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June 2, 2006

Microsoft exec dismisses Xbox compatibility

Posted by David Hunter at 7:30 AM ET.

I guess Sony executives have no monopoly on putting their foot in it over console gaming ([1], [2]). Peter Moore, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, Interactive Entertainment Business, Entertainment and Devices Division, riled the fans yesterday in a video interview with game site Kikizo:

One thing that Xbox 360 users with hard drives benefit from is backwards compatibility with Xbox 1 titles, but some gamers have been underwhelmed by the volume and quality of games that are compatible on the new system. It doesn’t look like much is going to change either, based on Moore’s latest comments in the interview. “Nobody is concerned anymore about backwards compatibility. We under promised and over delivered on that. It’s a very complicated thing… very complex work. I’m just stunned that we have hundreds of games that are backwards compatible.”

He added: “more are coming, but at some point, you just go, there’s enough, let’s move on, or people aren’t as worried about a game being backwards compatible – and I like to think we’ve upheld our end of the bargain in making at least two or maybe three hundred games backwards compat.”

Bzzzzzt, Game Over. Thanks for playing. He’s generally correct, but it’s not the thing to say given Microsoft’s promises and spotty delivery so far on backward compatibility, and it didn’t take long for some negative feedback:

“Our goal is to have every Xbox game work on Xbox 360,” Xbox PR manager Michael Wolf told at the time – a goal from which Microsoft now appears to have retreated significantly.

Paul Thurrott:

I want to be clear here. Microsoft has, in fact, completely underdelivered on backwards compatibility for the 360. In fact, it’s a joke, given that they were going to do monthly compatibility updates and have only released two since last November (a record of 2 for 6, by my count). Microsoft promised it would eventually make every original Xbox game play on the 360.

Meanwhile, over at Microsoft’s Gamerscore blog, they’re doing damage control:

Lots of talk about backwards compatibility online today. We wanted to get to the bottom of it all, so we went right to the team working on the next back compat update. We hear directly from them that they’re in the testing phase of another update, and it should be out in the next few weeks. We saw the list they’re testing, and it looks like they’re hoping to add at least a dozen titles.

But rest assured, we’re not done yet.

We know for a fact that there are lots of people who continue to care about backwards compatibility, including the “Emulation Ninjas” who are working full time on the updates. And those of us posting on this blog. And, of course, many of you.

And even the BBC noticed.

Filed under Executives, Microsoft, Peter Moore, Xbox

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