Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageMicrosoft could bring Xbox 360 games to Windows PCs

By James Walker     Feb 7, 2017 in Technology
Microsoft's Head of Xbox has suggested the company could bring Xbox 360 games to Windows computers in the future. Xbox 360 backwards compatibility is a core feature of the Xbox One, making its extension to Windows 10 a potential future possibility.
Phil Spencer, Microsoft's Xbox head, stirred up speculation that an Xbox 360 emulator for Windows could be in the works with a tweet this week. Replying to a question from a fan, Spencer said that running Xbox 360 games on PCs would be more difficult than on the Xbox One. He ended the message with "never say never" though, suggesting the idea has already been given some thought.
Xbox Play Anywhere
Bringing Xbox 360 games to Windows PCs could be the next step in Microsoft's wider Xbox Play Anywhere strategy. The company is breaking down the boundaries between PC and console gaming, handing the choice of platform back to the players.
As of Windows 10's launch in 2015, it's now possible to stream Xbox One games over a local network to a PC. More recently, Microsoft has begun launching games simultaneously on Xbox One and Windows 10. Formerly console-exclusive franchises are now playable on PCs. Saves and achievements synchronise seamlessly between the platforms, allowing progress to be picked up on either device.
Backwards compatibility on Xbox One
Xbox 360 backwards compatibility remains exclusive to the console though. Added a little over a year ago, it allows a growing library of Xbox 360 titles to run on the Xbox One. An emulation layer is used to provide the games with the Xbox 360 environment they're used to operating in. The feature has proven to be one of the most popular recent additions with fans.
Extending Xbox 360 backwards compatibility to Windows machines could mark another evolution of Microsoft's widening gaming strategy. The barriers between PCs and consoles would be further broken down, allowing last-generation titles to be experienced on Windows. With hundreds of games available, it would also expand the selection of titles in the Windows Store.
Technical challenges
However, Spencer's tweet makes it clear that Microsoft isn't currently working on the feature. Porting backwards compatibility to Windows wouldn't be as straightforward as inserting the Xbox One's existing emulation layer into the operating system. A variety of technical hindrances would make progress difficult while extending the platform.
Notably, there are thousands of different hardware configurations for PCs. The emulator would need to work with every combination, instead of just the Xbox One. This presents a significant technical challenge which could prevent Xbox 360 games from ever coming to Windows.
Microsoft is currently working on other gaming features that will benefit a wider audience. In the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update, it will launch a new "Game Mode" that intelligently tunes system performance to optimise running games. The company is also integrating Beam livestreaming directly into the operating system, making it easier to share gameplay online.
More about Microsoft, Windows, windows 10, Xbox, Xbox 360
Latest News
Top News