It’s A Myth That Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Is Ignored, Exec Says

One of the Xbox One‘s standout features is backwards compatibility support for Xbox 360 games. There are more than 400 titles in the catalog right now, and the library is seemingly always growing. Microsoft is committed to backwards compatibility now and in the long run, Xbox boss Phil Spencer told GameSpot at the Brazil Game Show today.

In June, there was a report that said Xbox One owners “largely ignore” the backwards compatibility feature. Microsoft responded by pointing out that around half of all Xbox One owners have used the feature, tallying some 508 million hours using the service. Spencer doubled down on this, saying it’s categorically untrue that it’s an ignored feature.

“It’s not true that people don’t play it. I’ve seen those online arguments about nobody uses it or everybody uses it. It’s not true that everybody plays backwards compatibility games, it’s not true that no one does,” he said. “A lot of the data is third party data so I can’t really tell you how many people are playing a certain game; it’s not my game. I think the best signal we had so far is when Black Ops II landed and that month it hit NPD’s Top 10 that month for game sales. An Xbox 360 game that’s years old, that shows that people care.”

The Xbox One is the only new-generation console that has true backwards compatibility support. The PlayStation 4, by comparison, requires users to re-purchase older games to play on the system through PlayStation Now and the PS2 Classics program.

“We continue to invest in back-compat because it matters. Not because somebody else [Sony] doesn’t have it. If somebody else did it tomorrow, we wouldn’t stop. We see it as a commitment to our customers that the games you buy from us [will work on new platforms].”

In addition to Xbox 360 games, the backwards compatibility lineup will add support for Original Xbox games before the end of the year. Microsoft is “really close” to launching this, Spencer told us, also teasing some news about support on Xbox One X.

Also in our interview, Spencer spoke about how he wants to move beyond the old way of thinking that when you buy a new console, your purchases for the older device are rendered useless. That’s part of the reason why backwards compatibility is so important to Microsoft.

“I want to give gamers a choice. It’s about growing gaming not being divisive and artificially trying to move you ahead. That’s why Xbox One X plays the same games Xbox One S does. PC has done this for years. It’s not rocket science in how you figure this out.”

For more on our conversation with Spencer, check out the stories linked below, and come back soon to see our full Q&A.

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Xbox Boss Phil Spencer Hasn’t Beaten Cuphead Yet, But He Has A Good Excuse

As the Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer played a key role in bringing the critically acclaimed platformer Cuphead to Xbox One and PC as an exclusive for Microsoft. One of the perks of his position is getting to play games ahead of release. He told us at the Brazil Game Show today that while he beat all the bosses ahead of launch, he hasn’t completed the retail version of the game–and he has a good reason.

“I think I finished all of the bosses at one point before it launched. But no. I’ve been traveling for four weeks in a row so I haven’t had much chance to play,” Spencer said. “It is [an excuse].”

Spencer also told us that Cuphead is selling “very well,” though he didn’t get into specifics about sales numbers. “I am so happy for the studio; they worked a long time on the game. And to have the success they’re having–it’s selling very well,” he said. “The reaction has been great. It’s just fantastic when those kind of things come together.”

As part of Microsoft’s exclusivity deal for Cuphead, the game is staying exclusive to Xbox One and PC forever. It is never coming to PlayStation 4. Spencer said the version of Cuphead that exists today might never have happened were it not for Microsoft’s investment.

“The team had certain ambition about what they wanted to go do. And together with them we wanted to invest more,” he said. “We saw more opportunity. And what that turned into was us having an exclusive game on our platform. That’s a game that probably wouldn’t have happened the way it did if we didn’t invest the way we did.”

For lots more on Cuphead, check out GameSpot’s review and tips here. For more on our conversation with Spencer, check out the stories linked below, and come back soon to see our full Q&A.

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Phil Spencer Talks His Destiny 2 Power Level And The Weapon He Wants

Xbox boss Phil Spencer was a big fan of Destiny 1, having played some 700 hours of it. He’s also logging time in the sequel, and now he’s told us more about his time with the game. Speaking to GameSpot at the Brazil Game Show today, Spencer said he keeps his fireteam (and sometimes his Xbox Live party settings) open so anyone can join him. His gamertag, which he frequently shares openly on Twitter and elsewhere, is P3

He has to kick people out from time to time, however, because he’s not a high enough level to play end-game activities like Leviathan raid. He told us at the show that his character is Power level 237. You need to be at least 260 to play the raid. Not being a high enough Power level for the raid keeps him awake at night, Spencer said, perhaps jokingly.

