Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Took Sony Completely By Surprise

A good sign that you've managed to pull off something impressive is when even your arch nemesis is surprised at your accomplishment. That's how it went when Microsoft made the shocking announcement at E3 that Xbox One will be able to natively play Xbox 360 titles later this year. When apprised of the news, rival Sony could only offer props to Microsoft's engineering feat.

"It was surprising," admitted Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida. "I didn't think it was possible. There must be lots of engineering effort. They talked about 100 games, but what kind of games will be included. Is it smaller games or big games? We don't know."

Xbox 360 Consoles

Even though Yoshida leaves the door open for criticism at a later date if Microsoft mostly makes crappy Xbox 360 titles available on the Xbox One, there's still high praise in his remarks, considering the two companies are vying for dominance in the game console market. It's a rare occurrence in business -- think about the last time you heard Pepsi praise Coca-Cola.

Xbox One owners who previously purchased an Xbox 360 title through the Xbox Marketplace will automatically have those games available to download for free, provided they're included among the compatible titles. Otherwise, gamers can insert their Xbox 360 disc once the game is made available to download.

The 100 games figure that Yoshida references is how many titles Microsoft plans to have available in time for the holiday season. By this time next year, Microsoft anticipates that "hundreds" (plural) of Xbox 360 games will be accessible on the Xbox One.

PlayStation 3 Slim

Unfortunately for PlayStation 4 owners, it doesn't seem likely that Sony will make PlayStation 3 games available to play on the newer generation console. There's just too much involved in trying to emulate the Cell processor architecture with their satellite co-processors (SPUs).

"PS3 is such a unique architecture, and some games made use of SPUs very well," Yoshida said. "It's going to be super challenging to do so. I never say never, but we have no plans."

As a reminder, there's still time to trade in your 250GB Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 Slim at Best Buy and receive $175 towards an Xbox One.