Xbox One backwards compatibility explained (and what does the PS4 offer?)

Everything you need to know about getting your old games up and running…

13 Aug 2018

New consoles are an exciting investment, but what do you do when you realise that your existing games library – a library you’ve painstakingly built up over several years – no longer works with your new machine? Game incompatibility across hardware generations is a reality all consumers must begrudgingly face.

But there is a silver lining. Owners of the Xbox One, Xbox One S or Xbox One X now have access to backwards compatibility, a feature that is bringing those old Xbox 360 games back to life. 

In essence, the Xbox One is able to emulate (or mimic) the original Xbox 360 system. This emulation layer is automatically bundled with Microsoft’s routine updates, so you don’t have to tinker with anything on the Xbox One to activate it.

The upshot is that most of your library is now playable on your current-gen console, and that includes those discs you’ve been using as coffee coasters.

To help you along, we’ve put together a handy guide to cover all the basics, looking at:

  1. All the great games you can play on your Xbox One
  2. What X Enhanced means
  3. Why Sony hasn’t offered backwards compatibility
  4. What Sony offers as an alternative

Xbox One backwards compatibility

Will Microsoft let me play my old games on my Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X?

Irrespective of whether you have an Xbox One, a Slim or an X, you can now play 500+ Xbox 360 and Xbox Original discs in your machine. Jump to the end of the article for the full list. 

How does Xbox One backwards compatibility work?

Microsoft has developed software that imitates Xbox 360 hardware and tricks a 360 game into thinking it’s running on the old system. And, since Microsoft has a dedicated team working on backwards compatibility, they’re able to get these games running better than they ever did before.

Are there some games that are not backwards compatible?

Microsoft has done a fantastic job bringing most of the classics over to new devices, but games that haven’t yet been ported include Max Payne 3 (Xbox 360) and the Splinter Cell trilogy on the original Xbox. If you’re a diehard Resident Evil fan, you’ll be disappointed to hear that Resident Evil 5 and are not yet supported either. Nor, strangely, is Skyrim. Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3 HD Edition are missing too, though it should be stressed that Microsoft is adding new classics all the time.

…So, what is Xbox One X Enhanced?

Xbox One X owners are in for a treat! Microsoft has handpicked a selection of Xbox 360 games, revisited them, and wrung the most it can out of the original code. These games now support 4K resolution and other enhancements like high dynamic range lighting, improved textures and vastly better loading times. Seeing an X Enhanced game playing side by side with its Xbox 360 original is night and day.

Note: This feature is only available on the Xbox One X console.

If you’re lucky enough to own an X, simply pop the Xbox 360 original disc into the tray, download the free update and away you go. Granted, the list of X Enhanced games is small, but it’s growing slowly but surely:

What are the X Enhanced titles?

(Up to date as of 31/7/2018)

  1. Assassin’s Creed
  2. Crackdown
  3. Darksiders
  4. Fable Anniversary
  5. Fallout 3
  6. Forza Horizon
  7. Gears of War 2
  8. Gears of War 3
  9. Halo 3
  10. Mirror’s Edge
  11. Oblivion
  12. Portal 2
  13. Red Dead Redemption
  14. Skate 3
  15. Sonic Generations
  16. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
  17. Witcher II

Did you know?

X Enhanced titles let you switch between a Performance mode (60 frames per second) and a Graphics mode (4K at 30 frames per second).

To toggle between the two options: 

  • Press the “Menu” and “View” buttons on your Xbox One X controller at the same time.
  • Hit the “Settings” option and go to “Xbox One X settings”.
  • Switch between Graphics or Performance modes using the right bumper.

X Enhanced or not, what are some of the best games to play for the first time?

  1. Dead Space 2  

Isaac Clarke endures a day he’s never going to forget in Dead Space 2. If jump scares and an atmosphere thick with dread are your thing, this is one of the best games of the last generation.

  1. Fallout 3 (Xbox One X enhanced)

Does it get any better? The first fully 3D open-world Fallout is playable in glorious 4K on an Xbox One X.

  1. Far Cry 3

One of the most underrated games of the last generation, Far Cry 3 looks a treat all these years later.