Spencer’s public page on Destinytracker shows that his character, an Awoken Titan, now has a Power level of 241. That’s not the highest, of course, but Spencer is a busy, busy person with a lot on his plate, so it’s understandable. He told us he’s traveled to Tokyo, the US east coast, and then Brazil just in the past few weeks.

The Xbox boss also told us about which weapon he wants the most in Destiny 2. After very much enjoying the MIDA Multi-Tool in Destiny 1, he’s looking to get the weapon in the sequel.

Spencer also said he’s bummed that Bungie won’t allow him to play his Destiny 2 character in the PC version right now. The game doesn’t launch for PC until October 24, but given his high-up position and contacts, we wouldn’t be surprised if Spencer received some form of early access.

For more on our conversation with Spencer, check out the stories linked below, and come back soon to see our full Q&A.

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Xbox One’s Original Xbox Backwards Compatibility Still Coming This Year

One of the pleasant surprises Microsoft had in store for E3 this year was the announcement of Xbox One backwards compatibility support for original Xbox games. At the Brazil Game Show, we caught up with Xbox boss Phil Spencer, who provided some insight into where things stand with the upcoming feature.

“We’re close, we’re really close,” Spencer said when asked for the status of Xbox backwards compatibility. “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. 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.”

Spencer also remains confident that the feature will be out before the end of the year, as planned. “Oh yeah,” he said about his certainty of a 2017 launch. He also teased that there are still details about backwards compatibility will work on Xbox One X that have yet to be revealed: “There’s some stuff we’re going to talk about in that space in terms of how compatibility’s going to work on [Xbox One] X specifically that I think people will find pretty interesting.

“Some of the games hold up really well; some of them don’t. But the gameplay mechanics and the smile [you got] on your face 15 years ago playing those games, those are things that are still there. I see it, like getting back to playing Crimson Skies, [it’s] fantastic, and the game actually looks really good even though it’s obviously been around.”

Spencer mentioning Crimson Skies is expected, as it’s only one of two games–along with Fuzion Frenzy–that have been confirmed as part of the program. “We have multiple games up and running–we just decided to tease the first one[s],” Microsoft executive Dave McCarthy explained about Microsoft’s E3 reveal of the first two games. “There will be a library of games available, for sure.” However, you shouldn’t expect the library to be as big as that of Xbox 360 backwards compatible games.

For lots more on our conversation with Spencer, see the stories linked below, and come back soon to check out the full Q&A.

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Xbox Exec Speaks Out Against Exclusive DLC And Recognizes The Irony In Saying That

Speaking to GameSpot today at the Brazil Game Show, Xbox boss Phil Spencer spoke out against the idea of companies like Microsoft paying to secure exclusive content in games. He immediately recognises the irony of this situation, given that Microsoft had the timed-exclusive deal with Call of Duty before it shifted to Sony. The company is also working with Activision on a timed-exclusivity deal for Destiny 2, while Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 will have some content that’s exclusive to PS4, at least for a time.

But on Microsoft’s side, it sounds like you shouldn’t expect these kinds of deals to happen on Xbox. “People always knock me on this; I’ve been on record… I don’t love the idea or practice of us paying so other platforms can’t play or use a certain gun in a game or do a certain level,” he said. “I know I say that and, Xbox history–DLC exclusivity windows with Call of Duty–I understand the fingers are pointing right back to Xbox. I can only be who I am. It’s not the best PR answer. But I don’t like that.”

In terms of timed-exclusives for full games, Microsoft recently reached a deal with PUBG developer Bluehole to bring the game to Xbox One this year as a “console launch exclusive.” It could very well come to PlayStation 4 at some point down the road, but no announcements have been made about that. Microsoft’s deal with Bluehole, which presumably includes funds to help support the game’s development (and may reportedly get extended), is part of Microsoft’s aim to make the “best games possible” for Xbox.

