Xbox ends Backward Compatibility program after one final update

The 70 new titles to be added to its backward compatibility roster in November would be the last due to licensing, legal and technical constraints.
xbox backward compatibility

A unique and much-appreciated feature of the Xbox console ecosystem over the past few years has been the ability to play older Xbox games on newer consoles with improved performance. Starting with the Xbox One and continuing to the newest Xbox Series S and Series X consoles, Microsoft has spent the last five years making sure an increasing number of titles from the original Xbox and Xbox 360 eras would run on the latest hardware.

Now, it seems as if those efforts have come to a close.

As part of the Xbox Anniversary Celebrations, the company announced over 70 new backwards compatible games that would be added to the existing catalog, which numbers around 700 games in total.

It’s far from the complete list of original Xbox and Xbox 360 games, which numbers in the thousands, but many of the most popular titles from those eras have been included. Xbox ran a number of polls over the years to identify the wants of the community.

However, it seems as Xbox has reached its limit on what it can achieve.

Read: Everything announced at the Xbox Anniversary Event

In an Xbox Wire post, Compatibility Program Lead Peggy Lo remarked: ‘While we continue to stay focused on preserving and enhancing the art form of games, we have reached the limit of our ability to bring new games to the catalog from the past due to licensing, legal and technical constraints.’

Although that’s unfortunate news, it’s still remarkable what the company has achieved in this space. Every backwards compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox title that is played on a newer console benefits from features that improve their visual and technical performance while staying faithful to the original product.

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Xbox backward compatibility titles benefit from automatic high-dynamic range enhancements on compatible displays, a resolution increase, and a boost in FPS (frames per second) for selected titles.

Some of the games included in the final round of backwards compatible additions include the entirety of the F.E.A.R. series, the Max Payne series, Timesplitters 2, and a selection of Star Wars titles, and cult classics, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand and Binary Domain among many others.

The full list of Xbox backward compatibility titles can be found on the Major Nelson blog. The full list of new additions can be seen below.

New Xbox Backwards Compatible Games (November 2021)

  • 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand
  • Aces of the Galaxy
  • Advent Rising
  • Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kinadom
  • Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Make the Grade
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Burning Earth
  • Bankshot Billiards 2
  • Beautiful Katamari
  • Binary Doman
  • Black College Football Xperience: Doug Williams Edition
  • Cloning Clyde
  • Conan
  • Darwinia+
  • Dead or Alive 4
  • Dead or Alive 3
  • Dead or Alive Ultimate
  • Death by Cube
  • Disney Universe
  • Disney’s Chicken Little
  • Elements or Destruction
  • F.E.A.R.™
  • F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin™
  • F.E.A.R. 3
  • F.E.A.R. Files
  • Gladius
  • Gunvalkyrie
  • Islands of Wakfu
  • LEGO® The Lord of the Rings
  • Manhunt
  • Max Payne
  • Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
  • Max Payne 3
  • MINI NINJAS
  • Mortal Kombat
  • Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
  • MX vs. ATV Untamed
  • MX vs. ATV Alive
  • NIER
  • Novadrome
  • Oddworld: Munch’ Oddysee
  • Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad
  • Otogi: Myth of Demons
  • Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors
  • Ouake Arena Arcade
  • Outpost Kaloki X
  • R.A.W. – Realms of Ancient War
  • Red Dead Revolver
  • Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
  • Ridge Racer 6
  • Rio
  • Risen
  • Risen 2: Dark Waters
  • Rock of Ages
  • Sacred 2: Fallen Angel
  • Scramble
  • Screwjumper!
  • Secret Weapons Over Normandy
  • Skate 2
  • SpongeBob SquarePants Underpants Slam!
  • SpongeBob’s Truth or Square
  • STAR WARS Starfighter: Special Edition
  • STAR WARS: Episode Ill Revenge of the Sith
  • STAR WARS: The Clone Wars
  • STAR WARS Jedi Knight Il: Jedi Outcast
  • Switchball
  • The First Templar
  • The Outfit
  • Thrillville
  • Thrillville: Off the Rails
  • Time Pilot
  • TimeSplitters: Future Perfect
  • TimeSplitters 2
  • Toy Story Mania!
  • Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment
  • Viva Pinata: Party Animal
  • Warlords

Edmond was the founding managing editor of GamesHub. He was also previously at GameSpot for 13 years, where he was the Australian Editor and an award-winning video producer. You can follow him @EdmondTran