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Microsoft confirms the biggest advantage Xbox Series X has over PS5

Published Jul 16th, 2020 3:42PM EDT
Xbox Series X backward compatibility
Image: Microsoft

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  • Xbox head Phil Spencer revealed on Thursday that the Xbox Series X will play every Xbox One game at launch, unless the game happens to require Kinect.
  • Thanks to this functionality, the Xbox Series X will have “the largest launch lineup for any new console ever, with thousands of games to play.”
  • Microsoft will show off more Xbox Series X games at its Xbox Games Showcase on July 23rd.

Microsoft has made backward compatibility a priority in recent years, and that functionality is going to be one of the main selling points of the Xbox Series X. As soon as the company began talking about its next-gen console, we were told that it would play games from every previous Xbox generation, all the way back to the 2001 original. Throughout the development process, Xbox boss Phil Spencer and his team have been keeping us updated on the progress of the feature, but on Thursday, Spencer delivered a bombshell in an Xbox Wire blog post.

According to Spencer, the plan right now is for “all Xbox One games that do not require Kinect to play on Xbox Series X at the launch of the console.” Thousands of games have been released for the Xbox One over the last seven years, and the head of Xbox says that you’ll be able to play all of them on your Xbox Series X this fall.

Video game consoles have launched with the ability to play games from previous generations before — most notably the PlayStation 3 — but this could give Microsoft a big leg up this generation. Plus, “most of your favorite games will load faster and look and perform many times better on the new console.”

Microsoft watched Sony run away with the current generation for a variety of reasons, but the two that stand out are the price at launch and the game library. A lot of the rumors and reports seem to suggest that the Xbox Series X may have the PS5 beat on price, and on July 23rd, we’re going to get an hour-long look at the library of games coming to the console, including Halo Infinite. Launch lineups are always underwhelming, but if the Xbox Series X library has thousands of Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Xbox games on day one, upgrading might not be as daunting.

Meanwhile, all we know about the PS5’s backward compatibility is that it will play “almost all” of the 100 most popular PS4 games at launch. With more than 4,000 games available for the PS4, that’s not especially encouraging, and we still have no idea whether or not PS3, PS2, or PS1 games will be playable in any way, shape, or form.

The toughest part of upgrading to a new console is abandoning an expensive library of games and starting fresh, but Microsoft has eliminated this issue in one fell swoop. Letting every Xbox One owner bring their entire game collection with them might be why the Xbox Series X ends up giving the PS5 a run for its money.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.