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Microsoft Clarifies Backward Compatibility Stance 85

Posted by timothy
from the turn-your-head-around dept.
kukyfrope writes "Peter Moore, Head of Interactive Entertainment at Microsoft, has clarified previous comments about gamers not being concerned with backward compatibility on the Xbox 360, claiming his words were 'misconstrued' and reiterating Microsoft's goal to make every Xbox game backward compatible. 'It's quite simply not that we don't care about backward compat[ibility]. Boy, do we care about backward compat[ibility]... We're going to get darn close to that stated goal of every title done,' Moore promised."
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Microsoft Clarifies Backward Compatibility Stance

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  • at this rate (Score:5, Interesting)

    by underwhelm (53409) <underwhelm&gmail,com> on Monday June 12, 2006 @04:31PM (#15519819) Homepage Journal
    I hope they're working on some universal code that will support a bunch of games with one release. This nickel-dime approach will have them finished with the library in about 2037.

    Meantime, tons of popular XBox games (Platinum Hits) aren't supported on the 360. As far as native games go, if I don't want to have a chick fight, drive, or play a sport, I don't have much reason to turn on my 360 at all.

    Either one would please me: extensive backwards compatibility or a worthwhile native library. Right now the 360 offers neither. I just hope one or the other happens before I get bored with Burnout.
    • Re:at this rate (Score:1, Insightful)

      by geders (206556)
      Meantime, tons of popular XBox games (Platinum Hits) aren't supported on the 360. As far as native games go, if I don't want to have a chick fight, drive, or play a sport, I don't have much reason to turn on my 360 at all.


      Why did you buy a Xbox 360 then?
    • Re:at this rate (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jasko (684642)
      Reasons to turn on your 360?

      Fight Night
      Call of Duty
      Oblivion.

      • > Reasons to turn on your 360?

        I always thought the reasons were...

        No girl
        No friends*
        No life

        * except maybe a few other game addicts (many of which you probably have never met IRL)

        Although in such a case, reasons and consequences usually are hard to distinguish.
        So mod me Flamebait... That does not keep you from knowing it is all too often true!
        • Re:at this rate (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Kell_pt (789485) on Monday June 12, 2006 @07:26PM (#15520766) Homepage
          > Reasons to turn on your 360?

          - You're under 18, and have plenty of spare time
          - Your friends come over and play with you
          - Your girlfriend also plays
          OR
          - You're still learning to handle girls, but can take the distraction

          So, put that in perspective. I was a Spectrum addict when I was 12-16 (and friends came over), I was a 386 addict up to 18, and I'm 28 now, with my 3rd long term relationship (and hopefully the last one) and an healthy dose of attempts in between.

          Playing games is good for you. :)
          • Tell me, what are these 'girls' you speak of? Is it some trendy new slang, perhaps for an intoxicating herb?
          • How about: your fiancee doesn't play video games (except Diablo II and Guild Wars, go figure), but loves back seat gaming when you play Oblivion?

            (Not that I want to brag about my fiancee complaining once that I don't play enough Oblivion, or anything... ;))
          • Well, this is where some of my complaint comes from. My fiancee would play with me, but she doesn't want to simulate chick fights, driving, or sports (or play an FPS, I should add). The current library is 100% testosterone-fueled. Okay, except Geometry wars.

            If there were better legacy support, the odds would be much improved that there's a game out there we can both enjoy. For instance, I'm excited that the upcoming update will let us play Lego Star Wars.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Or you know, just play two of them on a real gaming system...a PC!
    • Re:at this rate (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Babbster (107076)

      As far as native games go, if I don't want to have a chick fight, drive, or play a sport, I don't have much reason to turn on my 360 at all.

      I hear that. If only they'd release games like Oblivion, Condemned: Criminal Origins, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter or Hitman: Blood Money. Maybe they just need to come out with something like Kameo, Gun, Final Fanasy XI or a Tomb Raider game.

      For anyone without a nice PC gaming rig, the Xbox 360 probably has something to make a gamer turn it on. For the people

      • Re:at this rate (Score:4, Informative)

        by Control Group (105494) on Monday June 12, 2006 @04:56PM (#15519982) Homepage
        Compared to the PS2 at the same point in its life, the 360's game lineup is kick-ass...
        Not to post contrariwise to what I already said in this thread, but - while you're certainly right in terms of native games, the PS2 did have the advantage of playing all (or at least, virtually all) PS1 games. It made the game lineup seem meatier than it actually was, but that's really all that matters: how many (good) games can you sit down at your console and play?

