The Xbox One's lack of backward compatibility doesn't just result from hardware differences with the Xbox 360 — it's because Microsoft doesn't believe many players would use it, said Don Mattrick in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
"If you're backwards compatible, you're really backwards," said Mattrick, president of Microsoft's Xbox division.
According to Mattrick, only 5 percent of players use a new system to play games from a previous generation, which means that it didn't make sense for Microsoft to invest in backward compatibility for Xbox One. The new console does not support Xbox 360 games or accessories, although users will be able to carry over non-game content like music, movies and TV shows that they have purchased on Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 features limited support for Xbox games through software emulation.
Microsoft's attitude differs from Sony's position somewhat, even though the PlayStation 4 is not backward-compatible with PlayStation, PlayStation 2 or PlayStation 3 games. Sony is exploring the possibility of providing support in the PS4 for previous-generation titles through emulation as well as the console's cloud-based streaming service, Gaikai.