Microsoft is thinking about Xbox game preservation, leaked emails show

Mike Powers

Something to look forward to: Backward compatibility has become an integral feature of modern gaming platforms. Windows PCs have always demonstrated unprecedented compatibility with software from previous generations, while PlayStation and Xbox now support games across multiple generations. Microsoft is working to push this concept even further.

Xbox President Sarah Bond appears to be taking game preservation seriously. While Microsoft’s gaming platform has always offered some level of backward compatibility with early Xbox games, the newly appointed head of the brand has formed a “dedicated team” to focus exclusively on the matter.

According to internal emails obtained by Windows Central, game preservation is described as a crucial objective for both Xbox and the industry as a whole. The new team is building on the “strong history” of backward compatibility enjoyed by users of recent (and not-so-recent) Xbox consoles, with the aim of ensuring that the growing library of Xbox games is available to future generations of players.

As noted by Neowin, Microsoft began offering compatibility with games from previous Xbox generations in 2005 when the Xbox 360 introduced the ability to play a selection of titles designed for the first-gen Xbox console. In 2015, the Xbox One gained compatibility with some Xbox 360 games, and two years later, the eighth-generation console began supporting games from the original Xbox era.

Microsoft is thinking about Xbox game preservation, leaked emails show

Modern Xbox Series X and Series S consoles maintain full backward compatibility with Xbox One games, as well as support for Xbox and Xbox 360 games that were already playable on the Xbox One. Microsoft’s latest consoles can even enhance the gaming experience by increasing frame rates, adding automatic HDR support, and providing other visual improvements.

Redmond will reportedly provide additional details about this new game preservation team on June 9, when the company is expected to host an Xbox Game Showcase event. Gamers are increasingly frustrated with major publishers and large corporations routinely discontinuing their games, with recent initiatives like Stop Killing Games aiming to raise awareness of the issue.

According to the leaked emails, Bond also discussed the future of the Xbox platform. While focusing on the past with game preservation, the emails state that Microsoft is already moving “full speed ahead” with its next-generation hardware. Bond stated that the upcoming Xbox console will deliver the “biggest technological leap” ever achieved by a new generation of gaming consoles.

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