As exciting as the launch of a new game console can be, it’s also often the least interesting part of its life cycle, since game studios rarely have a large slate of games ready on launch day, or even in the first few months of the console’s existence. Thankfully, Microsoft will avoid this issue next fall, as Xbox boss Phil Spencer told GameSpot that Xbox Series X will be backward compatible with every Xbox One game on day one.
“We wanted to make sure […] that, day one, we could deliver on the compatibility promise, and so I’ve been playing quite a few [Xbox 360] games on my [Xbox Series X] and Xbox One games on the [Xbox Series X] and that’s just to ensure that we can be there day one,” Spencer revealed in an interview with GameSpot.
Shortly before the Xbox Series X was unveiled at The Game Awards, Spencer shared in a tweet that he had brought a “Project Scarlett” console home with him. The tweet seems to suggest that he was playing games that were already available on Xbox One, but the quotes shared by GameSpot this week confirm it:
And it’s started….this week I brought my Project Scarlett console home and it's become my primary console, playing my games, connecting to the community and yes, using my Elite Series 2 controller, having a blast. Great work by the team, 2020 is going to be an incredible year.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) December 4, 2019
“We have thousands of games that run on Xbox One today,” Xbox partner director of program management Jason Ronald added. “We want those games to be able to come forward with you but we also want your services to come with you. We want your gaming legacy to come with you, whether that’s your Gamerscore, whether that’s your friends list, all your Achievements, your game saves, all of that should come forward so there are no barriers for you as you think about moving forward.”
Spencer and Ronald also stressed just how much work goes into optimizing older titles to make sure they can work on modern hardware. Even though the silicon was designed with backward compatibility in mind, Ronald says that “there is a tremendous amount of work” is required to bring old games to new hardware.