Do game publishers need to allow their 360 games to be compatible on Xbox one?

I don't think third-party publishers have a choice when it comes to Xbox One's backwards compatibility.

With backwards compatibility coming to Xbox One later this year, one has to wonder whether or not certain publishers will reject the idea of their 360 games being playable on Xbox One.

They have no real obligation to makes their games available on Xbox One. But is it the right thing to do? Probably. Is it the right move to appease gamers? Yes it is.

Here are a few reasons why I don't think Microsoft getting permission from publishers will be a problem.

Publisher pressure

If a publisher as big as EA, who we already know has allowed Mass Effect to be backwards compatible, allows any games from their last-gen library to be playable on Xbox One, won't there be pressure on other big third-party publishers to give Microsoft the green light. And let's not even mention the fan outcry if a company publicly refused to let a game be backwards compatible on Xbox One. 

But I don't really agree with the argument that since you own the game anyway, you should be able to play it on Xbox One. Publishers do not owe you this feature - they sold you a game for Xbox 360 so you could play specifically on Xbox 360.

Release the games!

From a PR stand point, it would seem that anything short of allowing backwards compatibility for a game would be a disaster.

So, must publishers allow their Xbox 360 games to be playable on Xbox One? Technically, no. But given the circumstances, I don't think they could refuse.

Perhaps I'm wrong, and publishers will reject backwards compatibility. I'm sure we will see an uptick in used Xbox 360 game sales, which could hinder sales of new games.

But I have a feeling that publishers really will have no choice but to allow their games to have backwards compatibility with Xbox One.


Michael likes video games, movies and is a Pokemon Master. Find Michael on Twitter to keep up with his work @Slevin_Michael

Published Jul. 11th 2015

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