Xbox 360 Backward Compatibility

Can You Play Original Xbox Games on the Xbox 360?

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 9: The Microsoft XBOX 360 is seen at the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center January 9, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada
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The Xbox 360 is backward compatible with certain games that were released for the original Xbox. The BC list has not been updated for quite some time, but there are more than 400 titles that cover most of the big name games.

Besides it being really convenient to be able to play both Xbox and Xbox 360 games on one system, playing Xbox games on your 360 has other benefits. Each and every compatible Xbox game will be upped to 720p/1080i resolution (assuming you have an HDTV) and will take advantage of full-screen anti-aliasing.

Note: The "Xbox One" is not the original Xbox. What's mentioned below is about the original 2001-2005 Xbox console games that work on the Xbox 360, not whether or not you can play Xbox 360 games on Xbox One.

Which Xbox Games Work on Xbox 360?

Halo, Halo 2, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Psychonauts and Ninja Gaiden Black are just some of the Xbox games you can play on Xbox 360.  There are several others to choose from as well.

More Information on Backward Compatibility

One requirement for backward compatibility to work is that a hard drive is needed, which means that the 4 GB Xbox 360 slim does not work for BC unless you put a hard drive in it.

It also have to be sure you're using an official Microsoft-brand Xbox 360 hard drive. Third-party drives you may find for cheaper on eBay do not have the necessary partitions to allow for backward compatibility.

The way the backward compatibility software is updated on your system is as simple as putting a backward compatible Xbox game into your Xbox 360; the update will download from Xbox Live automatically. However, you can also trigger the update manually if the game isn't working.

Game saves from the original Xbox can not be transferred to the Xbox 360. Also, you can't play original Xbox games online because Xbox Live has been discontinued for those original games.

Backward compatible original Xbox games don't always work or look appreciably better when played on Xbox 360. Some have new glitches, graphical problems, framerate issues or other things that degrade the quality of the gameplay and that weren't seen with the original Xbox.

For this reason, I recommend you buy an original Xbox console if you really want to play older Xbox games. The performance will be a lot more consistent. The OG Xbox controller is also laid out quite a bit differently from the X360 controller, so playing the games with the controller they were actually designed for will be a lot easier and more enjoyable.

Backward compatibility is a nice consumer friendly bullet point, but when it doesn't work natively the results aren't always as good as you'd hope.