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Author Topic: I can't find it anywhere, Is Xbox360 backwards compatible?  (Read 4508 times)
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Tebunker
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« on: May 13, 2005, 11:34:40 AM »

I know there were rumors going both ways, but Nothing I've read has stated clearly that you can play the old games on it...

IGN Had this in their FAQ:

Quote
Will Xbox 360 be backwards compatible?
The problem with backwards compatibility is that the original Xbox ran on an nVIDIA graphics processor. When software makes calls to a chipset to produce visuals it uses code specific to that hardware. Xbox 360 runs on an ATI graphics chip meaning that code from last generation games will need to be recompiled or emulated in order to work on the system. Does this mean that consumers will have to chuck their beloved Xbox libraries? Not necessarily. There is a chance that Xbox 360 will have the ability to emulate the old system, though nothing has been announced as of yet.


And it doesn't sound good.

I know it's not that important to most of you here, but it is a difference maker for me. It essentially guarantees that I wouldn't get a next gen system for at least a year after launch.
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AgtFox
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2005, 11:42:30 AM »

There is no answer yet.  In this Gamespot news story, Robbie Bach (Chief Xbox Officer) is quoted as saying backwards compatibility will be talked about at E3, but not price and date.  Here's the section:

Quote
But for all the details Microsoft did release today, several major questions about the Xbox 360 remain unanswered. Foremost among these is the console's price, which analysts estimate will run between $299 and $399--and some predict will be $360. Nor did Microsoft address whether or not there will be more than one version of the Xbox 360 on store shelves at launch. "We won't talk about the specific dates or price points at E3," chief Xbox officer Robbie Bach told GameSpot. "It's a little early to do that."

Microsoft also danced around the subject of backward compatibility--for the time being. "The obvious point that comes up that's always interesting to talk about is backward compatibility and it's something we will talk about at E3," said Bach. "We haven't been public with what's happening there for a lot of different reasons and that will end on Monday night. That's one of the few things I am bound by my own NDA not to discuss."
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Rob_Merritt
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2005, 12:18:18 PM »

End monday night, After Sony's big speech. I still think the Xbox 360 will be backwards compatable, the issue is whether it will be something you have to buy extre or will it be packed in.
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Chaz
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2005, 12:37:07 PM »

Won't be talking about price or date at E3 because it's a little too early to be doing that?!  Um, you're launching in six months, how is that too early?
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AgtFox
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2005, 12:45:04 PM »

Quote from: "Chaz"
Won't be talking about price or date at E3 because it's a little too early to be doing that?!  Um, you're launching in six months, how is that too early?

I can only guess they don't want to tip their hand to Sony so Sony can come out sometime during E3 and say, "well, we're selling the PS3 at this price".  That's only a guess though...I'm not sure why they wouldn't give a date.  Maybe Microsoft has something special planned outside of E3 *shrug*
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Rob_Merritt
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2005, 01:04:26 PM »

Hopefully it isn't MTV type special.
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AgtFox
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2005, 01:20:50 PM »

Quote from: "Rob_Merritt"
Hopefully it isn't MTV type special.

Heh...I doubt it.  I was talking more something for the gaming journalists in Redmond or maybe they'll do an XDC or something over in England.
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2005, 02:54:49 PM »

I'm starting to wonder if their solution to backwards compatability won't be a series of Xbox "Greatest Hits" re-rereleased for play on Xbox 2 at a low price point.  Nothing added graphically other than supporting HD but Live enabled and all that.  

It just seems weird that *if* they were going to be BC, they wouldn't have already announced it.  Both Sony and Nintendo have already announced BC so I'm not sure what strategic value MS gains in waiting.
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Fellow
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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2005, 03:15:42 PM »

Unless they're still trying to work the kinks, and are buying for more time.
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Dimmona
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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2005, 04:57:49 PM »

I still don't buy the 'nVidia vs ATi' argument.  The whole point of the original Xbox was that you were developing to a version of the DirectX API - in theory your game shouldn't have to care what the underlying hardware is because it should all be abstracted away...  time will tell I guess.
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Rob_Merritt
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« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2005, 05:36:05 PM »

Buying.. hmmm..

You know, maybe there is something to that.
Lets say they have a micropayment system through Xbox live. Pay like 50 cents to run an older Xbox title you already own on the Xbox 360. Just don't offer the titles you can't emulate 100%
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Ralph-Wiggum
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« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2005, 05:36:32 PM »

It looks like it may be backwards compatible.

