Microsoft catered to core gamers in a big way Monday, announcing that it will make the back-catalog of Xbox 360 games available for the Xbox One.
A huge cheer went up from the crowd at Microsoft’s Los Angeles news conference at the announcement, which has been a top fan request since the Xbox One first came out. According to executives onstage, Xbox 360 titles should show up automatically in users’ libraries and no one will have to pay for games that they already own.
Executives showed off a brief demo of someone playing “Mass Effect” on the Xbox One and using its features such as directing the console to take a screenshot using only your voice. The compatability function is coming this holiday season.
The company also showed off a new Xbox elite controller, which lets players swap out parts such as the thumbsticks and also lets you remap the buttons on the controller to suit your needs. It works on PCs and Xbox One; Microsoft is making serious effort to marry PC and console gaming.
Of course, most of the show was all about games. Microsoft ran through several of its announcements in quick succession. First up was “Halo 5 Guardians,” in which the company revealed players can control two squads. In the multiplayer mode, there can be as many as 24 players altogether, and the game has a playable demo at the Los Angeles show.
That kicked off a string of announcements and demonstrations of Xbox games including “Gears of War 4,” “Rise of the Tomb Raider,” “Forza 6,” “Dark Souls III” and a version of “Minecraft” specifically made for its augmented reality headset, the Hololens.
Screens projecting what the block-based building game looked like through the Hololens showed that players can call up virtual worlds onto tabletops and manipulate them at whatever scale they wish. For example, you could zoom out to take a top-level view of a city you’ve built or lean forward to peer into the rooms of your virtual buildings.
The company also announced that it’s working with Valve on its virtual reality headset, the Vive, on the heels of announcing a partnership with Oculus. That puts it on even stronger footing to compete with Sony’s Project Morpheus headset, which the Japanese firm is expected to showcase in its own news conference late Monday.
Microsoft shows off ‘Halo 5,’ ‘Minecraft’ and promises backward compatibility for Xbox 360