
According to Xbox General Manager Dave McCarthy in an interview with CGM, backwards compatibility is one of the highest requested feature to have on their console – especially the OG Xbox backwards compatibility. They also consider that games is also as meaningful like other forms of entertainment.
“It’s due to a few reasons. One is that we have this philosophical belief that games as an entertainment format provide just as meaningful an aura in people’s lives as favourite music, movies, and books. Gaming is the only [industry] that I can think of where we really can’t bring forth those things easily all the time. So for us, as a leadership team, we were really pushing the idea of, “Hey, this format means more than movies, music, and books to some people out there right?”, so being able to bring it across the generations felt like a big deal for us.
We also listen a lot to our users. Not just through our social channels; we have something called “Xbox users feedback request form”. We actually prioritize our fan’s request to the engineering team. OG Xbox support was always near at the top of that list. I think there are games that define a point in person’s life. I remember I played on the OG Xbox with my son when I was working in Electronic arts and I was executive producer for NHL Hockey. I was introducing it to him for the first time. I have this photo still of us playing on the OG Xbox. He’s sitting in my lap, I’ve got a controller, he’s got a controller (his controller is of course unplugged, but in his mind he’s playing brilliantly). It’s those emotional connections for people which is why I think they’re always asking for those things in the system.“