Update: Microsoft has now confirmed to IGN that the first original Xbox games to be backwards compatible on Xbox One will launch on October 24. There will be 13 titles available at launch, all of which will be enhanced with 1080p resolution, higher or more stable framerates and faster loading times. The 13 titles which will be available are:
- The King of Fighters Neowave
- BloodRayne 2
- Ninja Gaiden Black
- Dead to Rights
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge
- Fuzion Frenzy
- Red Faction II
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
- Sid Meier’s Pirates!
- Grabbed by the Ghoulies
Anyone that owned these titles on the original Xbox and still has the disc to hand will be able to play them directly from the disc in their Xbox One console. However, they'll also be available to purchase from the digital store front.
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Of all the current generation consoles on the market right now, Microsoft’s Xbox One is by far the most impressive when it comes to its commitment to backwards compatibility.
At the moment there’s an extensive list of Xbox 360 games that can be played on the Xbox One and while that’s continuing to grow, Microsoft announced plans to add original Xbox games into the mix at E3 earlier this year.
Microsoft hasn’t been forthcoming with details on exactly which original Xbox titles will be coming to Xbox One – at the moment we only know about Crimson Skies and Fuzion Frenzy. However, in a recent interview with GameSpot, Xbox head Phil Spencer did say we’d see the first of the batch released before the end of the year.
When asked about the status of the backwards compatibility project by GameSpot, Spencer stated “We're close, we're really close.”
“I have a little dashboard I go to and I can see all the games [and] where they are in getting approvals in the pipeline,” he continued.
“I know the games that are coming for the original Xbox but I don't think we've announced them all. We have to do this in partnership with partners, but we're still on track. I feel really good. The games look great.”
Backwards compatibility on the Xbox One X will, apparently, work slightly differently to the Xbox One S. According to Spencer, Xbox has still to reveal some “interesting” details on how the feature will work on the upcoming 4K console but seems fairly certain that people will find it “interesting.”
There’s plenty of interest in original Xbox games coming to the latest consoles and although Spencer says that some of the games hold up better than others, we imagine the memories and nostalgia will more than make up for anything lacking in the visuals.
Though we still don’t have an exact date for when this backwards compatibility extension will go live, we imagine Microsoft will wait until after the launch of the Xbox One X on November 7. Some time between this new console launch and Christmas would, arguably, make the most sense for the company.
We imagine original Xbox games coming to the Xbox One would tie in very neatly with the release of the revamped Duke controller which was also announced at E3 this year. Though this controller doesn’t have an exact release date, either, it’s also scheduled for before the end of 2017.
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Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.