The Xbox Series X's Backward Compatibility Effort Is Pretty Interesting

Illustration for article titled The Xbox Series X's Backward Compatibility Effort Is Pretty Interesting
Image: Microsoft

Here’s something I like very much: interviews with console executives about upcoming next-gen machines that get very into hard numbers, internal procedures and an explanation of just how much work went into making sure the Xbox Series X/s backward compatibility was up to scratch.


Like this one that Inverse did with Xbox Director of Program Management Jason Ronald, where he says things like, “We’ve been working on the Xbox Series X and Series S since 2016. Before we even had silicon, we would take performance captures of existing games and run them on a simulator of the next-generation chip. That allowed us to identify potential issues in the silicon before it was even produced.”

See, I don’t care about an executive’s aspirations for a console, or even talk about its specs. But behind-the-scenes chat about a feature like this, with real numbers and interesting little facts, is some good shit. Another example: this army of testers.

We’ve gone through test passes for about the last year, which can take 16 to 24 hours for a single game. We had an army of testers, approximately 500 of them, who went through all of them based on a priority order. If they found issues, our backwards compatibility team would fix that, with no work by developers. The onus is on us to make sure that these games continue to work.

I like this stuff because it takes something we take for granted, something we see simply as a feature, and makes it real, something that had to be designed and tested and implemented by people doing work.

The full interview is good stuff, so definitely go check it out on Inverse.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs



Xbox's commitment to backwards compatibility is absolutely commendable, and the work they do for One X enhancements and now Series X/S enhancements is nothing short of incredible. Especially when almost always this stuff comes with zero original developer input