Microsoft Makes Xbox 360 Backwards Compatible, Sort Of, For $100

from the um-almost dept

One question hanging over the impending launch of the new Xbox 360 video-game console was whether or not it would be compatible with games from the previous Xbox model. Microsoft’s released a list of more than 200 old games that will run on the new machine — as long as users buy the optional hard drive and download an emulator. While some game companies would love to try to force copies of games to be locked to one console, moves like this to make the machines less useful could have a significant impact on their sales. Sony’s PlayStation 2 broke the mold by being compatible with games from its previous system; gamers these days see that backwards compatibility as a requirement, not a bonus feature.

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Comments on “Microsoft Makes Xbox 360 Backwards Compatible, Sort Of, For $100”

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Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Not to defend Microsoft, but…

This isn’t a case where they deliberately set out to cripple the experience for the consumer. They’ve completely redesigned the architecture of their console, and I’m sure backwards compatibility was not a simple thing to accomplish. Complete backward compatibility would have required a hard drive in every console, meaning that the lower priced model could not even have been offered.

It’s still annoying, but not SONY-type evil.

Patrick Ibison says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

Sony is Sony. They spend big bucks to market these different departments as one brand- and I hold them to it. I will not be spending another dime with Sony until they get their composite sh!t together. It scary when I go with Microsoft because of their less-detestible moral stance, but Sony crossed the line.

acousticiris (user link) says:

It's a requirement for me ...

I have one of those somewhat-cheep HDTVs … Unfortunately, I have inputs left for only *one* console gaming device…

I love my XBOX and the 20 games I own (ok…license). So do I buy this next generation system that costs too much with a bunch of games to replace the ones I already enjoy (because all but two are on the compatible list)… or do I continue to play the games I already own.

I’ll probably purchase the XBOX 360 when XBOX Vista begins to be hyped.
Assuming the 360 doesn’t go the way of Sega’s “Next Generation Console”, I’m guessing in a couple of years E-Bay will have them around $50 bucks including the hard drive and 25 games.
If I guess wrong, oh well, it’s still just a *game system*!

al912912 says:

Re: It's a requirement for me ...

So do I buy this next generation system that costs too much with a bunch of games to replace the ones I already enjoy (because all but two are on the compatible list)… or do I continue to play the games I already own.

Then why did you get an XBox anyway? We all loved Punch Out, or Mario Kart, or Mortal Kombat I or Mario 64, and I still do have fun playing Tetris in my calculator.

Jamie says:

Hardware platform

Making the device backwards compatible was not a trivial thing to do. This isn’t a case where the new machine is an upgrade to the old one. They have completely swapped out the architecture of the machine. So anything that they want to run, that wasn’t native to the new architecture would need to use an emulator.

Stoned4Life (user link) says:

Re: Re: Hardware platform

Umm, is anyone forgetting that they ALREADY own an Xbox?? What? Just because the Xbox 360 is coming out doesn’t mean you have to throw your old xbox away. Last time I checked, the controllers are still the same as well as the video inputs. Just sit your xbox’s side by side, and when you feel like playing an old game, swap the controller, the adapter in the back, and video inputs. Bam!! You’re back on your old games. What was so hard about that? I have my SNES, N64, and Gamecube lined up, and I just start swapping cables whenever I feel like playing something.

h------ says:

Re: No Subject Given

400 dollars for a system that still doesn’t include the over 1000 features my computer has? Waste of money if you ask me….
Secondly, WHY does the customer care how much work was put into the system. All we care is whether we enjoy it OURSELVES. Thus, don’t bother backing up Microsoft with “Its completely redesigned…” because regardless – if the system doesn’t have what we want, its worthless.

c'mon! says:

Re: Re: umm yea h-------

how can u compare a game consoles price to a computer? yes computers do more things but if i want a computer just to play games i have to pay $1,000 at least and for a bad one. i am happy to pay $400 on a gaming system instead of $1,000 plus on a computer which does the same thing and then some other things as well

Thomas Crummett (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: umm yea h-------

dont go buying alienware laptops
you should be fine with ANY game if you spend the same cash

hell… i payed 150$ for my comp, and a 100$ vid card (250 total), and it runs doom 3 med res 800×600 around 60 FPS

now i could understand if your one of those people who has to run doom 3 very high 16×12, then yeah… your need for extreme detail and excess graphics could run you about 1000, but still could easily do it with 1000$

Chode O Reilly says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

Wow, that is the stupidest and most ignorant comment I have ever seen in my life. Do you not realize that a top of the line graphics card for your PC will cost you atleast $500. Not to mention the xbox graphics card will spank any card on the market now. Oh yeah, and I did I mention, the tricore processor, which beats any processor you can find. I think its well worth the $400 and the money Microsoft is losing to put them out right now. If I were you, I’d rent a gun, buy some bullets, and proceed to commit suicide.