  1. Gears of War 3 (Xbox One X Enhanced)

Assume the role of Marcus Fenix in crisp 4K on the Xbox One X. No matter which console you play it on, Gears of War 3 is one of the best games of the last generation.

  1. Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto IV hasn’t had the X Enhanced treatment, but it still benefits from the Xbox One’s extra horsepower. Frame rates are improved, allowing you to enjoy the story of Niko Bellic in greater fidelity.

  1. Halo 3 (Xbox One X Enhanced)

Everyone has their favourite Halo title, but the way Microsoft has enhanced the trilogy-concluding is a joy to see.

  1. Mass Effect series

If you haven’t had a chance to play the Mass Effect games before, you owe it to yourself to get the whole trilogy in one juicy box set. Explore the galaxy as Commander Shepherd and choose whether to be an evil sadist or a man/woman of the people.

  1. Portal 2 (Xbox X enhanced)

Few games are as funny or as inventive as Portal 2. The classic is made all the better on Xbox One X, with smoother edges and a marked jump in resolution.

  1. Red Dead Redemption (Xbox One X enhanced)

Now is the perfect time to revisit John Marston’s story.

  1. Vanquish

Fast, fun and frenetic, Vanquish is a blast to play and you can pick up a bargain copy for a couple of pounds.

  1. The Orange Box

No games collection is complete without a copy of The Orange Box, which bundles Half-Life 2 with its episodes One and Two, as well as Team Fortress 2 and the original Portal. Get this collection alongside Portal 2.

  1. The Witcher II (Xbox One X enhanced)

Even all these years later, The Witcher II is one of the most technically demanding games of all time, and its X Enhancements reveal features that were never possible on the Xbox 360.

Just a note: games like Borderlands, Dark Souls and Bioshock aren’t featured in this list as they’re available as first-party Xbox One and PS4 titles in remastered form.

PS4 backwards compatibility

Does the PS4 offer backwards compatibility?

In a word, no. True backwards compatibility is not a feature Sony has unveiled. That is, you can’t buy a PlayStation 3 game and play it on your PlayStation 4.


One reason might be the way the PlayStation 3 was built. During its lifecycle it had a reputation for being extremely complicated to develop games for, and the challenge of getting an emulator to mimic it might be proving prohibitively costly.

In any event, Sony has gone a different route. The company has chosen to remaster some of its classic titles, like Shadow of the Colossusrepackaging these games with overhauled graphics.

What’s the difference between a remaster and a game that’s backwards compatible?

Remasters are re-released in a new box with a new price tag for a new console. They generally come with significant improvements that bring them up to speed with contemporary standards.

In lieu of backwards compatibility, what else does Sony offer?

Sony has also made 50+ PlayStation 2 titles available for download from their online hub, the PlayStation Network. Just bear in mind that those old PS2 discs in your garage aren’t going to work, so you’ll need to buy the digital copies instead.

The full list of PS2 games that can be bought from the PSN and played on a PS4 is as follows:

  1. ADK Damashii
  2. Ape Escape 2
  3. Arc The Lad: Twilight of the Spirits
  4. Art of Fighting Anthology
  5. Canis Canem Edit (Bully)
  6. Dark Chronicle
  7. Dark Cloud
  8. Destroy All Humans!
  9. Destroy All Humans! 2
  10. Everybody’s Tennis
  11. Fahrenheit
  12. FantaVision
  13. Fatal Fury Battle Archives: Volume 2
  14. Forbidden Siren
  15. Fu’un Super Combo
  16. GTA 3
  17. GTA: San Andreas
  18. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy
  19. GTA: Vice City
  20. Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life
  21. Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland
  22. Jak 3
  23. Jak II: Renegade
  24. Jak X: Combat Racing
  25. Kinetica
  26. Manhunt
  27. Max Payne
  28. Metal Slug Anthology
  29. Okage: Shadow King
  30. PaRappa The Rapper 2
  31. Primal
  32. Psychonauts
  33. Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords
  34. Red Dead Revolver
  35. Red Faction
  36. Red Faction 2
  37. Resident Evil – Code: Veronica X
  38. Rise of the Kasai
  39. Rockstar Games PS2 Classics Bundle
  40. Rogue Galaxy
  41. Samurai Showdown VI
  42. Star Ocean Till The End Of Time
  43. Star Wars: Bounty Hunter
  44. Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter
  45. Star Wars: Racer Revenge
  46. The Jak and Daxter Collection
  47. The King of Fighters 2000
  48. The King of Fighters ‘98 Ultimate Match
  49. The King of Fighters Collection
  50. The Mark of Kri
  51. The Warriors
  52. Twisted Metal: Black
  53. War of the Monsters
  54. Wild Arms 3

