As of right now, neither Xbox One nor PlayStation 4 will be backwards compatible in any form whatsoever. While Sony promises to remedy this in the future with the power of Gaikai, we haven't yet heard of a similar measure being looked into by Microsoft… until now.
According to senior director Albert Penello, the next-gen gaming box from the Big M could very well support older titles through its Azure cloud servers sometime in the future. When asked about the possibility of a Gaikai equivalent on Xbox One, Penello told Gamespot:
Yeah, absolutely. That's one of the things that makes [the cloud] at the same time both totally interesting and hard to describe to people. Because what the cloud can do is sort of hard to pin. When you say to the customer, we want the box to be connected, we want developers to know that the cloud is there. We’re really not trying to make up some phony thing.
But there are so many things that the servers can do. Using our Azure cloud servers, sometimes it’s things like voice processing. It could be more complicated things like rendering full games like a Gaikai and delivering it to the box. We just have to figure out how, over time, how much does that cost to deliver, how good is the experience.
I'm sure no one would argue that the option to have the entire Xbox 360 catalog at your fingertips would be a bad thing. It will certainly be interesting to see how both Sony and Microsoft handle the digital-heavy cloud-based future as we move into the next generation of gaming.
Sound off in the comments below, letting us know whether or not you think Microsoft will be able to pull this off down the road. Is it something that is even all that important to you in the first place?