This means that the original plan for the Xbox 360 to live and breath for a full 10 year system cycle will actually take place. That is, assuming that Microsoft’s plans to support the system for another five years actually happens in reality. Of course, no one knows whether that will actually happen or not once the new system launches. Time will tell.
Microsoft says they plan to support the Xbox 360 for the next five years and sell an additional 25 million Xbox 360 systems!
As already reported however with my article Can I Play Xbox 360 Games On Xbox One? No. Backwards Compatibility Not Supported. The Answer Is No., you will NOT be able to play Xbox 360 games on the XboxOne. Because of this, Microsoft is actively encouraging people to keep their Xbox 360 around even after the XboxOne comes out so that they can continue to play their vast collection of both hardcopy and digitally downloaded retail Xbox 360 games and digital Xbox Live Arcade titles that they have purchased (none of which will transfer to XboxOne as I reported with my article, Xbox One GamerScore Achievements Will Transfer From Xbox 360. Xbox Live Arcade Games Won’t Transfer. Only your GamerScore Achievements and Live Account will transfer).
To quote Microsoft from a GameSpot interview,
“Downloaded Xbox Live Arcade games will continue to run on your Xbox 360 for as long as your Xbox 360 runs. The box is not backward compatible and we think for somebody who invests in a large digital library that you want to keep your Xbox 360. Keep that as a vibrant part of the ecosystem. That’s why we’ve made sure that your identity, your friends, are constant between both platforms. You don’t have a separate identity on Xbox One or Xbox 360; it’s the same, you are you. My friend’s network is the same on both boxes, my achievements are the same. So we think that service component is an important component to keep constant across both devices.”
It makes a lot of sense for Microsoft to continue supporting the Xbox 360 even after XboxOne, as the Xbox 360 has a huge install base and is an extremely successful platform, particularly in the United States. The Xbox 360 has routinely been the best-selling system over the last several years (especially since the release of Kinect, which truly reinvigorated the platform in terms of sales) and recently become the best-selling console of the month for the 28th time in a row! Quite an amazing feat! This is in the United States, where the Xbox 360 has been beating the PS3 and Wii in terms of sales for a long time now. Wii sales actually trump both systems in all territories. However in Europe the PS3 is the best-selling platform out of the two non-Nintendo systems. It’s also the best-selling platform in Japan of the two. Even so, the United States is considered the biggest territory and having the Xbox 360 system top sales here domestically over the PS3 is still a huge win for the American company.
However sales of the Xbox 360 have indeed slowed significantly, as they have for all of the soon-to-be old consoles (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DSi, PSP). That of course is to be expected as the next-generation transitions into the current-generation and the console/handheld lineup changes to: XboxOne, PS4, WiiU, 3DS, PSVita.
We’ll learn more about Microsoft’s continued and future support for the Xbox 360 at the big E3 2013 show on June 11-13th.