MS 'to drop' Xbox compatibility from Xbox 2

New console, new games


Microsoft's Xbox 2 console will not be backwardly compatible with the current version, sources close to the company claim.

Backwards compatibility has, arguably, been crucial to Sony's success in the console arena, so it was always assumed that Xbox 2 would play Xbox 1 titles. That assumption was challenged when it emerged that the second-generation Xbox would be based on PowerPC rather than x86 technology, but Microsoft's acquisition of x86-on-PowerPC emulation software Virtual PC was thought to provide the software giant with a way to embrace an entirely new - and theoretically less hackable - hardware architecture while retaining that oh-so-important Xbox 1 software base.

Well, it's not as important as all that it seems. According to a GamesIndustry.biz report citing sources close to the Xbox 2 development project, the new console will not support old Xbox games.

Said sources reveal that Microsoft's own research indicates that in the end only ten per cent of PlayStation 2 buyers factored backward compatibility into their purchasing decision. That's a percentage MS apparently feels it can risk alienating, so Xbox 1 support has been crossed off the spec sheet.

It's certainly brave of Microsoft to take such a risk, if indeed that's what it has chosen to do. Traditionally successor consoles have always been incompatible with their predecessors, but Sony's decision to allow PS2s to play PS1 games is now viewed as the key to its success.

And observers coming to consoles from the PC market, where compatibility with older code is largely taken for granted, even though it doesn't always work, have naturally assumed that the same dynamic applies here and have reinforced the broader belief in the foundation of Sony's success.

Yet the PS1 was highly successful, and it had no predecessor user-base to build on, just good games, a cool look and Sony's undeniably weighty brandname. All these factors are as likely to have favoured PS2 as much as if not more than backwards compatibility.

The question is, has Sony's move with PS2 changed the console market's dynamics? MS presumably believes it hasn't, but it's telling that Nintendo's upcoming Nintendo DS handheld will support old GameBoy Advance titles. Its next-generation console, 'Revolution', may likewise support GameCube games. And Sony has said PS3 will play PS2 and PS1 titles. Right or wrong, backwards compatibility is a bandwagon everyone else is jumping on. ®

Related stories

Xbox 2 innards laid bare on web
MS pronounces TSMC an 'Xbox 2' partner
Microsoft looks to SiS for Xbox 2 I/O chips
ATI confirms Xbox 2 win
MS unwraps XNA for games developers
Microsoft takes hard drive out of Xbox 2
Xbox 2 to sport three 64-bit IBM chips, ATI R500
Xbox 2 to get 65nm CPU - report
Microsoft wants non-standard media for Xbox 2?
Nintendo plots next-gen console 'Revolution'
PS3 will play PS2, PSone games. Official


Other stories you might like

  • It's primed and full of fuel, the James Webb Space Telescope is ready to be packed up prior to launch

    Fingers crossed the telescope will finally take to space on 22 December

    Engineers have finished pumping the James Webb Space Telescope with fuel, and are now preparing to carefully place the folded instrument inside the top of a rocket, expected to blast off later this month.

    “Propellant tanks were filled separately with 79.5 [liters] of dinitrogen tetroxide oxidiser and 159 [liters of] hydrazine,” the European Space Agency confirmed on Monday. “Oxidiser improves the burn efficiency of the hydrazine fuel.” The fuelling process took ten days and finished on 3 December.

    All eyes are on the JWST as it enters the last leg of its journey to space; astronomers have been waiting for this moment since development for the world’s largest space telescope began in 1996.

    Continue reading
  • China to upgrade mainstream RISC-V chips every six months

    Home-baked silicon is the way forward

    China is gut punching Moore's Law and the roughly one-year cadence for major chip releases adopted by the Intel, AMD, Nvidia and others.

    The government-backed Chinese Academy of Sciences, which is developing open-source RISC-V performance processor, says it will release major design upgrades every six months. CAS is hoping that the accelerated release of chip designs will build up momentum and support for its open-source project.

    RISC-V is based on an open-source instruction architecture, and is royalty free, meaning companies can adopt designs without paying licensing fees.

    Continue reading
  • The SEC is investigating whistleblower claims that Tesla was reckless as its solar panels go up in smoke

    Tens of thousands of homeowners and hundreds of businesses were at risk, lawsuit claims

    The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into whether Tesla failed to tell investors and customers about the fire risks of its faulty solar panels.

    Whistleblower and ex-employee, Steven Henkes, accused the company of flouting safety issues in a complaint with the SEC in 2019. He filed a freedom of information request to regulators and asked to see records relating to the case in September, earlier this year. An SEC official declined to hand over documents, and confirmed its probe into the company is still in progress.

    “We have confirmed with Division of Enforcement staff that the investigation from which you seek records is still active and ongoing," a letter from the SEC said in a reply to Henkes’ request, according to Reuters. Active SEC complaints and investigations are typically confidential. “The SEC does not comment on the existence or nonexistence of a possible investigation,” a spokesperson from the regulatory agency told The Register.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021