If you're wondering exactly which Xbox games will be backwards compatible with the Xbox Series X and Series S at launch, good news: everything you can currently play on Xbox One from each Xbox generation will be compatible from launch. The only exceptions will be the "handful" of games that need Kinect – the long-gone Xbox motion controller – to run.
This was revealed by Xbox's Jason Ronald on Twitter, who says more than half a million hours of testing have been invested in ensuring backwards compatibility covers this many titles. Ronald also reiterates that these games will "look and play better" on Xbox Series X/S at launch.
Check the tweet out below:
After 500K+ hours of testing, we’re are excited to share that all Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One games playable on Xbox One today, except for the handful that require Kinect, will be available – and look and play better – on Xbox Series X|S at launch.October 28, 2020
Which games does that cover? A whole lot, across the original Xbox, 360 and Xbox One. All of the original Xbox and 360 games that currently work on Xbox One can be found here – and alongside these, the entire library of Xbox One games can also be played on the newer consoles.
Again, this excludes Kinect-required titles.
That's a pretty astounding achievement – especially when Sony, by comparison, only promises native PS4 game compatibility with the PS5. That does include a selection of PS2 games you can already buy on PS4, though, like GTA: Vice City and Manhunt.
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Preserving the classics
Backwards compatibility wasn't so big a draw that it was able to help the Xbox One beat the PS4 in sales during the last generation, but it gives Microsoft numerous advantages. It lets them tell Xbox 360 owners – whose interest may have lapsed over the past few years – that their purchases still work on the new console. It also gives Microsoft a considerable library of titles to draw upon for the ever-evolving Xbox Game Pass catalogue.
There's a nice preservation aspect to all of this, too – while not every classic game has been future-proofed (Jet Set Radio Future on the original Xbox is high on players' wishlists, so far to no avail), it does mean that older console titles are easy to play – even if they're almost two decades old. That's a great service to offer players.
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Samuel is a PR Manager at game developer Frontier. Formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor, he's an expert in Marvel, Star Wars, Netflix shows and general streaming stuff. Before his stint at TechRadar, he spent six years at PC Gamer. Samuel is also the co-host of the popular Back Page podcast, in which he details the trials and tribulations of being a games magazine editor – and attempts to justify his impulsive eBay games buying binges.