Xbox Series X U-TURN! Microsoft breaks promise to gamers

Upgrading to Xbox Series X might be not be as optional as Microsoft has previously made out

Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Since the Xbox Series X reveal, Microsoft has been telling gamers that they don't need to shell out for its new console this holiday season to play next-gen games, because all of its upcoming titles will be available across its family of consoles. 

That's not the situation with the PS5, which isn't focused on backwards compatibility and has opted to line up some fantastic exclusives instead - like Horizon Forbidden West and Gran Turismo 7 - that will only be playable on the new console; something Xbox boss Phil Spencer has indirectly criticised, but it seems promises about not 'locking people away' from being able to experience next-gen games with a hardware barrier may not be as accurate as all that after all. 

The Xbox Games Showcase this week gave gamers a look at what lies in store with sneak peaks at a number of first-party titles including Fable, State of Decay 3, and Forza Motorsport. As Microsoft has already stated, its Xbox Game Studio titles releasing in the "next couple of years" will be  playable on both the new Xbox Series X as well as the Xbox One:

"You won’t be forced into the next generation. We want every Xbox player to play all the new games from Xbox Game Studios. That’s why Xbox Game Studios titles we release in the next couple of years—like Halo Infinite—will be available and play great on Xbox Series X and Xbox One. We won’t force you to upgrade to Xbox Series X at launch to play Xbox exclusives. "

Earlier this year, Head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty told MCV that Xbox Series X games will "play up and down that family of devices" adding:

"As our content comes out over the next year, two years, all of our games, sort of like PC, will play up and down that family of devices."

In spite of all of this, it looks like that's not the case after all - or there was a snafu behind the scenes - because a total of six Xbox Game Studios titles were presented at the show for Xbox Series X and Windows PC - with no mention of Xbox One support listed anywhere.  

If this is accurate, it's a complete U-turn on what Microsoft has been telling fans - and it'll be even more of a blow given the recent news that the company is ceasing production of its Xbox One X and Xbox One S All-Digital Edition

As we mentioned when that nugget of news dropped, that would make the Xbox Series X and its digital-only counterpart the only hardware within the ecosystem that gamers will be able to turn to for 4K and digital-only gaming. So it seems like Microsoft is very much forcing fans to upgrade by closing off alternate avenues when it comes to hardware, as well as with its first-party titles. 

In a statement to The Verge about its mixed messaging, Microsoft said:

"Our future Xbox Game Studios titles are being developed natively for Xbox Series X. We will continue to invest in tools for devs to scale across consoles. Which consoles each Studio/game can support will be based on what’s best for their game and their community at launch."

When prompted for further clarification on whether the absence of Xbox One support for the six titles was simply a title card error, Microsoft avoided providing an answer, and directed the outlet to a tweet from marketing boss Aaron Greenberg instead:

Things became even more confusing when two of the titles showcased - Avowed and Everwild - which didn't mention Xbox One support during the show, did list Xbox One support on their websites, which has since been removed. 

So Microsoft could be on the hook for a broken promise, and being 'guilty' of the same things it's been pointedly criticising Sony for. 

Source: The Verge

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.