Those prospect Xbox One owners, who would like to have an opportunity to play Xbox 360 games like Gears of War or Halo in the future will have to keep their existing X360 consoles. But, maybe, not for long.
In the upcoming clash between Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox One and Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 4 the latter will have one distinct advantage: it will be compatible with previous-generation games thanks to Gaikai cloud game streaming service. On the other hand, Microsoft also have exceptionally capable cloud-based service in place for Xbox One, which will be initially used for other purposes. Nonetheless, over time, it might get additional capabilities and one of them could be backwards compatibility.
Cloud computing is widely used for various purposes these days, especially on mobile devices. Next-generation game consoles from Microsoft and Sony will also come with various cloud-based technologies and services. While the two companies have yet to reveal everything about their cloud offerings for the PS4 and the X1, both have already made certain important announcements that reveal the scale of cloud backend behind the systems. Sony plans to run previous-gen games in the Gaikai cloud, whereas Microsoft allows game developers to use cloud computing to assist game consoles in processing latency-insensitive parts of content while leaving processing of latency-sensitive things to local graphics and general-purpose hardware.
Both platform holders have indirectly implied that over time cloud computing technologies could enable new features and capabilities for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but did not reveal specifics. Apparently, one of the things that Microsoft is mulling right now is enablement of X360 titles on Xbox One using cloud technologies.
[Broad set of future opportunities is] one of the things that makes [the cloud] at the same time both totally interesting and hard to describe to people. Because what the cloud can do is sort of hard to pin. When you say to the customer, we want the box to be connected, we want developers to know that the cloud is there. We are really not trying to make up some phony thing. But there are so many things that the servers can do. Using our Azure cloud servers, sometimes it is things like voice processing. It could be more complicated things like rendering full games like a Gaikai and delivering it to the box. We just have to figure out how, over time, how much does that cost to deliver, how good is the experience,” said Albert Penello, senior director of product management and planning at Microsoft, in an interview with GameSpot web-site.
While the comment is hardly a promise that over time Microsoft Xbox One will be able to play previous-generation games, it clearly shows that the software giant is assessing different features that it would like its next-gen console to have. Keeping in mind that the latest titles like Gears of War: Judgment are exceptionally good looking and competitive, bringing them to Xbox One will inevitably increase its value in a cut-throat fight with Sony’s PlayStation 4.