With the advent of the x86-based Xbox One and its high-end successor Project Scorpio Microsoft has said we have entered a future where we do not need to rebuild a new library of games every time a new generation of gaming consoles are released.
According to Xbox head Phil Spencer however there is no guarantees that this will be the case beyond Project Scorpio.
@Andrew_Gilletti It's challenging to predict the future but for me compatibility is a feature we should preserve as long as possible.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) January 26, 2017
His statement that “compatibility is a feature we should preserve as long as possible” suggests that it may be sacrificed in the future for other goals, and is brought into stark contrast when compared to the PC platform where forward and backwards compatibility is virtually guaranteed as long as Windows still exists.
Backwards compatibility is of course not typical of consoles, being a very new feature championed mainly by Microsoft. Spencer’s statement suggests buyers should not rely on this when deciding between spending on Project Scorpio or a gaming PC at the end of the year.