“People ask, when’s that coming to PlayStation? I’ve got a deal, working with [Bluehole] to build the very best version of PUBG,” he said. “That’s where I am focused. Right now, we’re helping that game come to console. Our focus is on making the best games possible.”

Another recent example of a exclusivity deal Microsoft made is with StudioMHR for the well-received and very difficult platformer/run-and-gunner Cuphead. The game is exclusive on console to Xbox One forever (though it is also available on PC). It is never coming to PlayStation 4. Spencer said Microsoft invested in Cuphead because it saw potential in the title and wanted to help make it all that it could be.

“When there are games that come along, Cuphead is a good example, and the team had certain ambition about what they wanted to go do,” he said. “And together with them we wanted to invest more. We saw more opportunity. And what that turned into was us having an exclusive game on our platform. That’s a game that probably wouldn’t have happened the way it did if we didn’t invest the way we did.”

Console exclusives are a way to drive sales of a particular system. Microsoft has Halo and Gears of War and Forza, while Sony has Uncharted, God of War, Killzone, and others, just to name a few. While there will probably always be full exclusives like these, Spencer said the future of gaming lies in games that may not necessarily be tied to a specific device.

“If you define the gaming market as console and that’s all you’re focused on, then maybe that’s an important part of the business consideration,” Spencer said about console-exclusives driving system sales. “I’d say one of the reasons PC is still so strong, is because it’s an open platform. Through things like cross-play we’re working to allow people to play games together regardless of where you bought the games. if you’re really about trying to drive just a specific device and say I just looked at the gaming opportunity all up as a single device opportunity, maybe that’s an approach. We don’t see it that way.

“When we look at things that are really large in gaming today, we look at Twitch, Steam, PUBG, Minecraft. People on Minecraft on Switch are playing with people on an iPhone. They don’t own a Windows machine or an Xbox. But they own our game or are using Xbox Live across multiple devices, that’s what gaming in the future is about. Getting caught in a definition of gaming that’s about me trying to do everything I can to get you to buy one specific device to play one specific variant of games, is not really about growing the business.”

For lots more on our conversation with Spencer, see the stories linked below, and come back soon to check out the full Q&A.

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Microsoft On Xbox One X — “It’s Not For Everybody”

In just a few weeks, Microsoft will launch a new console in the form of the Xbox One X. A more powerful version of the Xbox One, the system arrives on November 7, priced at $500 in the United States. While Microsoft of course expects it to sell well (the pre-orders are apparently strong already), Xbox boss Phil Spencer has now reiterated that the lower-cost Xbox One S model will remain Microsoft’s best-selling console this generation.

“Xbox One S will be the market leader for us. It’s the more affordable console. It plays all the same games,” Spencer told us at the Brazil Game Show today. “It will be the console that sells.”

The Xbox One X, meanwhile, is aimed at players who are looking for the “very best experience” with a home console. Even if you don’t have a 4K TV, you’ll still see the benefits of the console’s increased horsepower and more, Spencer pointed out. But similar to the Xbox One Elite controller, the Xbox One X won’t be for everyone. It’s all about giving players choice; if they want to spend more for a high-end experience, they can. This has been the setup on PC basically since the start, and now consoles are catching up, starting last year with the PS4 Pro and now the Xbox One X.

“Whether you’re on a 1080p TV or a 4K TV, you’re going to have a great experience. But it’s not for everybody. It’s like when we built the Xbox One Elite controller, we didn’t try to say to everybody, ‘If you need an extra controller, go buy the Elite controller.’ We sold a ton of those controllers. We know in the gaming segment, there are a lot of people who play games casually and there’s also people where gaming is their number one hobby.

“Their number one form of entertainment, and we want to give them the very best experience. I’ve played games in true 4K with HDR, and they look fantastic. But it doesn’t mean everybody has to do that. So we’re giving gamers a choice. Whether we’ve pushed the innovation too far? It’s hard to do that with gamers. I guess we’ll see; I feel very confident in the product we have coming to market.”

Are you going to pick up an Xbox One X next month? Let us know in the comments below! And for lots more on our conversation with Spencer, see the stories linked below.

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