        (Note that this comes from a guy who neither had nor wanted a PS1 or a PS2)
        • The Xbox 360 has a similar advantage, at least for people who never owned an Xbox. There are many good games already on the backwards compatibility list. While it's obvious that there were far more PS1 titles, you could still get several months of good gaming (assuming one playing a relatively reasonable number of hours per day) out of the current list.

          Of course, the truth is that had I never owned an Xbox I wouldn't even consider buying a 360 right now (I still haven't) and would instead just buy the
        • Re:at this rate (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MBGMorden (803437)
          You can't really claim PS1 games as part of the PS2 library. Those games were older releases that we'd been able to play for years already on the Playstation. Every single person I knew that bought a Playstation 2 already owned the Playstation 1, so all the backwards compatibility did was allow us to put the PS1 in storage, effectively just making the entertainment center less cluttered (I also liked the tray of the PS2 compared to the lid of the PS1, as you can squeeze it into a smaller space since the l
      • My reviews of the 360's current lineup are thus...

        Oblivion
        Runs horribly slow compared to PC version... (loading...)

        Condemned: Criminal Origins
        Struck me as too dark to play during the daytime, but I didnt play it long.

        G.R.A.W
        Ok I guess. I don't much like FPS's anymore, they're all the same.

        Hitman
        Haven't played this one, but the series have been going downhill so I'm unlikely to bother.

        Kameo
        Sucked. Really, really incredibly lame.

        Gun
        Sucked *hardcore*

        Final Fanasy XI
        Haven't played, admittedly.

        Tomb Raider
        Sucked
    • Re:at this rate (Score:4, Informative)

      by Control Group (105494) on Monday June 12, 2006 @04:52PM (#15519958) Homepage
      I want BC as much as anyone and more than many (my XBox is on indefinite loan to a friend of mine), but don't sell the library of 360-native games quite so short. CoD2, Kameo, Oblivion, and Tomb Raider are all quality titles that don't fall into the categories you named. And if you expand to XBLA, you can toss Geometry Wars, Marble Blast Ultra, and Wik on the list as fantastic games.

      It's not exactly a selection measured in Libraries Of Congress (or even VW Beetles), but there are good games that aren't sports/driving/fighting out there.
      • Hold on a sec. CoD2, Oblivion, and Tomb Raider are all available on PC (Tomb Raider being availble on all the consoles). Wik is also availble on PC. Geometry wars can be supplanted by this guy [asahi-net.or.jp] (and all those are opensourced). Kameo isn't all that different from what Rare did in the N64 days.

        I don't own a High-def TV, so my 3.5-year-old PC can basically match the graphical output of the 360. The games so far have basically been Xbox++, with higher-def textures. The games I listed at the top pretty mu

        • All true; I wasn't making a case for buying the 360 as compared to a PC, merely pointing out that if you have a 360, there are several quality games that don't fit the genres named.

          That being said, I take issue with your assessments of Kameo and GW. If we only count games as quality games if they're completely dissimilar to other games that are available, the worldwide library of quality games for all platforms ever drops by several orders of magnitude.

          And, that being said, I won't make a case for the 360's
    • I remember when the PS2 was released and the only new game worth playing was Gran Tourismo 3 while we waited and waited and waited for new games. Without backwards compatibility I would have shoved it in the closet and gone back to playing my original PS. There are about three games I want to play on the 360, so I feel the same about the 360 as I did the PS2 and I would had bought one by now if it played more than two of the twenty of my current Xbox titles. As games grow ever more expensive and the wait be
    • I hope they're working on some universal code that will support a bunch of games with one release. This nickel-dime approach will have them finished with the library in about 2037.
      They will never do that because than Hackers can find backdoors in the emulation layer. They take the games, one by one, and make a special identifying code that makes sure this is the game and no other alien code.
      2037 it is.
  • YES!! (Score:2, Funny)

    by d-fi.nz (740024)
    All my old Xbox games should be playable on the Xbox 360 by 2015..... maybe
    • All my old Xbox games should be playable on the Xbox 360 by 2015
      I doubt they're going to be spending too much time and effort on game porting libraries in the year they release Vista.......

