Earlier this week, a lengthy report from Ars Technica revealed some interesting details about how Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners use their consoles. For the Xbox One specifically, the report highlighted that Xbox One games accounted for 54.7% of time spent on the gaming console, while Xbox 360 backward compatible games represented just 1.5% of Xbox One usage.
Ars Technica’s data was based on a sample of 930K Xbox One users obtained through a third-party API, but the bits about Xbox 360 backward compatibility weren’t really flattering for the Xbox team, to say the least. However, as the report was based on a sample of Xbox Live users, it doesn’t necessarily tells the whole story.
Anyway, the Xbox team apparently felt the need to share some new hard data proving that Backward Compatibility is a popular feature on the Xbox One (via Thurrott.com). Yesterday, Xbox CMO Mike Nichols shared on Twitter that approximately 50% of Xbox One owners have played backward compatible games on their Xbox One consoles, which represents over 508 million hours of gameplay.
Some q’s today on back compat use. Roughly 50% of xbox one owners have played, over 508 million hrs of gaming enjoyed. #pastpresentfuture
— Mike Nichols (@m1kenichols) June 7, 2017
In the same Twitter thread, Xbox head Phil Spencer added that “usage remains high,” with one or two backward compatible games usually appearing in the daily top played games ranking on Xbox Live
Usually one or two BC games in our daily top played games. Usage remains high. Quality games last and are worth playing.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) June 7, 2017
Xbox One Backward Compatibility originally launched with the New Xbox One Experience back in Fall 2015, and there are now more than 300 Xbox 360 games in the catalog. More importantly, all Xbox 360 games included in the monthly Games with Gold selection are now backward compatible on the Xbox One, and the recently launched Xbox Games Pass also includes a healthy selection of Xbox 360 titles.
Overall, it seems that Backward Compatibility is a very important feature for the Xbox team. It gives Xbox 360 owners a good incentive to upgrade to the Xbox One, and it’s also good for developers and publishers (even though many of them have chosen to release remastered versions of their old games on the Xbox One). Additionally, all Xbox 360 backward compatible titles will be playable on Project Scorpio, the next generation Xbox console that Microsoft is expected to unveil this Sunday at E3.
As Xbox exec Mike Ybarra said earlier this week, backward compatibility remains a key point of differentiation with Sony’s Playstation 4. “We want gamers to play the best games of the past, current, and future,” explained the exec. “It’s what gamers have asked for.”