Microsoft is looking into the possibility of bringing Xbox 360 backward compatibility to the Xbox One, Principal Lead Developer Frank Savage revealed at Microsoft’s Build conference (via Polygon) last week. Asked if there are plans to bring support for older games to the newer hardware, Savage replied, “There are, but we’re not done thinking them through yet, unfortunately.”
The issue apparently lies with bringing PowerPC-based 360 software to the x86 processing architecture that the Xbox One is built on. Savage didn’t make any formal announcements about the plans. There have been various hints in the past that the console could eventually offer the feature, either through software emulation or streaming via Microsoft’s Azure cloud servers.
Such a move would certainly help bolster the young console’s library of games, but software-based emulation is always tricky and Microsoft probably doesn’t want a repeat of the less-than-ideal backward compatibility execution on Xbox 360 for original Xbox games. It’s also hard to ignore the fact that the Xbox 360 is still an actively sought out product. Even if the technical obstacles are overcome, Microsoft will still have to weigh how much of a risk there is of Xbox One backward compatibility cannibalizing Xbox 360 hardware sales.