The other option is to join PlayStation Now. PS4, PS4 and PS2 games are available on the service and are all hosted on Sony’s servers, so you can play them remotely using a broadband internet connection. Sony sets the minimum-required broadband speed at 5 mb/s, but you’ll likely want to double that for the best performance. Check out our range of gaming routers, ideal for high internet use.  

And, while you won’t be able to pop down to your local second-hand shop to pick up the titles you love, Sony has got a robust selection available to stream. Just make sure your internet connection is up to the job.   

0 day Attack on Earth

3D Ultra Minigolf

A Kingdom for Keflings

A World of Keflings

Aegis Wing

Age of Booty

Alan Wake*

Alan Wake’s American Nightmare

Alaskan Adventures*

Alice: Madness Returns

Alien Hominid HD

Altered Beast

Anomaly Warzone Earth



Army of Two

Assassin’s Creed (Xbox One X Enhanced)

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood

Assassin’s Creed II

Assassin’s Creed III

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag

Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD

Assassin’s Creed Revelations

Assassin’s Creed Rogue

Assault Heroes 2


ATARI Asteroids/Asteroids Deluxe

Axel & Pixel*

Babel Rising*

Band of Bugs

Banjo-Kazooie: N and B



Batman: Arkham Origins*

BattleBlock Theater

Battlefield 1943

Battlefield 3

Battlefield: Bad Company

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Battlestations: Midway


Beat’n Groovy

Bejeweled 2

Bejeweled 3

Bellator: MMA Onslaught

Beyond Good & Evil HD

Bionic Commando Rearmed 2


BioShock 2

BioShock Infinite

BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien*

Black (Original Xbox)

Blazing Angels*

Blinx: The Time Sweeper (Original Xbox)

Blood Knights

Blood of the Werewolf


BloodRayne 2 (Original Xbox)

BloodRayne: Betrayal

Blue Dragon

Bomberman Battlefest

Boom Boom Rocket


Borderlands 2

Bound by Flame


Brain Challenge

Breakdown (Original Xbox)

Bullet Soul

Bullet Soul: Infinite Burst

Bully Scholarship Ed.

Burnout Paradise*

Burnout Revenge

Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013*

Cabela’s Hunting Expeditions*

Cabela’s Survival: SoK*

Call of Duty 2

Call of Duty 3

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Call of Duty: Ghosts

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Call of Duty: World at War

Call of Juarez Gunslinger

Capcom Arcade Cabinet


Cars 2: The Video Game

Cars: Mater-National

Castle Crashers

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse


Castlevania: Symphony of the Night


Centipede & Millipede

Child of Eden


Comic Jumper

Comix Zone

Commanders: Attack of the Genos

Condemned: Criminal Origins

Conker: Live and Reloaded (Original Xbox)


Costume Quest 2

Counter-Strike: GO

Crackdown (Xbox One X enhanced)

Crazy Taxi

Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge (Original Xbox)

Crystal Defenders

Crystal Quest

Cyber Troopers

Dante’s Inferno

Dark Souls

Dark Void

Darksiders (Xbox One X enhanced)

Darksiders II


de Blob 2

Dead Rising 2: Case West

Dead Rising 2: Case Zero

Dead Space

Dead Space 2

Dead Space 3

Dead Space Ignition

Dead to Rights (Original Xbox)

Deadfall Adventures

Deadliest Warrior

Deadliest Warrior: Legends

Deadly Premonition*

DeathSpank: Thongs Of Virtue

Defense Grid: The Awakening

Destroy All Humans! (Original Xbox)