Quote
However, the video did contain some footage that Microsoft didn't want the public to see. Namely, the several shots of current-generation Xbox games--including MX vs. ATV Unleashed and Halo 2--being played on the Xbox 360, which means that, at least in the testing stage, it is backward compatible. There is also a screenshot of the new Xbox Live dashboard with the words "Xbox 1 Zone" clearly marked and an icon of the current Xbox title Fable. Finally, a screenshot of the forthcoming Xbox Live Marketplace clearly shows Halo 2 maps being offered for download.


Might make sense why the HD is now standard for all X-Box 360 consoles.
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Yossarian
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« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2005, 05:47:07 PM »

Quote from: "Ralph-Wiggum"
It looks like it may be backwards compatible.

Quote
However, the video did contain some footage that Microsoft didn't want the public to see. Namely, the several shots of current-generation Xbox games--including MX vs. ATV Unleashed and Halo 2--being played on the Xbox 360, which means that, at least in the testing stage, it is backward compatible. There is also a screenshot of the new Xbox Live dashboard with the words "Xbox 1 Zone" clearly marked and an icon of the current Xbox title Fable. Finally, a screenshot of the forthcoming Xbox Live Marketplace clearly shows Halo 2 maps being offered for download.


Might make sense why the HD is now standard for all X-Box 360 consoles.


that is no indicator of backward compatibility.  they could be test builds of finished games just to have something to show.
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kathode
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« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2005, 05:51:36 PM »

Quote from: "Dimmona"
I still don't buy the 'nVidia vs ATi' argument.  The whole point of the original Xbox was that you were developing to a version of the DirectX API - in theory your game shouldn't have to care what the underlying hardware is because it should all be abstracted away...  time will tell I guess.
No, it is a big technical challenge as any shaders you use have to be compiled for that specific card.  On the PC you just compile shaders at run time.  On Xbox, because developers assumed a static platform, they built games with optimizations for that specific card that simply won't compile on other cards.  So they're going to have to do some crazy footwork with wrappers and graphics code to get it to work.  

But anyway, all will be revealed next week.
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FlyingElvis
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« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2005, 06:29:23 PM »

How about this as a possibility? Although perhaps its already been proven to be false. I haven't really been following the XB360 that closely.

http://gamesradar.msn.co.uk/news/default.asp?pagetypeid=2&articleid=35470&subsectionid=1586
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« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2005, 07:12:28 PM »

FE...that's technically been proven false since the 20GB hard drive is going to be on the base system.  Doubtful WebTV will be added in either.

A rumor I heard not too long ago was that Halo 2 (or 2.5) may be included with the system.  It would solve all the texture pop-in and supposedly continue the story.  There may be truth to Halo 2 with the fixes included in the Xbox 360, but continuing the story seems unlikely.
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2005, 07:30:48 PM »

Considering the default HDD is confirmed to be removable, one tactic MS might make is to sell a higher capacity HDD that also enables backwards compatability and maybe some media center options.  

Even if MS surmounts the technical hurdles assocaited with BC, one of the other issues as I undestand it is that MS would have to pay Nvidia royalties if they retain backwards compatibility.  By offering a separate HDD w/ exclusive BC, they could probably get by with paying Nvidia royalties only on the HDD sales which would be significantly cheaper than paying them for every console sold.
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« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2005, 07:33:20 PM »

Can I just say how happy I am that no one has yet said anything like, "I don't care about backwards compatibility, therefore no one else does either."  This is the first time I've seen this issue come up without being slammed down.  As someone for whom backwards compatibility is pivotal, I thank you.
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« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2005, 07:38:37 PM »

I don't care about backwards compatibility but I understand how people might.

I like that this is THE ISSUE now that will make or break this system. It's the 'X' button/battery life for the PSP all over again!

If it actually is backwards compatible the fact that it's white will emerge as the system killer again!  :wink:
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Guy Incognito
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« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2005, 08:33:01 PM »

I won't be an early adopter of the system but backwards compatibility will be a major factor in deciding whether I ever upgrade.  I have some games I don't want to get rid of and don't want to keep a separate system for.

