That stack of old Xbox 360 games collecting dust in a dark corner of your living room? You’ll soon be able to play those in your Xbox One—depending how the voting goes.
Microsoft announced Xbox One backward compatibility during its E3 2015 press conference. The feature is available now to users in the console’s invite-only preview program, but only for a handful of games. It works by running a sort of “virtual Xbox 360” within the Xbox One using a process known as hardware emulation.
Seeing it in action is pretty cool, particularly when you press the Xbox One’s two middle controllers simultaneously and the old Xbox 360 “blade” guide comes up. It feels like a blast from the past, even though it’s what we were gaming on no more than a couple of years ago. Xbox 360 games work seamlessly on the newer hardware, including Xbox Live features, and you can use Xbox One features like screenshots while you’re playing. And backward compatibility is totally free for all users.
Anyway, Microsoft has pledged to get 100 Xbox 360 games working on Xbox One by the holiday season, and determining which 100 is up to you.
Thanks to a voting page opened up on Xbox.com, players can pick the Xbox 360 titles they most want to see work on Xbox One. The site already has tens of thousands of votes tallied, and the most popular games are Rockstar’s open-world Western Red Dead Redemption and Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.
Microsoft has said there’s little extra work involved in getting older games running on the new hardware, now that the company’s engineers have figured out how. It’s mainly a licensing issue, apparently, and whoever owns the rights to each game has to approve it on the new hardware.
It makes sense that Microsoft would want to prioritize the games players are most interested in, since this is basically one big goodwill move for fans (and might help sell some consoles as well).
The 360 games that are already playable on Xbox One include Mass Effect and the shockingly addictive Viva Pinata (be careful not to fall into that trap, trust me). If you’re in the preview program, just pop the 360 disc in and you’ll be prompted to install the game. Check out the full list here.