      *ducks*
  • Short version... (Score:5, Informative)

    by larsoncc (461660) on Monday June 12, 2006 @04:43PM (#15519903) Homepage
    Major Nelson's interview of Peter Moore said that they were essentially looking to provide more updates in the next week, and that two of the new titles for backCompat would be Lego Star Wars and Doom 3. There will be about 20 titles in this update.
  • by jpardey (569633)
    ...we is gonna hve that backwards compat for you, if it's the last thing I do. Boy, we'll get'r done! Now just let me fire up this batch o' rotgut, and I'll get you your backwards compat.
  • >Boy, do we care about backward compat[ibility]...

    And, we will tell you how much you should care about it too. We know exactly how much is perfect. You will be happy with that amount of compatability.

  • The mere fact that games are being handled on a case by case basis implies that it is a re-engineering of the original code to produce a new port of the game.
    Similar to the Linux ports of Doom and stuff (port the engine, use the graphics from the original disc)
    • i personaly wonder how much of it is the whole signed code thing.. i mean any orginal xbox game that came out before the cert for the 360 wouldn't run by design of the 360
      • Theres no need for a digital cert, the codebase simply won't run.
        If it was a compatible chipset, then MS would've simply included the code for the original xbox bootup sequence and transparently handled backwards compatibility.
        • I know the codebase is diffrent.. but for the later games that could have been compiled to work on multi acr's if they had thought about it.. what do they do about the whole signed code on the 360..

          i don't have a 360 so i don't know how it works exactly but if you have to download and update for your games to work.. they can't be too small and would eat the hdd's space - i don't know exactly but i think it would have been better for them to just have a straight generic emulater
          • A signed executable just has a reallly realllllly complex checksum appended to the original unsigned executable. Any executable can be signed rather easily if you know the algorithm and key. Once the checksum checks out, the executable runs like normal. If all that was needed to run an XBox1 game was the signature then these downloads would only be a kilobyte or two at most.

            The 360 doesn't seem to have enough power in the right areas to emulate a XBox1, I'm sure Microsoft tried to write a generic emulato
          • The last emulator "update" was 4mb...
    • If that were true, the updates would be MUCH larger than a few mb.
      • The doom3 "patch" required to run on linux is about 16MB [idsoftware.com] (450MB for the demo which includes maps and textures)
        Older versions of the port stand at about 8MB.

        Many games actually need very little in the way of code, the greatest majority of the game comes from the textures and meshes which populate the worlds.

        Remember, most modern games are based upon still valid functioning code from easily 20 years ago, the algorythms haven't changed much at all, the rules are still in place.
        • The latest back-compat "package" is smaller than 4mb (for all 200+ games). Unless the average xbox game is 20k in size, they aren't recompiling xbox games to run on the 360. There are a number of other reasons why it would be silly to suggest that they are doing such a thing (lack of source code being the primary factor), so do we really need to take this any further?
    • A good portion of the doom3 engine's code is IDENTICAL on all platforms. All the code in the SDK, to be exact; which is reportedly about half the codebase. I suspect that a fair amount of code that is not made available in the SDK is also crossplatform, but I obviously have no way of saying for sure.
    • Given this anwer to the question if a recently released XBox game will run on XBox360 I don't think they are doing a recompile, at least not with the source code, since Microsoft doesn't have that. Either they just tweak the emulator on a game by game basis or they are doing some kind of decompile/recompile thing to get a native XBox360 binary. However, so far I couldn't find any information of what they are really doing and why it is going so slowly.

      http://ragnartornquist.com/?m=200603

      Will it run on an

      • That quote isn't entirely true -- game companies do have some pull in determining what games get bc work done. The game company can "fund" the development work to make a game backwards compatible, but so far (from my understanding) no game company has chosen to do so.
    • I'm pretty sure that this isn't the case. If you've ever followed console emulator development, what Microsoft is saying would sound very familiar.

      Also, if they were recompiling the code to native PPC, they'd need the original source code of every game released for the Xbox. I seriously doubt this would happen, as it would require special legal contracts with every developer and publisher who made a game for the Xbox.

      Also also, are you suggesting that the Xbox compatability team would be able to fix bugs
  • So, to clarify the clarification...

    What he meant was that they weren't worried about BC.

    What people thought he meant was that they don't care about BC.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is entirely pointless seing as many games ALREADY ON THE LIST don't work correctly and you can't copy your data over.

    Halo 2 has various glitches that slow the frame rate to 5FPS, or the screen will screw up and show an overlay of the previous level while you are trying to play.

    Forza either runs too fast or too slow and the FMV sequences play in a reverse/negative pallete (its all blue and green and purple) and play all screwed up on my X360.

