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Microsoft employed an army of testers to make Xbox backwards compatibility work

2 min read

One of the draws of the Xbox brand is how it has a heck of a lot of games available on it from a bygone era. Backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 and original Xbox games was a big deal when it was announced several years ago at E3 by Xboss Phil Spencer, and since then Microsoft has continued to add classic games to the Xbox One and Xbox Series X system at a steady clip.

While that retro service is on hold for the time being, it’s still amazing to read just how much work actually went into it. This wasn’t a case of finding a game, flipping a switch and hitting the ‘make game good” button. Microsoft had to employ an army of game testers to check each game, find faults, and get them fixed before a game could be added to the backwards compatible library. “We’ve gone through test passes for about the last year, which can take 16 to 24 hours for a single game,” Xbox Director of Program Management and owner of an awe-inspiring beard Jason Ronald said to Inverse.

We had an army of testers, approximately 500 of them, who went through all of them based on a priority order. If they found issues, our backwards compatibility team would fix that, with no work by developers. The onus is on us to make sure that these games continue to work.

That’s a lot of work for a game that isn’t just made compatible on the Xbox One and its upcoming successor consoles, it’s actually improved upon with an upscaled resolution. Amazing. Currently that library has 577 of the Xbox 360’s library of games available, and 42 of the original Xbox games up for grabs. Sadly, Binary Domain still isn’t one of those games.

But then again I got Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance out of the deal so I’m not complaining too much.

Last Updated: November 5, 2020

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