Microsoft executives are on stage right now here in Redmond giving the rundown on the major technological changes in the new Xbox One console, unveiled by the company today. In fact, the changes are big enough that Xbox One won’t be backward compatible with Xbox 360 games, company executives are acknowledging to reporters.
That means that Xbox 360 game discs won’t be playable on the new console, which makes it tougher for longtime Xbox 360 gamers to make the leap to the new hardware. The Verge was first to report the news, quoting Xbox Live executive Marc Whitten. We’ve asked Microsoft for its official statement on the issue.
Update: Here’s the official word from an Xbox One FAQ:
Q: Will Xbox One be backward compatible with my existing games?
A: Xbox One hardware is not compatible with Xbox 360 games. We designed Xbox One to play an entirely new generation of games—games that are architected to take full advantage of state-of-the-art processors and the infinite power of the cloud. We care very much about the investment you have made in Xbox 360 and will continue to support it with a pipeline of new games and new apps well into the future.
Whitten told the press conference that Xbox One will have “three operating systems in one.” The first is the Xbox OS, the second is the Windows kernel, and the third connects them to create instant switching and multitasking.
Working in Microsoft’s favor is that Sony’s PlayStation 4 will also not be backward compatible with the Playstation 3.
Microsoft veteran Dave Cutler, best known as the father of Windows NT, is working on the hypervisor that switches the system back and forth between those two operating systems, company executives said.