Tony says:

Re: Re: Re: No Subject Given

Ok, that reasoning pans out when the 360 is brand new and computers are *barely* behind in processing power. But two years from now, the graphics on almost every new computer on the market will be slapping your sorry 360 into last week. As any true gamer worth their salt will tell you, you need the best hardware to run the best games. That’s why PC’s will always have their place. Hell, the 360 is basically an un-upgradable PC in a cramped box. With a PC, you can spread out your $400 investment over a few years, and some of your PC components (monitor, keyboard, sound card, case, mouse) will last you two or three console cycles. That leaves you the entire $400 to upgrade only the core of the computer. And finally, PC’s ALWAYS have backwards compatability. When you think about it that way, that $400 “deal” doesn’t seem like such a good deal anymore…

Chode O Reilly says:

Re: Re: Re:2 No Subject Given

I wouldnt say barely. When a tricore does come out for the PC how much are you going to have to pay for it? A lot more than the whole XBOX system. How about a video card, which you are going to have to update drivers constantly? That’s going to run you about $500, not to mention buying a HD and a mobo and RAM. Wow, looks like the $400 to spank the PC’s is well worth it. Either way, when you have to upgrade your PC, you are going to have to spend so much money anyways. Its just a matter of how you look at it. Upgrading to the 360 is like upgrading your PC, but for about 1/3 of the price. Either way you are going to have to eventually upgrade, so why not take the 360?

Billy says:

Re: Re: Re:2 No Subject Given

Thats a very good point. I built my computer close to 3 years ago for around $650 and in that 3 years i have only upgraded the amount of stickers on it, and changed from a gray DVD-ROM to a black DVD-RW. yeah it may be around $500 for the “top of the line” card of the time, but that “top of the line” and the average $300ish card now will still be a damn good card 3-5 years in the future (assuming its not an ATI =P). My computer is still very well equipped for today’s latest games, and will continue to be for about another year or so. The backwards compatibility of the 360 should have been taken into consideration earlier, and not shoved to the side just to widen the gap of release dates from the PS3. They’re right, the customer won’t care how difficult it is to do it. they’ll show their “sympathy” by deciding to buy it or not.
oh and btw PCs aren’t entirely backwards compatable =(, mine gets angry whenever i try to load a came designed for windows 3.1x and sometimes 95 =/

Jeremy says:

Re: Re: Re:5 No Subject Given

I bought a computer about 4 years ago and put $1000 into the computer, 1gig with a 32mb video. Decent in its time, and I just upgraded it this year, $100 for 128 video, $90 for a motherboard, a $130 for a 2.4 processor, and about 60 for 512 ram. So it doesn’t take much to upgrade a computer if you do it yourself. I can because I’m a tech.
COST: $380

Korriken says:

Re: Re: Re:5 No Subject Given

People put too much praise into graphics. sure, the xbox 360 and ps3 are gonna look GREAT! even im semi-impressed with the graphics. but my computer can play games that are just as good, if not better, on the internet. sure, they’re not as graphically intense as most people would like them to be. BUT, graphics ain’t everything. just because a game has great graphics doesn’t make it a great game. There’s a lot i don’t understand about people. like how they can worship the Halo series, despite it being a FPS in a sea of FPS for the xbox. I wanna see some innovation! Nintendo delivers the innovations. but of course microsoft knows what sells and markets it… aggressivly. although the new Nintendo controller DOES make me curious as to how its gonna work. its just like the DS’s 2 screens. that made me ponder for a while on how that would work. now we know.

William Ahern says:

Re: I call BullSh*t

i love the comparisons to the PC. As if we aren’t aware that, 5 years from now when you want to play the latest and greatest 360 games all you need to do is buy the game and not a new video card and more RAM just to get that thing at decent playable resolution/framerate. Oh, and did I mention driver updates?
Please. How much $ did you spend going to see one movie? Admission, popcorn and whatever (did you cheap ass bring a date? hmm… gamers on a date…) Now calculate the cost of that experience by dollars spent per hour. I guarantee you spend less, over time, per hour playing video games (including the cost of the hard drive and peripherals)

Matt says:

I don't get it....

