News Item

Sorry, you won’t be able to play Bomberman: Act Zero on the Xbox One—or any other Xbox 360 game, for that matter

By Matt Gerardi • May 21, 2013

During our liveblog of the Xbox One reveal, the most asked question—other than “What the hell is going on?”—was: Will I be able to play my Xbox 360 games on it? The answer is no, according to a report on Polygon. The Verge, Polygon’s sister site, spoke with Microsoft executive Marc Whitten, who confirmed the news. Whitten said the difference between the techno-guts of the Xbox One and the old Xbox 360 precludes the new system from playing the old games. We heard the same reasoning earlier this year when Sony announced that the PlayStation 4 would not be able to play PlayStation games you already own. Sony, however, hopes to use its space-age game-streaming technology to give PlayStation 4 owners a chance to play their old games. Microsoft has yet to make any such plans known. If you plan on getting one of these new-fangled black rectangles, you better hold onto your old ones.

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30 Responses to “Sorry, you won’t be able to play Bomberman: Act Zero on the Xbox One—or any other Xbox 360 game, for that matter”

  1. Citric says:

    Good thing they announced all those exciting new…

    …oh, wait, that didn’t happen did it?

  2. stakkalee says:

    Disappointing but unsurprising.  Looks like I’ll be a late-adopter again…

    • Bakken Hood says:

      I’m glad I was a late 360 adopter, and they’re giving us ten times as many reasons to do so this time.

      • George_Liquor says:

        Being a late adopter is a good idea in general. It gives the manufacturer a chance to work out the bugs in subsequent hardware revisions before you buy. I have a launch PS2 that’s worthless to me because it scratches the crap out of any disk I put in it.

  3. ddh819 says:

    can’t wait for the first episode of Everybody Loves Master Chief.

  4. zebbart says:

    Is there a valid technological reason this happens on consoles but not on PCs? I thought it made sense in the 90s when consoles were changing cartridge styles every generation to accommodate more storage (or so I though, maybe they were just forcing incompatibility then too), but now when consoles seem to be basically just gaming PCs anyway it’s harder to swallow.

    • To answer you and @George_Liquor:disqus ‘s question below, a major guts change definitely CAN break straight-up compatibility between generations, and the reason PC’s are so backwards compatible, to a point (games made for OS’ older than WinXP, for example, are often broken) is that the guts of PCs haven’t changed much since graphics cards became standard.  Protocols and speeds have changed, but the architecture (CPU, GPU, RAM, disk) has not.

      All that said, considering that Microsoft should have all the design/BIOS information they could possibly need to build a even MEDIOCRE, if not perfect, emulator, and the Xbox One is what? 10 times? more powerful hardware, there’s not a lot of good reasons not to build that feature in that don’t point to purely fiscal reasons.

      • George_Liquor says:

        I understand why this thing won’t play 360 games natively. Like you, I just don’t believe that backwards-compatibility was omitted for technical reasons. I’m hoping MS will see the light & add it sometime in the future.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       As I understand it, the PS4 backwards-compatibility issue is due to the PS3’s crazy architecture involving six processors.  Since the PS4 is going for a more traditional system architecture, trying to emulate the PS3 system would require a lot of plate-spinning. For a more detailed explanation, go here:

      As to why Microsoft is doing this, I have no idea.  I’m hoping they have some solution in mind, like the PS4’s streaming solution, or they are going to see a lot of pissed-off people when they finally shut the 360 out of Xbox Live.

  5. mnorth700 says:

     Yeah, so rentals are dead?

    • Matt Gerardi says:

      This is something that’s not exactly clear yet. According to a story on Wired ( it’s looking like games will have to be installed to the hard drive and then at that point locked to a user account. It you’re playing the game second-hand, you’ll have to pay a fee to activate it. 

      • The_Misanthrope says:

         I feel like they won’t quite cut out the used market yet, but they are trying a sort of dimmer-switch approach where they gradually will make it less convenient and more expensive to buy used.

      • Flying_Turtle says:

        How big is the hard drive in this thing? Unless it’s huge, the options seem like having to delete parts of your library when the hard drive gets full or having to buy a way overpriced peripheral hard drive. Neither of those options really appeals to me.

        • Matt Gerardi says:

          500 GB, built in. Not replaceable. Microsoft claims you can use an external hard drive over USB 3.0 to expand the storage. 

        • Flying_Turtle says:

          @twitter-15878210:disqus Thanks! I looked around for some Xbox 360 install sizes (I suppose I could have looked around for that hard drive size too), and they were mostly in the 4-6 GB range. I own 50-60 games for the 360, so someone like me would probably be okay, assuming file sizes don’t swell in the next generation. That’s probably a bad assumption, though.

  6. George_Liquor says:

    I find that very hard to believe. The architecture of the X360 is entirely different from that of the original Xbox, and it’s backwards-compatible with a majority of Xbox games. Does the Onebox lack the power to emulate a 360 in software or is MS too lazy to write one? And why the heck did they leave the controller basically unchanged if it won’t play the older generation of games?

    • Matt Gerardi says:

      It just doesn’t seem like technology is at the point where these company’s can easily swing software emulation of 360/PS3 games. It’s just really hard to do right now. I obviously wouldn’t say it’s impossible, but given Microsoft’s direction, I doubt the company considers it worth the time and effort.
      As for the controller, it’s an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” situation. The 360 controller is widely-regarded as one of the best ever and has become the modern standard (hence why it’s built into a lot of PC games). Besides, just because the system can’t play old Xbox games doesn’t mean the new games will play any differently. 

      • George_Liquor says:

        I should clarify: I’m dubious that the Xbox Uno lacks the processing chutzpah to emulate an 8+ year-old console, not that I think MS wouldn’t omit that functionality for financial reasons. That move is certainly not without precedent, but it’s a shame not to have the 360’s back-catalog of games available to cushion the Uno if its launch titles turn out to be terrible.

  7. Wow, that’s shitty for me who has never bought an xBox before.

    For me, backwards compatibility is very important for me. I’m currently downloading PSN releases of old PS1 & PS2 games after upgrading to a 1TB hard drive right now, so Sony and Nintendo got the oldschool market locked on target.

    • Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

      This is what you get for stealing Far Cry Blood Dragon.

    • Girard says:

      I suppose options include:
      -Wait for the One to come out, then pick up a cheap (used) 360 when a bunch of folks trade in the old for the new.

      -Wait a few years longer, and there’ll probably be a decent 360 emulator out for PCs (though an awful lot of 360 games are out on PC anyway, and could be played without the performance hit emulation entails…).

      (Actually, does the 360 have any really awesome exclusives that someone who’s already got a PS4 and/or PC is missing out on, though?)

  8. Xyvir says:

    One Million points for the Bomberman Reference. I’m still amazed that games exists, in any universe.

  9. HobbesMkii says:

    Good! I’m glad! It’s not like I wanted to play those games (some of which I paid an actual $60 for) without having to switch machines anyways!

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      There is a certain irony to MS talking about input switching as if it was the trial of Sisyphus and then making you keep your old 360.

  10. I’m so glad I bought all those XBLA games that I can’t play on my (hypothetical) XBONE.  Boy that’s going to do a lot to drive games sales until the new system comes out…

  11. Girard says:

    The old one’s not a black rectangle, so much as an ‘extruded maxi-pad.’

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Hey, mine is a blue and white extruded maxi-pad that makes R2-D2 noises.

      And then there’s my Xbox…