Deux Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut

Dig Dug

DiRT 3*

DiRT Showdown*

Discs of Tron

Disney Bolt

Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two

Disney Pixar Brave: The Video Game

Divinity II – The Dragon Knight Saga

Domino Master


Doom 3 BFG Edition*

Doom II

Doritos Crash Course

Double Dragon Neon

Dragon Age 2

Dragon Age: Origins

Dragon’s Lair

Driver San Francisco*

DuckTales: Remastered

Duke Nukem Manhattan Project

Dungeon Siege III

Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara

Earth Defense Force 2017

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon

Earthworm Jim HD*

Eat Lead

Encleverment Experiment

Escape Dead Island

Every Extend Extra Extreme

F1 2014

Fable Anniversary (Xbox One X enhanced)

Fable Heroes

Fable II

Fable II Pub Games

Fable III

Faery: Legends of Avalon

Fallout 3 (Xbox One X enhanced)

Fallout: New Vegas

Far Cry 2

Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon

Feeding Frenzy          Arcade

Feeding Frenzy 2

Fight Night Champion

Fighting Vipers

Final Fight: Double Impact



Forza Horizon (Xbox One X enhanced)

Foul Play

Fret Nice


Frogger 2

Frontlines: Fuel of War

Full Spectrum Warrior (Original Xbox)

FunTown Mahjong

Fuzion Frenzy (Original Xbox)

Galaga          Arcade

Galaga Legions

Galaga Legions DX

Garou: Mark of the Wolves

Gatling Gears

Gears of War

Gears of War 2 (Xbox One X enhanced)

Gears of War 3 (Xbox One X enhanced)

Gears of War: Judgment

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved        Arcade

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2


Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime

Gin Rummy

Girl Fight

Go! Go! Break Steady

Goat Simulator

Golden Axe*

Golf: Tee It Up!

Grabbed by the Ghoulies (Original Xbox)

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (original Xbox disc version also compatible)

Grid 2

Grid Autosport



Guardian Heroes

Gunstar Heroes




Half-Minute Hero

Halo 3 (Xbox One X enhanced)

Halo 3: ODST Campaign Edition

Halo 4

Halo Wars

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

Halo: Reach

Halo: Spartan Assault

Hard Corps: Uprising

Hardwood Backgammon

Hardwood Hearts

Hardwood Spades

Harms Way

Haunted House

Heavy Weapon

Hexic 2

Hexic HD

Hitman: Absolution

Hitman: Blood Money

Hunter: The Reckoning (Original Xbox)

Hydro Thunder Hurricane

I Am Alive



Injustice: Gods Among Us (+ disc only Ultimate Edition)

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet


Iron Brigade

Jade Empire (Original Xbox)

Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad

Jet Set Radio

Jetpac Refuelled

Jewel Quest

Joe Danger 2: The Movie

Joe Danger Special Edition


Joy Ride Turbo


Jurassic Park: The Game

Just Cause 2

Kameo: Elements of Power

Kane & Lynch 2

Killer Is Dead

KOF: Sky Stage

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

Lazy Raiders

Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead 2

LEGO Batman

LEGO Indiana Jones

LEGO Indiana Jones 2

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game

LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars

LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga


Lode Runner

Lost Odyssey

Lumines Live!

Luxor 2

Mad Tracks

Madballs Babo: Invasion

Mafia II

Magic 2012

Magic 2013

Magic 2014 — Duels of the Planeswalkers

Magic: The Gathering

Marlow Briggs and the Mask of the Death

Mars: War Logs

Mass Effect

Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 3

Matt Hazard: Blood Bath and Beyond

Medal of Honor: Airborne

Meet the Robinsons

Mega Man 10

Mega Man 9

Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction (Original Xbox)

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker HD Edition

Metal Slug 3

Metal Slug XX

Midnight Club: Los Angeles (original & complete editions)

Midway Arcade Origins

Might & Magic Clash of Heroes

Military Madness: Nectaris

Mirror’s Edge (Xbox One X enhanced)

Missile Command

Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine

Monday Night Combat

Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge

Monopoly Deal


Moon Diver

Motocross Madness*

Mr. DRILLER Online


Ms. Splosion Man

Mutant Storm Empire

Mutant Storm Reloaded

MX Unleashed           (Original Xbox)

MX vs. ATV Reflex


NBA JAM: On Fire Edition



Nights into Dreams


Ninja Gaiden Black (Original Xbox)

Oblivion (Xbox One X Enhanced)

