Xbox 360 to Xbox One Backward Compatibility FAQ

How does Backward Compatibility Work on Xbox One?

BC Games
BC Games. Microsoft

Microsoft dropped a bombshell at its E3 2015 press conference with the announcement that backward compatibility with Xbox 360 was coming to Xbox One later in 2015. We have all of the details on how it works and what games you can play right here.

Discs and Digital Games Both Work

First off backward compatibility on Xbox One works with both discs and digital games including XBLA. It will is free, of course, since you already own the game. Inserting a compatible Xbox 360 game into your Xbox One prompts the system to download a copy of it. Unfortunately, you will still need to have the disc in the drive to play it. 

Compatible digital games you already own will simply be added to your games list on Xbox One and you'll be able to download them to your Xbox One at your leisure. Previously, you could not actually buy Xbox 360 games on Xbox One, but a Spring 2016 update will change that.

How Does BC Work on Xbox One?

It is important to also note that Microsoft stated that the games will run natively on Xbox One. It isn't a streaming solution like Sony's PlayStation Now. It also isn't software emulation like OG Xbox games on Xbox 360 that required a lot of extra effort to get them running. 

Microsoft says that it's platform engineers actually created a virtual Xbox 360 via software that runs on the Xbox One. When you want to play an Xbox 360 game on Xbox One, the system will first load the virtual Xbox 360 system, and then load the game. The Xbox 360 dashboard, guide, and everything else will function like you're playing on a physical Xbox 360. It's pretty crazy, really. Since it is running on Xbox One, you can also snap an app to the side or use other XONE features like "Xbox Record That" or taking screenshots while you're playing the X360 game. The Xbox One's scaler will also scale every game up to 1080p. The games can potentially also load faster on XONE than they did on X360, which is another benefit. 

Simply put, the games will just work. Microsoft says there isn't any extra work required of developers to make the games work on Xbox One, they just need permission from game publishers to re-distribute the games. That is a key point, however, because while backward compatibility like this is great for gamers, it isn't so great for game publishers. Why let people play their X360 version of your games for free when you can make an HD remaster and make them pay for it all over again? It will be interesting to see which games actually get approved for backward compatibility.

What Xbox 360 Games Can I Play on Xbox One?

Microsoft made an initially fairly conservative "100 games available this Fall with hundreds more on the way" statement at E3 2015, but the longterm success of the program depends on how publishers react to the news. So far it has been positive with 360 versions of games being added to the service alongside new Xbox One sequels, which allows players to experience multiple games in a franchise on one machine. Initially, games were added to BC in batches once every couple of months, but that was changed so that new titles were activated as soon as they were ready, which has greatly increased the tempo of games being added.  

You can see the full list of 130+ games (and growing) right here. Full List of X360 Games You Can Play On Xbox One

See details on Rare Replay, also announced at E3 2015.