Xbox One Will Have An Official Xbox 360 Emulator When Microsoft Finishes ‘Thinking It Through’

Xbox One Will Have An Official Xbox 360 Emulator When Microsoft Finishes ‘Thinking It Through’

An obvious way to make the Xbox One more appealing would be for it to run older Xbox 360 titles too. Microsoft has confirmed that it is still working on plans to make that happen.

During a session by partner development lead Frank Savage on the Xbox One’s use of Windows technology at Microsoft’s Build developer conference, the issue came up during audience questions. Here’s the exchange in full:

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Are there plans for an Xbox 360 emulator on Xbox One?

SAVAGE: There are, but we’re not done thinking them through yet, unfortunately. It turns out to be hard to emulate the PowerPC stuff on the X86 stuff. So there’s nothing to announce, but I would love to see it myself.

Of course, being able to run 360 games on the Xbox One doesn’t mean Microsoft would allow you to simply pop your existing discs in — it might well choose to copy Sony and resell you those titles as downloads. Still, it’s something to look forward to — and there are unofficial efforts going on too.

Disclosure: Angus Kidman travelled to San Francisco as a guest of Microsoft.


  • If they pull it off in the next 6-12 months it would seriously boost sales as everyone goes out and ‘upgrades’ their console while still retaining their old games. It would be a huge win if they can pull it off. But I’m not going to hold my breath.

    • assuming you can still use your old games as opposed to having to purchase it again.

    • As long as you can still use your old games. If you have to rebuy them, I imagine there’ll be another big backlash…

      • Ideal solution would be to continually patch each 360 games compatibility into the Xbox One, like the Xbox to 360. I recall playing Halo 2 on my 360 back in the early days.

        • Not all games on the Xbox were compatible on the 360 in the end though a fair few of them were. They ended up stopping making the games compatible after a while. Though I do agree it would be nice for them to do this, but then, at what point do we move on? Do we still play our Xbox games? I don’t. Haven’t touched my old Xbox in like…. 7 or 8 years probably. My 360 is doomed to go the same way now. My ps2 I haven’t touched since 2007 or so either.

          • Correct, I wouldn’t expect every 360 release to receive the patch treatment for Xbox One. I did appreciate the classic Xbox original titles that were made playable on 360 however.

            But we all know that these 360 titles will be made available via XBL with a price tag. I’ve re-purchased a number of PS one classic’s via PSN over the years. Maybe we can hope they’ll at least get some kind of a HD face lift when re-released?

          • Yeah backwards compatibility in the 360 was there…but they deliberately locked some titles out. I put in a lot of games…and had one I actually played for a bit…until after about 3 minutes the xbox 360 popped up a screen declaring it not compatible while it was running fine.
            The entire technical or differing hardware excuse is a huge joke, They are doing it for money plain and simple. Not sure why they play these games with the public or why they lie. The console program is the exact same as the xbox and 360 version but with extended things added to it. The new graphic user interface on the newest system though does cause a lot of issues….but considering it looks like it was hacked in…why am I not surprised.
            If it where me I would let people use their old stuff….fire the idiot they put in charge making the interfaces so horrible….seriously he messes up windows 8….gets put on xbox one…messes that up too…..when will the Microsoft execs learn.

  • So apparently it’s easier to emulate an Xbox One than a 360. So you could use the One emulator to emulate a 360.

    • What Microsoft is doing is not emulating the 360 console on the xbox one. What they are doing is changing the code of the game (only if the devs of the said game allows it) to be able to run on the xbox one. Emulating just has the xbox one to match the 360. Instead they are doing the opposite. So you’ll have to download the game when you insert the disc. Whether you have to pay I have no idea. I would hope not.

  • You mean try and run a handful of previous games. And then say “we’ll work on the rest during the lifespan of the console” and never touch it again after the first year or 2 like the 360 did? xD

    • Dayum. Bet me to the punch.

      The backwards compatibility on the 360 can be summed up as “Let’s get the best sellers, such as Halo, working then call it a day”.

      • Personally didn’t care if it wasn’t for the fact they half-assed the working list.

        Some games were listed on one region and never done for others. Or in the case of Project Zero was listed as working in “EU” but doesn’t work in AU =/

    • This exactly.
      we really are in a 2nd generation of no backwards compat not the first.
      Even launch model PS3s had issues with the ps2 emotion engine being physically in the machine.
      most of my orig xbox games dont work on 360 besides Shenmue 2 and Halo.

    • To be fair when they announced backward compatibility in the 360 they said “backwards compatibility with the best selling Xbox games”. So they never promised more than that.

  • There is only one thing that is motivating them to do this, and that is money, so they can resell us the whole back catalogue of XBox 360 games.

    There is no way in hell that Micro$oft (or any of the other big players for that matter) would put so much effort into something like this just to give it away for free.

    • Unless it will be there with its free with gold give aways…..they said it was going to start soon, but i couldnt figure out how as theres no games……im guessing this is it then.

      • No games? There are already like 40 games out for Xbox One. What planet are you living on?

    • I’d happily buy the emulator given that they’d need to re-licence all the hardware/software they got from 3rd party sources and it’d not be the cheapest thing ever, I’m sure a lot of other people would too.

      Add as many digital 360 games to the marketplace as possible AND let people use discs and it’d be a hell of a selling point

  • I have had almost no interest in getting an Xbox one, however if this does come to fruition and you are able to pop in 360 discs I will lean towards buying one, if you can pop in regular xbox games also I would definitely buy one.

  • They won’t emulate it. Because when they do, they’re saying that it will run on normal PC’s too. (read: the avergae PC doesn’t come close to running it yet)

  • If they can do it the same way they did the OG->Xbox 360 BC then I’d say most would be happy with that. Especially if they can cover a decent portion of the library.

    I’d wager the newer games from the past 3 years or so should be easier than the earlier games.

  • I’m still undecided about which console to buy, down the track. In the absence of truly compelling exclusives (keeping eyes out for that), whichever one introduces a backwards compatible framework first is going to sway me.

  • What if they made a way to load the old xbox 360 game cd on the xbox one cd tray, copy it to HD and an update app that runs the older game could do the rest? Something to think about as if they do this not only they would have millions upgrading their consoles but also having to spend no extra cash on games they already own! Now THAT would be a ps4 killer!

    • Why can’t Microsoft come up with practical ideas like that. Oh yeah, they probably can’t make money that way. Here’s another what if. What if the xbox one held both systems, like a computer that can hold 2 operating systems. Then the user could choose which one to use depending on which game was inserted into the drive. Then Microsoft wouldn’t have to hurt themselves trying to come up with a way to emulate.

  • It’s not good enough if they insist on reselling you your titles. That would seriously make me consider not investing in One for some time, if at all. I’m sure others feel the same.

  • If they made the XBOX 1 able to play 360 games, I’d buy one in a heartbeat.

    One of the reason’s I traded in my PS4 to move onto PC was because I couldn’t play my 44 PS3 games on it.

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