The Xbox One could offer backwards compatibility through its Azure cloud servers someday, Microsoft senior director Albert Penello said.
In an interview with Gamespot, Penello said that the cloud offers a number of functions, but that the company hasn't decided on what to use it for.
"That's one of the things that makes [the cloud] at the same time both totally interesting and hard to describe to people. Because what the cloud can do is sort of hard to pin," Penello said when asked if backwards compatiblity was possible through streaming. "When you say to the customer, we want the box to be connected, we want developers to know that the cloud is there. We're really not trying to make up some phony thing."
Sony is also exploring the possibility of backwards compatibility on the PlayStation 4 through streaming with Gakai, although neither system will support it it initially. However, Sony has suggested that it plans to use Gakai to make legacy content available on the PS4 eventually.
The Xbox 360 was backward compatible with nearly 500 original Xbox games, but the announcement that its successor would not support 360 games was a deal-breaker for some potential buyers. But there is a bit of a silver lining in the midst of the Xbox One's lack of backwards compatibility: Wednesday, Microsoft confirmed that it would continue to support the Xbox 360 for three more years, with over 100 new games set to be released before then.
Much has been made of the Xbox One's price tag, which is $100 more than its competitor. Other than the Kinect, which Microsoft has said won't be required for full functionality, there hasn't been much to justify the difference in price. But Penello insists that the Xbox One is worth the extra cash.
"It's up to us to prove that it's worth $100 more. I think it is. I think we do more. I think our games are better," Penello said "I think as people start to experience Kinect and see what it can do using voice, I think that's better. I think the ability to have an all-in-one system where you can plug in the TV, that's better. I think we'll have a better online service."
Penello added, "I just believe that we're going to have a better system. $100, when you're talking $400 vs. $500. I don't believe it's going to be the deal-killer."