Xbox Series X Is Backwards Compatible With Every Generation of Xbox | Here’s What That Means

The Xbox Series X is fully backwards compatible with every previous generation of the Xbox Console. This awesome news was shared by Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox on the Xbox Wire blog. This confirms previous reports — and promises from Microsoft — that the Xbox Series X would unite all four generations of Xbox onto a single console, allowing you to play your old library of games, or purchase any of them from the Xbox Live store.

According to the news, the Xbox Series X will be very different from previous generations. Instead of simply emulating old games, or forcing you to download fixed versions like on the Xbox One, the Xbox Series X is planned to be fully encompassing. No extra downloads required, no updates from publishers needed, and no question about the version you’re purchasing — if you buy a copy of a game on Xbox One, you’ll own that same game on Xbox Series X.

There’s a lot more you need to know in the new blog post, so let’s go over the most important bullet points to break down the basics of Xbox Series X backwards compatibility.


To understand how Xbox Series X backwards compatibility is different from previous generations of the Xbox console, here’s a quick rundown of the features you need to know. Basically — it will be much easier (and more seamless) to play games on the Xbox Series X. Xbox One purchases will also carry over to Xbox Series X — that Cyberpunk 2020 you purchased on Xbox One? Yeah, you’ll own it on Xbox Series X too.

  • Games you buy on Xbox One, you may also own on Xbox Series X. The new ‘Smart Delivery’ system gives you the best possible version of each game, no matter which console you buy on.
    • This system is guaranteed to work on all Microsoft-published games. Developers will have the option to use Smart Delivery — but some publishers may opt-out and choose to re-sell different versions of the same game.
  • Xbox One accessories will work with the Xbox Series X. The Xbox One Controller and other Bluetooth add-ons will continue to work.
    • Xbox Original or Xbox 360 controllers? Those have not been announced.
  • The Xbox Series X will play Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Xbox Original games. No developer input is required — all previous generations will just work.
    • Previous generations of games will ‘benefit from steadier frame rates, faster loading times, and improved resolution and visual fidelity‘ on the Xbox Series X.
  • Xbox Games Pass will offer games on all four previous generations, and will carry-over, giving you access to Xbox One games and Xbox Series X games.

This is great news for fans of old-school games, and the best possible news if you’re a gamer like me — now I can finally put the Xbox 360 console away. This is exactly what I was waiting for, and here’s hoping the PS5 will announce something comparable.