Microsoft Not Worried About Xbox One’s Lack of Backwards Compatibility, Vows Big Xbox 360 Announcement at E3

Microsoft Believes Xbox One Will Not Require Games of Xbox 360

by Anton Shilov
05/22/2013 | 08:09 PM

Microsoft Corp. said it believes that Xbox 360 games will not be needed in the next ten years and those, who still love bestsellers like Gears of War or Halo may keep their existing Xbox 360 consoles. At the same time, Microsoft said it would make a big announcement concerning the Xbox 360 at the E3 trade-show.


“People can keep their Xbox 360 [hardware] and obviously the content will continue to work but we really wanted to take a forward-looking position with Xbox One – something designed for the next ten years – and that required backward compatability be one of those things we had to put off the list. Are we worried about it? No,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios at Microsoft, in an interview with Edge Online web-site.

The software giant explained that since the Xbox One is based on system-on-chip that features x86 general-purpose microprocessor cores as well as AMD/ATI Radeon HD graphics adapter powered by GCN architecture, whereas the Xbox 360 relies on IBM Power architecture as well as ATI R500-series graphics, it impossible to run video games designed for X360 on current hardware. However, the Xbox 360 can run the majority of titles developed for the original Xbox, even though the latter was powered by an Intel Celeron processor and Nvidia GeForce graphics engine.

Screenshot from Xbox 360-exclusive Gears of War: Judgment video game

One of the reasons why graphics sub-system of Xbox One cannot maintain backwards compatibility with highly-custom graphics sub-system of Xbox 360 could be the use of higher-speed EDRAM on the latter. The Xbox One is believed to be equipped with 32MB of ESRAM buffer with 102GB/s bandwidth, whereas the Xbox 360 is equipped with buffer chip containing 10MB of EDRAM along with additional logic that exchanges data with the main chip at whopping 256GB/s. Given that many games use all the capabilities X360 has to offer, no surprising that they also utilize this one, which is physically impossible to replicate on Xbox One hardware.

It is interesting to note that Microsoft does not EOL the previous-generation console and claims it will have a big announcement about at the forthcoming E3 trade-show.

“In fact we have a big announcement about Xbox 360 […] at E3 that I am excited about. People will keep their boxes, maybe on a new TV, maybe alongside an Xbox One,” said Mr. Spencer.