Microsoft has confirmed that the upcoming Xbox Series X will be able to play games from the original console.

The new hardware – due out towards the end of this year – will support “four generations of gaming”, the company said.

The feature was revealed as part of a wider release of new information about the Xbox Series X given by Microsoft as the release date approaches.

It also showed off some of the new specs of the upcoming console and the features that hardware would enable.


Microsoft said that despite the changes in hardware, everything that is available on the Xbox One will be playable on the Xbox Series X, too. Accessories made for the Xbox One will also be compatible with the new console, as Microsoft has previously announced.

“Our commitment to compatibility means existing Xbox One games, including backward-compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games, look and play better than ever before,” wrote Xbox head Phil Spencer in the announcement.

He added, “Your favourite games, including titles in Xbox Game Pass, benefit from steadier framerates, faster load times and improved resolution and visual fidelity – all with no developer work required. Your Xbox One gaming accessories also come forward with you.”

Microsoft has stressed backwards compatibility in many of its announcements around the new Xbox Series X. The company has suggested that the name is intended to suggest it is an iterative update on the Xbox, rather than a complete break with the previous generation.

New features on the Xbox Series X will also increase the backwards compatibility of the new console, Spencer wrote.

They include “Smart Delivery”, which is intended to allow games to playable across the various generations of Xbox. It will mean that plays can buy a game once – whether on the Xbox One or the Xbox Series X – and have it available across the rest of the consoles.

“We’re making the commitment to use Smart Delivery on all our exclusive Xbox Game Studios titles, including Halo Infinite, ensuring you only have to purchase a title once in order to play the best available version for whichever Xbox console they choose to play on,” Spencer wrote. 

“This technology is available for all developers and publishers, and they can choose to use it for titles that will be release on Xbox One first and come to the Xbox Series X later.