After much excitement and speculation, the mysterious next-generation Xbox hardware codenamed Project Scarlett has officially been unveiled as Xbox Series X. Aesthetically more inline with a PC tower than a conventional games console, its reveal at The Game Awards 2019 has left some prospective buyers with more questions than answers. First and foremost on their minds is whether there’s any form of Xbox Series X backwards compatibility. Don’t worry, though, as here’s everything you need to know about what existing games and peripherals will work with Microsoft’s new Xbox.
Can I play Xbox One games on Xbox Series X?
This is the big question. With so much time and money invested into the current Xbox One ecosystem, it’s only natural that gamers would be reluctant to give it all up in order to switch over to new hardware. Historically, it’s been hit and miss as to whether or not consoles have featured backwards compatibility at launch, if indeed ever at all. To make the problem worse, in instances backwards compatibility has been included, it’s often been in some limited and/or far from ideal capacity.
During the Xbox One console generation, Microsoft has stood at the forefront of trying to rectify that. We’re currently occupying a period where video game preservation is an increasingly pressing issue — digital-only and always-online titles disappearing as they are — and the Xbox manufacturer is striving to help.
Owing to this ethos, Xbox Series X is backwards compatible with Xbox One games. In a statement following the console’s reveal, Microsoft said that “thousands of your favorite games across four generations of gaming” will be supported on the next-gen platform.
Can I play Xbox 360 games on Xbox Series X?
If you’ve been an Xbox devotee for a while now, then you’ll be glad to hear that support for “four generations of gaming” means Xbox Series X backward compatibility also extends to the Xbox 360. It’s still early days, so it isn’t presently clear whether the entire Xbox 360 library will be playable, or just those games that have already been updated to be playable on Xbox One through the existing backward compatibility program.
Regardless, being able to revisit or discover absolute classics like Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption and BioWare’s Mass Effect trilogy for the first time is a huge boon for Xbox Series X owners.
Can I play Xbox games on Xbox Series X?
Once again, Xbox Series X supporting “four generations of gaming” means that the entire history of Xbox will be celebrated on the upcoming platform. Though there’ll definitely be support for original Xbox titles on the next-gen console in some capacity, as with Xbox 360 support, it isn’t currently known whether the entire library will be supported or just the titles that have already been updated to work on Xbox One.
Will my Xbox One controller work on Xbox Series X?
While support for your library of games is great, what about those expensive controllers and peripherals? Microsoft has pretty definitely said that “all your Xbox One gaming accessories” are also covered by backward compatibility. If you were on the fence about buying a shiny new Xbox Elite Series 2 controller for fear of it becoming obsolete when Xbox Series X launches in holiday 2020, that’s no longer a concern.
To really put your mind at ease, know that Head of Xbox Phil Spencer is already using his Elite Series 2 to play Xbox Series X:
And it’s started….this week I brought my Project Scarlett console home and it's become my primary console, playing my games, connecting to the community and yes, using my Elite Series 2 controller, having a blast. Great work by the team, 2020 is going to be an incredible year.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) December 4, 2019
Support for “all your Xbox One gaming accessories” should even mean that third-party controllers will work, alongside additional peripherals like the Guitar Hero Live guitar and Xbox media remotes.