I never thought I’d write this, but Microsoft has done something gamers actually wanted with the Xbox One: they’ve announced mods and backwards compatibility on the Xbox One for Xbox 360 games you already own.
That’s right, mods, the long-sanctified bastion of PC gaming elitism, are coming to consoles.
Microsoft announced the news at its keynote address at E3. The Xbox One was the main focus of the day’s event, although Microsoft did take some time to talk about PC gaming.
Anyways, here’s the most important news announced at the event:
One of the biggest gripes about the Xbox One was its lack of backward compatibility. You mean I need two consoles in my living room to play Xbox games I already own? People called it a blatant cash grab by Microsoft – especially when they started selling older Xbox 360 titles on the digital store.
Microsoft has decided against that approach and is now bringing backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 games to the Xbox One. Older titles, including both your discs and digital games, will be playable on the Xbox One.
Better yet, your games will come with all of the Xbox One features you like, including broadcasting, screenshots, and DVR functionality.
Oh, and all your achievements, saved games, and Gamerscore will transfer over.
Oh, and you can play multiplayer games against your friends on the Xbox 360. So yeah, you can play Halo 3 on your Xbox One versus your Xbox 360 friends.
Xbox Game Preview
Xbox Game Preview has a lot in common with Steam Early Access, which is the system that lets gamers have a sneak peek at a game before it’s officially launched.
It’s been a wild success on Steam, where indie developers will often launch a game through Steam Early Access for a cheap price, and then give users frequent updates to that game until its official release, at which point they already own it.
Xbox Game Preview isn’t quite the same as Steam Early Access. Gamers get free access to the games, so there’s no need to pay. There are currently 18 games available through the Xbox Game Preview, although Microsoft expects that number to rise.
Okay, this is the feature everyone is really excited about. Yes, the Xbox One is getting mods. Yes, they’re the same mods as you get in PC games.
No, they won’t be available for all games. Microsoft has only announced that Fallout 4 will get modding capabilities.
We don’t know anything else about this feature thus far. Like literally nothing. But it’s an exciting development for console gamers who look at PC gamers with envy about their mods.
Ultimately, PC gamers are smirking at these announcements: Microsoft took backwards compatibility away from players, and then gave it back to them to raucous applause. PC gamers have been enjoying free mods and backwards compatibility for years. Is it really something to get excited about?
To a console gamer, apparently it is.