Xbox Project Manager Explains Process of Backwards Compatible Releases
There is no question the backwards compatibility program has been a huge hit for Xbox. Ever since the program started, there has been a steady stream of outcry for various popular games from the Xbox 360 era to land on the Xbox One. At times it seems like Xbox is really is dragging its feet but truth be told it’s a very complicated process with lots of variables involved. So despite the repeated and annoying pestering request for Black Ops II, things take time.
Bill Stillwell from the Xbox Platform team recently shared some insight into the program and talked about some of those Black Ops II requests. He gave us some insight into the process of ushering a game to the backward compatible program.
Stillwell’s post on Twitter said:
“Twitter is a great medium, but often hard to use to properly answer a complex topic. Lately, there has been another surge in the “We want BOII!!!” tweets. With lots of continued angst and concern over why there is no answer. Combined with the lull in releases for BC overall, I wanted to give more context directly, hence this “wordy” reply.
First, it is important to remember that BC releases have always ebbed and flowed. Just like the industry, some months are loaded, and others are pretty light. We are still 100% committed to the program. I expect big releases in the near future. But unlike the holiday season, big bi-weekly releases of titles are unlikely to happen each and every month.
Yes, I know the upcoming titles, what issues we have with each one (technical or not), and the runway before they launch. I’m still very confident in this year’s plan, and that we’ll see happy customers in the future. Beyond that, it is not my place to communicate those plans. Especially when it involves someone else’s IP.
Releasing a big/popular game, even as a rerelease into the BC program, is a heavily orchestrated event. Publishers often have target dates that coincide With other initiatives, such as sales, or related titles, and they want to maximize the release. We also have long term business relationships, and want them to continue to deliver great news games to the console for many years. It makes no sense to jeopardize that business relationship for a short-term boost.
Additionally, I can’t understate the complexity Of the non-technical part Of this. We are in some cases reviewing licensing agreements that are a decade old, evaluating the impact of new technology on those agreements, and then negotiating with a host of Other parties for terms to get renewed/changed. This is not a quick process most times.
Finally, I do appreciate the well-wishers. I also have no problem with the continued asks. We’ve been doing this for over a year and half, and it’s been a constant stream of “Where’s RDR…Black Ops…Skate 3…BOII…and so on.” And if and when Black Ops II ships, I’m sure there will be another title to take that crown. We even have a pool internally! This is all goodness. I have said many times that I’d much rather work on a project with passionate fans, even if it trends to the annoying at times, than work on something no one cares about. The day no one is clamoring for a game is the day this program is no longer of value!
I’m not going to tell you when BOII is coming. Or Fable, or Halo, or any other game not yet released. I’m not going to tell you that a title is in or out, as those are confidential publisher decisions I am not authorized to reveal. I will just say that we in the program want these games out as much as you do, and are working hard to make them happen. I’d prefer that the entire 360 catalog was already running on the Xbox One With no exceptions. And this team Will continue to move towards making that a reality as long as we can.”
There you have it and sadly this won’t satisfy the Black Ops II ridiculousness but at least we now have more understanding of the enormously complex process. We are still missing some high profile games but remarkably the has more than 300 games.