Xbox 360 Backward Compatibility

Playing Original Xbox Games on the Xbox 360

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 9: The Microsoft XBOX 360 is seen at the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center January 9, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada
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Certain games for the original Xbox can be played on the Xbox 360. There are more than 400 titles that can be played, and they cover most of the big name games. Results of playing an Xbox game on the Xbox 360 can vary in quality and playability, and backward compatibility does come with limitations.

Note that the Xbox One is not the original Xbox; the Xbox One is a newer system that came after the Xbox 360. What's mentioned below is about the original 2001-2005 Xbox console games that work on the Xbox 360, not whether or not you can play Xbox 360 games on Xbox One.

Why Play Xbox Games on an Xbox 360?

There are benefits to playing your Xbox games on the Xbox 360. Besides it being convenient to play both systems' games on one console, compatible Xbox games played on your 360 will be upscaled to 720p/1080i resolution (assuming you have an HDTV) and will take advantage of full-screen anti-aliasing.

Xbox Games That Work on Xbox 360

Halo, Halo 2, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Psychonauts and Ninja Gaiden Black are just some of the Xbox games you can play on Xbox 360. More can be found on the compatibility list.

Backward Compatibility Requirements

One requirement for backward compatibility is a hard drive, which means that the 4 GB Xbox 360 slim will not work with backward compatibility unless you add a hard drive to it. An added hard drive also must be an official Microsoft Xbox 360 hard drive. Third-party drives you may find cheaper on eBay will not have the necessary partitions that permit backward compatibility.

When you place a backwardly compatible Xbox game in an Xbox 360, an update will download from Xbox Live automatically. If it doesn't start automatically, you can also initiate the download manually.

Compatibility Limitations

Backward compatibility is a consumer-friendly selling point, and it is a useful feature to offer. However, because games played on the newer system aren't running in the original, native environment, the results aren't always as good as one might hope.

For example, if you want to continue saved games from the original Xbox you will be disappointed. Game saves can't be transferred from the Xbox to the Xbox 360. Also, you can't play original Xbox games online because Xbox Live has been discontinued for those original games.

Backward compatible original Xbox games don't always work or look appreciably better when played on Xbox 360. Some have new glitches, graphical problems, framerate issues, or other things that degrade the quality of the gameplay and that weren't seen with the original Xbox. For this reason, it is recommended that you buy an original Xbox console if you really want to play older Xbox games. The performance will be a lot more consistent. The Xbox controller is also laid out quite a bit differently from the Xbox 360 controller, so playing the games with the original controller the games were designed for will make gameplay easier and more enjoyable.