Of Orcs and Men*

Omega Five

Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising

Operation Flashpoint: Red River*



Overlord II


PAC-MAN Championship Edition

PAC-MAN Championship Edition DX+


Panzer Dragoon Orta (Original Xbox)

Panzer Elite Action: Fields of Glory* (Original Xbox)


Peggle 2

Perfect Dark

Perfect Dark Zero

Persona 4 Arena

Phantasy Star II

Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds

Pinball FX*

Planets Under Attack

Plants vs. Zombies

Portal 2 (Xbox One X enhanced)

Portal: Still Alive


Prince of Persia Classic

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Original Xbox)

Psychonauts (Original Xbox)


Putty Squad

Puzzle Quest 2

Puzzle Quest Galactrix

Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords



Quantum Conundrum

R-Type Dimensions


Radiant Silvergun


Raiden IV

Rainbow Six Vegas

Rainbow Six Vegas 2


Rayman 3 HD

Rayman Legends

Rayman Origins

Red Dead Redemption (Xbox One X enhanced)

Red Faction 2 (Original Xbox)

Red Faction: Armageddon

Red Faction: Battlegrounds


Rocket Knight

Rockstar Table Tennis

Sacred 3

Sacred Citadel

Saints Row

Saints Row 2

Saints Row IV

Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell

Saints Row: The Third

Sam & Max Save the World

Sam & Max Beyond Time & Space

Samurai Shodown II


Scrap Metal


SEGA Bass Fishing

Sega Vintage Collection: Alex Kidd & Co.

Sega Vintage Collection: Golden Axe

Sega Vintage Collection: Monster World

Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage

Sega Vintage Collection: ToeJam & Earl

Sensible World of Soccer

Shadow Assault/Tenchu

Shadow Complex


Shadows of the Damned

Shank 2


Shotest Shogi

Shred Nebula

Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution

Sid Meier’s Pirates! (Original Xbox)

Silent Hill Homecoming

Silent Hill: Downpour*

Silent Hill: HD Collection

Skate 3 (Xbox One X enhanced)



Slender: The Arrival

Small Arms

Sniper Elite V2

Soltrio Solitaire         Arcade

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed

Sonic & Knuckles

Sonic Adventure

Sonic Adventure 2

Sonic CD

Sonic Generations (Xbox One X enhanced)

Sonic the Fighters

Sonic The Hedgehog

Sonic The Hedgehog 2

Sonic The Hedgehog 3


Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode II

Soul Calibur II HD


South Park: The Stick of Truth

Space Ark

Space Giraffe

Space Invaders Infinity Gene

Spec Ops: The Line


Splinter Cell Conviction


Splosion Man


SSX 3 (Original Xbox)


Star Wars Battlefront (Original Xbox)

Star Wars Battlefront II (Original Xbox)

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (Original Xbox)

Star Wars Jedi Starfighter (Original Xbox)

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (Original Xbox)

Star Wars Republic Commando (Original Xbox)

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Original Xbox

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (Xbox One X enhanced)

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

Stein's Gate

Stein's Gate

Stein's Gate

Strania – The Stella Machina


Stuntman: Ignition

Super Contra

Super Meat Boy

Super Streetfight IV Arcade Edition

Supreme Commander 2

Syberia         Arcade

Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack

Tecmo Bowl Throwback


Tekken Tag Tournament 2

Texas Hold ‘Em

The Cave*

The Darkness II

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (Original Xbox)

The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match

The King of Fighters Neowave (Original Xbox)

The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match

The Maw

The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom

The Orange Box

The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition

The Splatters

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead: Michonne – Episode 1, In Too Deep

The Walking Dead: Season Two

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (Xbox One X enhanced)

Ticket to Ride


Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

Tomb Raider Underworld


Tour de France 2009 – The Official Game

Tour de France 2011*

Tower Bloxx Deluxe

Toy Soldiers

Toy Soldiers: Cold War

Toy Story 3

Toybox Turbos

Trials HD

Triggerheart Exelica

Trine 2

Tron: Evolution

Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon

Unbound Saga



Virtua Fighter 2

Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown


Viva Piñata

Viva Piñata: Trouble In Paradise

Wolf of the Battlefield

Wolfenstein 3D

Word Puzzle

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

XCOM: Enemy Within



Zuma’s Revenge!



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