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Xbox One not backward compatible with Xbox 360 games

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

The Xbox One won't play any existing Xbox 360 games, said Microsoft's Marc Whitten in an interview with The Verge.

The lack of backward compatibility results from the new console's hardware architecture, which is a significant departure from that of the Xbox 360. "The system is based on a different core architecture, so back-compat doesn't really work from that perspective," said Whitten, chief product officer for Xbox.

In a Q&A about the Xbox One posted this afternoon, Microsoft representatives said, "We designed Xbox One to play an entirely new generation of games—games that are architected to take full advantage of state-of-the-art processors and the infinite power of the cloud."

Microsoft "will continue to support [the Xbox 360] with a pipeline of new games and new apps well into the future," reads the Q&A.

The Xbox 360 does support certain original Xbox games through software emulation — more than 450 titles, almost half the console's library — although backward compatibility can be spotty, depending on the game in question.

Sony's PlayStation 4 is in the same situation as the next Xbox — it won't natively support PlayStation 3 games, because the upcoming system's AMD-made "Jaguar" x86 processor is too different from the PS3's Cell processor. Sony hopes to make back catalog games available on the PS4 through streaming and emulation.

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