When Microsoft started talking about its plans for the next Xbox at E3 this year, one of the more overlooked details was something called “Forward Compatibility.” Not wishing to shy away from the work it has achieved with its “Backward Compatibility” program, Microsoft is building its future console with the ability to play older generations of titles right out of the box. While assumed, the company has not outright confirmed that Xbox One peripherals will natively work on the next iteration of Xbox.
Xbox product and marketing manager James Shields responded to a Tweet by Twitch streamer Parris confirming the news. “Yep – all Xbox One controllers,” he said after Parris correctly wrote that he recalled the company announcing the feature at E3. That bodes well for any owners of the Xbox Elite controller, which retails for $149.99 USD.
Yep – all Xbox One controllers!
— James Shields 🎃 (@shieldsjames) October 17, 2019
This forward compatibility isn’t limited to the ultra-expensive models, though. As Shields said, “all” controllers will be compatible. Day one controllers, those updated Bluetooth ones, the now out-of-stock MadCatz tournament sticks: everything will work on the next Xbox without fuss.
As Phil Spencer (head of Xbox) explained during E3, the decision to go down this road was easy. “We thought out our design for Project Scarlett, we definitely wanted to make sure that we were compatible across all the generations. Not just with the games, but the accessories. It’s really us respecting the purchases gamers have made on our platform.”
While something like the transition from the PS3 to the PS4 may have forced Sony’s hand, Microsoft did not have to create a new gamepad for the Xbox One. For all intents and purposes, the current controller is functionally identical to the Xbox 360 gamepad. Obviously, some improvements were made (the less said about the 360’s d-pad, the better), but the basic layout of the Xbox One gamepad mirrors that of Microsoft’s past.
This may potential stifle the input options for developers, but at least it ensures that consumers can pick the controller that works best for them. As fancy and “official” as first-party gamepads are, sometimes even the pros make fumbles. Nintendo is no stranger to that fact, what with the Wii U gamepad being an unwieldy force of nature. Giving some choice back to consumers may help make the decision for a next-generation gaming device easier for some.
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