If you want the system to be backwards compatible, that means you own the previous systems games. This would imply you also own the older system (in this case, xbox). Why not just keep the old xbox around in case you want to play the older games? I understand the convenience of backwards compatibility, but as far as a ‘requirement’, thats pushing it. I’ll buy the 360, and if I ever want to play the original games I’ll just switch from input 6 to input 7 and I’m good to go.

LoneWolf (user link) says:

No Subject Given

They should have thrown on an additional 733MHz celeron while they were at it to be able to easily play the old games. Compatability with the current architechure was not an easy hurdle to overcome. They went from Intel based to PowerPC. So somewhere in the middle microsoft is having to use their VirtualPC technologies to emulate the intel architechure. And.. for any of you who has macs (like me) and have tried Virtual PC you know it sucks and is slow so to make a emulator that can convert the binary fast enough is a challenge (unless MS has been holding out on us making Virtual PC such a shoddy product). However… they should have figured out all the backwards compatability BEFORE HAND instead of all of a sudden coming out and saying “oh it can’t play all the other games”.

Dustin says:

XBox Live & Compatibility

I think a HUGE point is being missed here. The fact that XBox Live ALSO requires a Hard Drive…
NOW… why on earth would Microsoft ship a 360 when all it can do is play a select few single player games. The CORE system is no longer a unique box, its no better than the camecube when it comes to multiplayer, which in all honesty was, and is, the selling point for the xbox, beit 360 or the original.

My question is, WHY market a useless box and tell people that its an xbox 360 CORE, when in reality it doesnt even qualify as an XBox 360. Seriously tho, how long will it take for developers to be fed up with having to support 2 versions of the same game, or be restricted now even more than they were with the xbox..

If i were a developer, i’d continue to make games for the xbox where more people will be inclined to buy the game without paying 500$ just to play it.

This probably doesnt make sense, its kind of stream on consciousness(sp)

pieminister says:

Re: XBox Live & Compatibility

thats not true.i bought a core pack as i was a bit short of cash at the time,and it works just fine.all thats required for xBox live is an glad i bought the core pack,as it gives me time to spread out the payments of all the extras that the premium comes with.yes,it does cost more in the long run,but it gives me more time to make the payments,instead of crippling myself financially all in one go.and the xBox 360 core does play games just as well as a premium,albeit a little longer loading screens due to no hard drive

Hedwig says:

As always there are things to be said to both...

To Microsoft:
– don’t tell me that the architecture is an obstacle. I’m sure the ‘old’ xbox was never designed to run Linux, and yet…
– why are there different versions of the console anyway? If you’re trying to win customers with the cheap model, it should definitely have been bw compatible to play the multitude of cheap (older) games available. I’d call those games a mayor incentive for someone who wants to buy his/her first console.

To the gamers:
– if you already own an xbox and games, where’s your problem? Either you keep your old xbox around to play those games, or you sell it and use the money to buy the ‘full’ xbox 360. Whatever.
– connecting 2 games consoles to your 1 TV input is about as easy as buying an adapter cable. Yes, they’re fairly easy to find and to my knowledge they cost about $15 (look for a scart multiplug).

But I’ll probably buy me a 360 with the HD *and* keep my old xbox around… 🙂

Elpram says:

Re: As always there are things to be said to both.

I now have in my possession an xbox 360, and it is awesome. You actually CANNOT buy a computer on todays market with the 360’s power, and even when you can it will cost waaay more. As for the backwards compatibility, I don’t own an xbox, but I own the 360, so I for one am happy for it.(Just have to rub it in once more that I am now playing Kameo)

Mary (user link) says:

Backward Compatability

May I say, real quick, that the Ps2 had very poor backward compatability?
It did not play ANY of the Lunar games, Brigandine, Sihlouette Mirage, and at least half of the rest of my gaming collection.. particularly all of my favorites. You call that backwards compatibility if you want.

XBOX backwards compatibility doesn’t come ‘with a cost’ so to speak. You need a harddrive for virtually any good feature; think of it like a controller. “Uhm yeah XBox has multiplayer games.. for a price! … of new controllers.” Yeah. right.
Also given the fact that it’s an emulator it will be superior to PS2’s backwards-compat, because the emulator can be patched and updated.

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