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When it comes to backwards compatibility, Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, is a man devoted to keeping the past alive.
The ability to play original #Xbox games on modern consoles is a feature so often requested it's a wonder why it took so long to come about. The central crux of Phil Spencer's explanation? Games are a service, as he told Giant Bomb. This is a model Microsoft has been adapting over the past few years and seems to be putting more and more focus on.
If you really want to see what I'm talking about, you can check out the interview below — he's not shy when discussing how he feels about games:
What if Phil Spencer is right and single-player games are going away?
When you look at games such as Destiny, The Division, The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind, which players are throwing hundreds, if not thousands of hours into, you realize none are defined by their single-player experiences. Mostly because those experiences no longer exist. The experience of single-player games seems to be slowly on their way out due to the ever-growing space of free-to-play games that require online connections.
Even smash-hit titles such as Darksouls III, Diablo 3, and even Dying Light allow themselves to be influenced by their cooperative elements. This is something that players didn't see as much back on Xbox 360. There was always a question whether or not gamers would be able to see games with coop at their central focus. One thing Phil is right about? Those older games allow us to revisit experiences we once had and enjoyed.
Can Xbox One X Help Backwards Compatibility or Will it Kill Backwards Compatibility?
If there's one thing Microsoft has been good at, it's keeping things such as backwards compatibility at the forefront, and helping press longevity of games from a decade or more ago. With the demand for past enjoyment growing, it's certain that the Xbox One X will have to adapt Microsoft's approach at keeping older games alive. While modern machines (PC's) do this, it's a goal for Microsoft to show they can do this with their current-generation consoles.
The issue isn't whether or not that #XboxOneX can keep the backwards compatibility alive, but whether or not this will cast a shadow on 4K gaming. It's whether or not Microsoft has the capability to manage both of the features and progressively aim to centralize them all as apart of the Xbox One's core elements.
While we do move forward, Phil Spencer has an extremely valid point: Single-player games face a very unsure future. There is no idea whether or not they will disappear or if we will see some of them there. It's just a matter of if, when, and where they will fade away or if they will come back stranger than ever before.
Will Single Player Experiences Ever Go Fully Away?
While Phil Spencer does raise some very valid points regarding this matter. What is a future without a single-player game? If you look they are becoming rarer and rarer these days due to internet accessibility. We are seeing games veer off the beaten path to attempt to capture single player adventures. We are even seeing companies attempt to make single-player adventures possible in large scale online-only games.
Take titles such as The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind for an example. It's a game that prides itself upon being a MMO. It's also a game that could very well pride itself in allowing gamer to enjoy a single player experience in this massively online world. While there have been plenty ways to do so published all over the internet, it brings us back to the point: It's not a single player game. It's not a game where you can play it 100% through without the help of other players.
While it is certain that the single player experience will never fully go away, but it is certainly one that many developers have begun to shy away from for the cooperative experience. Lets just hope it never does fully vanish for this alternative.