Xbox One will get more original Xbox games, but the process is “complicated”, according to the Xbox head honcho.
Fans of the original Xbox lineup of games were thrilled to hear that their classic games would become playable once again on current hardware when it was announced at E3 last year. To date, 13 original Xbox games have been brought forward via the backwards compatibility program, and the list includes some incredible titles like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Psychonauts, and Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge.
But some were expecting to get a few more than 13 of Xbox’s 143 exclusive titles a little sooner. (there were many more Xbox games than that, but you can get many of the non-exclusive ones on PC). Phil Spencer, head of Xbox at Microsoft, took to Twitter on Saturday to give an update to patient fans.
There are a number of OG games in BC pipeline, they won't drop as often as the 360 games but team is working to validate and get permissions. More complicated with some just due to the age of the rights etc.— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) January 27, 2018
"There are a number of [original Xbox] games in [the backward compatibility] pipeline,” Spencer wrote, adding, “they won't drop as often as the 360 games but team is working to validate and get permissions. More complicated with some just due to the age of the rights etc."
Licensing can be a huge headache when it comes to remaking older games. Often a rights holder will only sell a license for a specific title on a specific console or for a temporary timeframe. Once you want to create a new game for a new console, even if it’s technically just an update or ported version of the older game, you have to get a new license to legally be able to sell the new game.
Sometimes that’s relatively easy - most established IP holders would love to get more money for old property they weren’t really doing a whole lot with. But sometimes the IP gets sold to someone (or more often a corporation) that has plans for the property and doesn’t want to play ball. Or sometimes the IP just gets lost in a legal morass where it becomes unclear just who is the rights holder in the first place.
Add to that the technical challenge of getting a 10-year-old game to work on relatively current hardware, and it’s just often easier (and more profitable) for Microsoft to update a 360 title than an original Xbox title.
But Microsoft remains committed, according to reports, so expect to see more original Xbox games on Games Pass and the Xbox store soon.