Xbox Backwards Compatibility: Marketing Tool or Consumer Demand?
Go ahead and place me in the crowd of folks happy to see backwards compatibility come to the Xbox One. I fully believe it should have been there from the beginning, and now that it is here, my available game library has grown by a few titles. There is just one, general problem: is backwards compatibility merely a great marketing tool for Microsoft going forward, or will people take advantage of this when it launches in December?
I live a slightly different life than your average Xbox One owner. I review games, which means I find new codes in my email and new packages on my door step each and every week. When I was finally accepted into the Preview Program after E3, I instantly wanted to start getting into those Xbox 360 games that I really loved. That desire to play those games lasted an entire evening. That was it. To be fair, perhaps my selection of games – Banjo Kazooie titles, Kingdom for Keflings, and Mass Effect – was not enough to really make me want to play longer. Had Burnout Paradise been an option – mentioned by both Criterion and Microsoft via twitter this week by the way – perhaps I would have played more. However, a quick glance at my available Xbox One titles, and backwards compatibility was merely a memory. Batman Arkham Knight. Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Edition. LEGO Jurassic World. Witcher 3. Four titles I’ve been playing within the last month, which I have beat, but not finished.
To be honest, there are too many quality titles hitting current generation consoles. Games are bigger and take more time to compete.
It’s hard to really determine how many Xbox One users will religiously use the option of backwards compatibility. I know a few titles will definitely make a comeback – the early Geometry Wars games come to mind. But perhaps it is just a nice addition that makes some people decide on an Xbox One at retail. Perhaps it is a nice thought that you bring up when your PS4 friends are around, but forget the second they are gone. Until this feature is released to the masses in December, we won’t have a clear indication of how widely used it will be. For myself, I think Microsoft found another marketing line to add to their website and Xbox One packaging that very few people will end up using.