The Xbox boss is concerned that gaming is losing its history.
Backward compatibility was a key feature of Microsoft’s marketing strategy for the Xbox Series X / S. The company touts that the consoles can play a wide range of original Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One games.
Xbox CEO Phil Spencer was on the Kinda Funny Gamescast to address Xbox efforts to improve access to older games and urged the game industry to improve the way it approaches conservation.
“I’m a little worried about losing our art form and its history,” he said. “When I think about old ROMs and MAME and these things, where those old games are going, like the hardware that is able to run these games … I really wish that we as an industry would come together to help that Preserving history of what gaming is about so we don’t lose the ability to go back. “
He added, “I think about what the Paley Center did for television: Paley saw early on that the television industry was getting ready to literally throw away the tapes that were on those old TV shows, and he said, ‘Hey ‘I want to archive this’. Because at some point someone is going to go back and see the Ed Sullivan Show or something and those things shouldn’t be thrown away. “
“I think it would be great if we as an industry teamed up to preserve the history of our industry so that we don’t lose access to some of the things that got us where we are today and built this industry. That would be a cool thing. “
When asked about the future of game preservation at Xbox, Spencer pointed to cloud gaming as a solution for emulating older systems.
Spencer also noted that peripheral-heavy titles, like those that require Kinect, are difficult to obtain outside of the original hardware.
“Kinect is difficult simply because we d on’t support the device. That’s one of the things about games, when you get to real custom hardware I go back to Steel Battalion or something, ”he said.
“When the team figured out how to emulate Power PC instruction sets on an X86 set that brought us back from the 360 to the Xbox One, we were fortunate that the Xbox One had enough processing power to do this emulation.”
“When we’re in the cloud, we don’t have to worry about the local computing power to emulate these old systems. Most of these old systems are pretty low-spec, so it’s not a huge problem, but I like that we are able to extend it beyond the device someone has in their home. “
“… This is one of the [Gründe]why we’re looking at the cloud and we’re continuing to work on our backward compatibility which we’re still working on because I want these games to still be playable. And not just from an Xbox standpoint: take Psychonauts … I want someone to be able to play it no matter what controller they want to use or what platform they bought it on. “