Last night, Microsoft announced Xbox One X – and made everyone wear silly t-shirts. Clearly, the current generation of consoles will be iterative possibly extending their lifespan as the suffixed names/letters stack (Will Xbox One Z be next? PS4 Pro Evo?).
Among the announcements was the seemingly consumer friendly move to allow original generation Xbox games to work on the Xbox One family. This means the array of quirky games (as yet unconfirmed which will work) from the relatively short lived console life span can be popped into your Xbox One and party like it’s 2002!
The question is: do we want to? In 2015, the Xbox 360 backwards compatibility announcement got Microsoft a lot of goodwill back and was a huge win on their scorecard. There are two reasons why the original gen Xbox games are less of a big deal though.
Number 1: Digital Purchases
Last gen, our Xbox 360s quickly became havens for downloadable games and horse armour. The initial Xbox Live Arcade soon spread to full, retail release downloads. There were ten years worth of digital purchases stocked up on my 360 when I bought my Xbox One. Just like my idevices, it was great to have tons of games and content from the moment I logged in. When my PS3 died a few years ago it wasn’t too bad because I could sell my boxed games but what sucked was I had seemingly lost my digital games. Luckily, I later picked up a cheap PS3 and could access all my digital content. On the original Xbox there were no fully fledged digital purchases so those ties are not there. I enjoyed loads of amazing games yet those are all since long gone and the lack of a digital ecosystem does not draw me in; despite the superb games released in this era.
Number 2: That’s sooo 2002
It’s a long time since the PS2/Xbox/GameCube generation. The world has changed a lot since then. Firstly, features we expect in all games in 2017 were not always present back then. These include voice chat, achievements and auto-save. That is before gameplay mechanics changed by genre defining games. The original Xbox lived in a pre-Resident Evil 4, pre-Fallout 3, pre-Gears of War world. Over the shoulder 3rd person shooters, popping to cover and dialogue choices were not as refined as they are in 2017. What I’m saying is: would these games be better remastered as opposed to straining Xbox One to pretend it’s older than it is; like a teenager trying to buy alcohol under-age.
Among the games I’d love to replay are:
- Panzer Dragoon Orta
- Shenmue 2
- Conker: Live and Reloaded
- Tiger Woods 2004 (best.golf.game.ever)
What would we rather have? Free, compromised original Xbox experiences or premium, modernised remasters? Let us know in the comments.