    Also since you cant copy your data forward it really reduces
  • Somewhere, a bunch of programmers are busily recompiling x86 code for PowerPC and looking for endian problems. It's a routine headache. Remember, the original Xbox is quite vanilla; it's basically a PC with an NVidia graphics processor running a stripped-down Windows 2000. In fact, most Xbox games can be run on PCs with the development environment (usually VC++), if you have the tools and files to build the game. (No, fanboys, that doesn't mean you can run the retail game on your PC.)

    I wonder if the

  • What's the deal here,...

    I mean they promised B/C on high selling titles and then released it with a fairly piss poor list besides a few games and have mostly ignored it since.

    Microsoft want to promote the X360 in Japan and so far it's going like shit, the least they can do is to make as many games b/c as possible, it's a damn logicial thing to do because places where the X360 isn't doing so well, at least they can add the bulletpoint of b/c to convince current Xbox 1 owners to grab it or to convince people
  • Forget about all of this backward compatibility bullshit. Its the feature that everyone talks about but no one hardly uses. I can count the times on one hand how many original PS1 games I've put into my PS2. Why do I want to play MGS1 on the PS2 when the GC has a remake of it? To MS's credit they're trying or they claim they are. The Xbox has about 800 titles and the PS2 much larger but with the radical diferences in hardware it can be pretty tricky to emulate. Look at the hard time its taking homebrew prog
  • Even if they do add more titles, the backwards compatibility is still nearly useless for many games as there is still no way of transferring saved games from the Xbox to the Xbox 360.

    I'm worried that Sony may try to pull the same stunt. Like the 360, the PS3 is missing memory card slots for the previous generation, so saved games could be a problem there as well.

  • ...to backpedal that often and that quickly? Microsoft in gaming is like the fat kid trying to make friends in school, he'll tell you anything to gain your friendship.

    Fat Kid: "Yeah! I love the Xbox 360."
    You: "Eh, I'm more of a Sony fan."
    Fat Kid: "Oh, Yeah! I love Sony waaay more than Microsoft."

    MS: We will make every Xbox game compatible on our horribly kludged backwards compatibility.
    Fans: Woo hoo! I'm buying an Xbox 360 then instead of an Xbox since I get the best of both worlds.
    MS: Um, screw this, it's
    • More like:

      Typical Slashdot Reader: Yeah! Screw Microsoft!
      MS: We are still working on backwards compatibility, even if our studies show most people don't care.
      Typical Slashdot Reader: Yeah! Screw Microsoft!
      MS: We are giving away free money.
      Typical Slashdot Reader: Yeah! Screw Microsoft!
      MS: We just found a cure for HIV.
      Typical Slashdot Reader: Yeah! Screw Microsoft!
      • Do you seriously believe that? Honestly. Microsoft's foray into gaming was a quick attempt to capitalize on the relatively large number of dollars spent on gaming. Their approach was shameful, a hastily thrown together stripped down PC and a very small library of games which included very few AAA titles. It had a very narrow target market and was by all acounts a failure on many levels.

        They have made it quite clear that they have no real interests in innovation and moving gaming forward in any way but throu
        • Do you seriously believe that? Honestly. Microsoft's foray into gaming was a quick attempt to capitalize on the relatively large number of dollars spent on gaming. Their approach was shameful, a hastily thrown together stripped down PC and a very small library of games which included very few AAA titles. It had a very narrow target market and was by all acounts a failure on many levels.

          They have made it quite clear that they have no real interests in innovation and moving gaming forward in any way but throu

          • So by your reasoning, because Microsoft was able to offer an online system, that makes the entire system a success? Sure, Xbox Live was innovative... but very little that has been done with it is that innovative. If anything Xbox Live has succeeded DESPITE the Xbox and Microsoft. Due to the lack of games for the 360, people have jumped onto shit like Geometry wars and UNO for God's sake. The player interaction, however, is great. Now they just need a few top games to take advantage of it.

            If you look at your
            • So by your reasoning, because Microsoft was able to offer an online system, that makes the entire system a success?

              Superior hardware, XBOX Live, Out-of-box experience, and game selection were all successful.

              Sure, Xbox Live was innovative... but very little that has been done with it is that innovative.

              That is entirely subjective.

              Due to the lack of games for the 360, people have jumped onto shit like Geometry wars and UNO for God's sake.

              Geometry Wars is one of the most successful XBOX Live ARCADE releases ou

  • Can it play my backups?

: is not an identifier

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