Well, this rumor is a little disappointing. Citing an anonymous source, Bloomberg is reporting that Microsoft’s next Xbox, dubbed Durango, will not offer backwards-compatibility. That large Xbox 360 game collection you’ve amassed over the years? Potentially only playable on Microsoft’s soon-to-be-outdated console.
The reasons are obvious. If Microsoft could have easily made Durango backwards-compatible, it would have, but much like with the PlayStation 4, major architectural changes have been put in place. That means previous game code cannot easily run on the upcoming x86-based hardware – understandable, but no less frustrating.
Here’s where things get murky. Sony is getting around this backwards-compatibility hitch by instead allowing gamers to stream their games through the Internet. How exactly this will work, we’re not sure, but as I assumed months ago at the PS4’s launch, the new console is likely able to read the ID of the game disc and then simply handshake with a remote server equipped with native hardware that will stream the game. It seems like it’d be easy to simply pirate a game and play it this way, but I’m sure Sony has got some protections in place.
Could Microsoft have something like this in the works as well? It may, but it also may not. If the company doesn’t see any explicit reason to invest huge resources into making backwards-compatibility possible, then it’s not going to go through the effort. The future for those who have large Xbox 360 collections could be a little scary, though, because Microsoft clearly isn’t going to be developing the 360 forever. At least on older consoles, emulation is a real option, but recent consoles have a slim chance of that becoming a possibility.
This news is especially disappointing given it was only the other day that we learned that Durango might require an Internet connection to enjoy your games reliably, leading some to believe that the PlayStation 4 is the more attractive console at this point in time.