Xbox One backwards compatibility for original Xbox games is 'very challenging'

Engineering lead says "nothing's impossible," but it would be a significant challenge.

GameSpot staff
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GameSpot staff
2 min read

Microsoft has again responded to the idea of making original Xbox games playable on Xbox One through backwards compatibility. Xbox engineering boss Mike Ybarra broached the subject on The Inner Circle podcast, saying the feature hasn't been ruled out, but you shouldn't expect it to come anytime soon.


The original Xbox system.

"Nothing's impossible," Ybarra said, adding that Microsoft's current focus is adding more Xbox 360 games to the backwards compatibility program.

Backwards compatibility support for Xbox 360 titles arrived on November 12 through the New Xbox One Experience dashboard update. There are currently 104 titles in the program, but Ybarra said fans can look forward to a "high frequency" of new additions down the road.

Xbox One backwards compatibility works by emulating the Xbox 360 operating system. Getting an original Xbox emulator up and running would be a tall -- but not impossible -- task, Ybarra explained.

"We're not looking at original Xbox games on Xbox One yet," he said. "Right now the focus is making more Xbox 360 games work. [It would be] certainly very challenging. Getting Xbox 360 games to work was incredibly challenging and really a multi-year engineering investment. Going all the way back to the original certainly would challenge the team."

There is still a chance, however. Ybarra added that the Xbox backwards compatibility engineering team enjoys taking on new challenges. "I'm sure they would love that one as an opportunity to go look at," he said.

Back in August, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said it might be technically possible to add support for original Xbox games to the backwards compatibility program on Xbox One, though he, like Ybarra, made no promises.

If the Xbox One does one day add backwards compatibility support for original Xbox games, which ones would you like to see added to the lineup? Let us know in the comments below.