Xbox Series X backwards compatibility limited by THIS feature

Microsoft adds a caveat to which current-gen games will be compatible with the Xbox Series X

Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has made a big deal about the Xbox Series X's backwards compatibility, saying that every game that's currently playable on the Xbox One and Xbox One X (including the Xbox 360 and backwards-compatible Xbox games) can be played on its upcoming console.

However, the tech giant has just revealed that this isn't the case, as the backwards compatibility of the Xbox Series X comes with a caveat.  

Xbox boss Phil Spencer clarified the limits of the Xbox Series X's backwards compatibility in a blog post this week, although it's not the bad news you may think:

"It’s our intent for all Xbox One games that do not require Kinect to play on Xbox Series X at the launch of the console. And because of the unprecedented power of Xbox Series X, most of your favorite games will load faster and look and perform many times better on the new console."

So in a nutshell, any Kinect games won't be compatible with the Xbox Series X when the new console launches this holiday season. While we knew that the next-gen hardware will allow gamers "to play four generations of games on Xbox Series X on day one," this is the first time Microsoft has made fans aware of this exception.

This isn't a massive surprise as despite the many uses for the Kinect outside of gaming, it didn't take off as an entertainment device and was discontinued in 2017. The current gen Xbox One X supports Kinect games but only with the use of the USB Kinect Adapter, which ceased production in 2018. 

Spencer added that gamers won't be "forced into the next generation" saying that Xbox Game Studios titles released over the next few years will be playable on Xbox Series X and Xbox One.

Interestingly, Microsoft has just announced that it'll be stopping production of the Xbox One X and Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, meaning that the only way for gamers in the company's console ecosystem who want to play their games in 4K, or on an all-digital platform, will be to buy the Xbox Series X or its cheaper, digital-only counterpart. Alternatively, they can rush out to snap up the current hardware before retailers run out of stock. You can check out today's best deals on both consoles below.  

Shabana Arif

Shabana worked at as News Editor covering tech and gaming, and has been writing about video games for almost a decade (and playing them since forever). She's had bylines at major gaming sites during her freelance career before settling down here at T3, and has podcasts, streaming, and video content under her belt to boot. Outside of work, she also plays video games and should really think about expanding her hobbies. If you have any tech or gaming tips, shoot over an email or DM her on social media.