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Gamers wanted Xbox backwards compatibility, but they don’t use it

Despite constant requests for backwards compatibility, data shows gamers rarely use it.


Nahila Bonfiglio

Internet Culture

Published Jun 7, 2017   Updated May 23, 2021, 3:55 am CDT

With new systems coming out seemingly every time you blink, backward compatibility—or the ability to play games from past consoles on the newest version—is always a big draw for gamers.

Recently released games on a shiny new system are always a draw, but after a few weeks of bingeing a new game, many players become nostalgic for their old favorites. Rather than pull out their old systems to play, gamers plead with execs to just let them play old games on their new systems. However, according to an aggregate sample collected by Ars Technica, the number of gamers who actually use the backward compatibility on Xbox One is very low.

Requests for backwards compatibility typically come in the first few months of a new console’s life, before a healthy supply of new games for the console hit the marketplace. This is certainly true of the Xbox One, but interest has lapsed in the time it took for the Microsoft overlords to acquiesce.

Gamers clamor for the ability to play their old games, but by the time their wishes are granted they no longer care. This means that reports like the one conducted by Ars Technica are released and show that from a pool of nearly a million Xbox Live users, only 1.5 percent of their collective time is spent revisiting old games. This averages out to mere minutes per player.

There are, of course, a number of users who adore their classic games and spend more time playing them then they do investigating new releases, but as a whole it seems that the Xbox community prefers the newest model in everything, not just systems. There is nothing wrong with this, of course, but when that same community begs for a feature that they don’t even use, it makes the creators wonder if it is worth delivering on it in the first place.

Gamers who like their backwards compatibility options don’t have to worry. Backwards compatibility has become a feature gamers expect and value—even if they don’t use it much. The blow back from dropping it likely wouldn’t be worth the grief for Xbox executives or other console manufacturers. That being said, there are a lot of great classic games out there, and gamers would do well to revisit them once in awhile.  

H/T Kotaku

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*First Published: Jun 7, 2017, 3:45 pm CDT