How else am I supposed to make it through the NFL dark times without my NFL2Kx?  :wink:
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Nth Power
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« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2005, 09:30:30 PM »

I'd really like to see backwards compatibility.  It's not a must-have, but it would be nice to be able to play my old XBox games and not have to worry about it breaking down and then not being able to find a replacement.  
It would be a space saver too.  I'm running out of room to put stuff by my TV as it is.
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« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2005, 09:52:02 PM »

A theory I thought up while thinking about this thread:

It could be beneficial to MS to do the backwards compatibility thing.  If I recall, they lose money on every XBox sold in the hopes of getting some of that back through game sales.

Not being backwards compatibile means that people will hang onto their old system to play a few old games from time to time.

Being backwards compatible, people might pass off their old system to a friend or sell it to somewhere like ebgames that will in turn try to sell it to someone else.  If either of these situations happen, there is a good chance the person will buy games for it.  Now, if those games are also used it doesn't mean much.  But say they pick up some newish games, that could be good for MS.

I realize this may not offset the costs to pay off nVidia but it could result in some nice cashflow.
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« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2005, 10:55:06 PM »

Add to the the fact that PS3 will almost undoubtably be backwards compatible and Revolution is, and it seems to go completely against the MS strategy of trying to give everything the other guys are doing, but getting there first.

My fear is that MS will announce that backwards compatibility won't be available at release but should come soon after, then sucker folks like me in only to have that sometime later be two years after release.
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« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2005, 02:45:32 AM »

if the new system is backwards compatable i think more people would be willing to early adopt 360.

as of right now there are too many promising games coming to xbox for me to jump ship.

see: stubbs the zombie/destroy all humans/king kong/starcraft ghost

i am sure i could come up with more. honestly, i am just not ready to move on to 360...
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2005, 03:49:27 AM »

zuggo, I think you might be kind of out of luck.  There should be some good multiplatform support for about a year but MS is pretty much done with first party titles once Conker comes out in June.  I've read that Nvidia will stopping production of the Xbox GPU in August so it won't be too much longer after that until new Xboxes are no longer produced.  And once the console is no longer being manufactured and supported by first party software then third parties won't support it much longer either.
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« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2005, 02:30:38 AM »

I would be very surprised if the X360 was NOT backwards compatible.  So much of the early success of the PS2 was built upon the existing library of games from the original Playstation.  A big draw, to me, for the GameBoy Advance is that I can play older games on it (if I understand correctly, the DS doesn't play old GB games, correct?)

Sure, MS might not be able, for monetary reasons (ha) or for technological reasons (ha ha) to make the system backwards compatible.  But from a BUSINESS standpoint, I just cannot imagine them making that sacrifice.  Hell, even Nintendo is going backwards compatible with their Revolution system.

Bottom line: moving in without backwards compatibility gives up whatever ground they've managed to gain on Sony with the XBox.  I just don't see them giving ANYTHING up unless it really, truly is unavoidable.
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2005, 02:59:11 AM »

Quote from: "ohbatlo"
Bottom line: moving in without backwards compatibility gives up whatever ground they've managed to gain on Sony with the XBox. I just don't see them giving ANYTHING up unless it really, truly is unavoidable.


I think thats why they haven't said anything about it yet.  Obviously they want it in there if at all possible technically or financially and they won't officially comment it on it until they've confirmed 100% if they can do it or not.

FWIW, EGM staffer who interviewed J. Allard and other MS bigwigs said that they pretty much confirmed to him that it *won't* be in.  Then again, the Time magazine article says that they expect it to be in.  

Hopefully we'll find out tomorrow.
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2005, 03:02:29 AM »

Also, I'd say that BC is arguably more important to MS than Sony or Nintendo, primarily due to the online experience.  Telling people that they have can't continue to play Halo 2, Unreal Championship, Forza, and all of their other online favorites with their existing clan/friendlist without keeping their original Xbox hooked up could be damaging.  For those whose primary focus is online gaming, they may hesitate to upgrade until the majority of their friends do.
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« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2005, 08:43:27 PM »

Online experience aside, Microsoft needs to reach out to the tens of millions of PS2 owners who do not have an Xbox.  This number exceeds the entire installed base of the current Xbox.  BC is a crucial aspect in attracting this crowd, especially since both Sony and Nintendo will have it.
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AgtFox
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« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2005, 02:29:27 AM »

It just may be backwards compatible:

Quote
The company also confirmed that some of the top-selling current Xbox games will work with the forthcoming Xbox 360, due out later this year. Typically, customers are forced to spend an average of $50 on new video games every time a new hardware console comes out.


