Xbox One Backwards Compatible With Xbox 360, Will Play Natively With Full Functionality

Microsoft had its first “mic drop” moment early during its Xbox E3 showcase when it announced the ability to play Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One. This is the kind of bullet the Xbox One needed as the console war with the PlayStation 4 heats up, and last-gen owners begin moving to the current-gen consoles.

The Xbox One will support Xbox 360 games natively, with more than 100 titles available when the feature launches this holiday. Preview program members will be able to get their first taste this summer.

So what does native support mean? Developers will just need to approve titles for play on the Xbox One. Disk-based titles will be playable along with games downloaded digitally, which will show up automatically on the new console.

Xbox 360 games will not only be playable in single-player, but multiplayer will be supported, as well, through Xbox LIVE. Additionally, the Xbox One unique features will work with the older games, as well. That means players will be able to take advantage of game broadcasting via the Twitch app, record gameplay through the GameDVR, and take screenshots. Microsoft couldn’t help but get a little shot in at Sony and the PlayStation 4 as they made sure to mention that Xbox 360 owners will be able to play their games on the Xbox One at no extra charge. This is a shot at the PlayStation Now service, which currently streams PlayStation 3 titles to the PS4 and other Sony devices. Players can sign up for a subscription service for $19.99 a month for unlimited streaming or pay to rent streams individually.

There is currently no hint that Sony will offer backwards compatibility between the PS3 and PS4. We’ll have to wait until Sony holds its press conference later this evening.

In the meantime, the backward compatibility announcement has received the biggest applause from the audience in attendance at E3 so far. This kind of support of gamers is necessary to win over gamers who have yet to make the transition to new generation of consoles. Microsoft’s biggest struggle this generation is in the European market, though, as IHS analyst Piers Harding-Rolls noted in a pre-E3 press release email. It’s not one where the Xbox 360 was dominating to begin with, though, so we’ll have to wait and see how it helps.

[Images via Xbox]

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