That comes from the Forbes story that announces that FF XI is coming to Xbox 360.
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« Reply #30 on: May 17, 2005, 02:51:28 AM »

Only a few "top selling" titles?  Obviously they realize how bad it will be not to have it, but I think this is just something the marketing team demanded.  Let's see how many (besides Halo 2) get the treatment.  Not too many, I'd wager.  Just enough to claim they support it.  Ugh.  I'd rather them just forget it than throw this half-hearted attempt at us.  

Leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
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Bullwinkle
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« Reply #31 on: May 17, 2005, 03:58:49 AM »

Ugh.  You ain't kidding.

And I'm sure we won't see an actual list any time before release.

The worst part is, the most popular games are the ones I've probably finished and so have no need for backwards compatibility on.

Damnit, this sucks.
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« Reply #32 on: May 17, 2005, 05:38:14 AM »

Okay, maybe it's not as bad as we thought.  According to some sites, it may just mean that MS is hedging its bets.  There were a small handful of PS1 games that wouldn't work with PS2, after all.

Here's a quote from Gamespot:
Quote
Along with a firm release date and price point, the other big question surrounding the 360 was backward compatibility. However, Microsoft would only say that the console will be "backward-compatible with top-selling Xbox games." This ambiguous wording could mean that Microsoft will select which titles are backwards compatible. However, it could also simply mean that Microsoft is merely being prudent in case some more obscure original Xbox titles don't work on the 360, as was the case with some older PlayStation games and the PlayStation 2.
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #33 on: May 17, 2005, 05:47:18 AM »

The number of PS1 titles that were incompatible was almost minuscule and certainly nothing they had to hedge their wording on.  

One possibility is that maybe MS reached an agreement with Nvidia with a royalty based on sales of the orginal game.  In that case, MS may decide an overall cap of money that they're willing to spend and allocate it to titles that fit within that umbrella.
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« Reply #34 on: May 17, 2005, 06:35:21 AM »

Watching the conference (on Gametrailers http://www.gametrailers.com/), the cheers started before the words "most popular games" came out of his mouth.  He had to pause for quite a while (longer than when the Halo 2 launch was mentioned as the biggest day financial in entertainment history).  Maybe it's sinking in that it really is vital.

We really need to find out what they mean by these carefully chosen words.
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« Reply #35 on: May 17, 2005, 08:28:22 AM »

Perhaps the backwards compatability will be through some sort of emulation?  If so, it would make a lot of sense for them to be cautious as most of the games will have problems.  They'd have to release Live patches to the emulation program that would have run setting profiles for specific games.

This would cost money for them to produce, and thus would be limited to the titles they think are worthy of being played on the XB360.

EDIT:  Looks like I was right on the money.  Backwards compatability is via emulator.  Just saw the post on VE, so that means only certain titles will be playable on the Xbox 360, and I suspect most of them you'll already have.
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #36 on: May 17, 2005, 03:33:58 PM »

Quote from MS on BC:

Quote
"Backward-compatibility is not the reason people buy a new system," said David Hufford, Microsoft Xbox group product manager. "The perception is that it is significant. We've put all our energy into new titles, but since our consumers have asked for it...we've made it a goal to make all titles backward-compatible."


Does sound like emulation.  I wonder if BC updates will be downloaded by Live or something?

I'd argue that is more significant than just perception- the backwards compatability mention last night on their conference got the biggest chear of the entire show.
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« Reply #37 on: May 17, 2005, 07:16:44 PM »

Actually, it's been confirmed as emulation, the post on voodoo extreme with the MS guys saying it was emulation.
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« Reply #38 on: May 18, 2005, 06:45:34 AM »

Guess it could be that each game would need work done on it to make the title work right on the new system and they can only dedicate so many resources to it. Then I could be totally off base as I'm not a programmer.
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« Reply #39 on: May 18, 2005, 04:06:38 PM »

Usually with emus, if you get it working for a lot of games, it'll work for a bunch more, too.  However, there will always be games that just won't work well no matter what you do.  And many others that work, but with some problems.  This may be why MS is not committing.

The amount of time and energy spent by fans to get emus working as close to across the board as possible is probably dispraportionate to what MS is willing to spend.

I think this'll be a wait and see game, which sucks, unfortunately.
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