Why Red Dead Redemption, other Rockstar titles aren’t backwards compatible – yet

By Stephany Nunneley
12 November 2015 16:49 GMT

Those wondering why some of their favorite Xbox 360 titles aren’t present on the Xbox One backwards compatibility list should wag their finger at licensing deals.


What users are noticing most is the absence of Rockstar titles such as Red Dead Redemption, Bully and older GTA titles.

According to Microsoft’s Group Program Manager Richard Irving, publishers have “cut very specific deals” on content, and this is where licensing comes into play.

“After the technological breakthrough that got backwards compatibility working, the next step was to figure out how to license all this content, originally released on Xbox 360, for Xbox One,” Irving told Eurogamer. “As you can imagine, publishers have cut very specific deals on some of that content.

“For example Madden – you can imagine how many licenses go into a game with the players, the NFL, sponsors and so on. And there’s over 1000 games at this point on Xbox 360.

“It didn’t seem fair to ask our partners to go off and find licenses for all this Xbox 360 content so what we opted to do instead was to give fans the opportunity to prioritize which games they want [through the voting process]. Then we can re-engage with publishers and ask about specific games and say, ‘please let us know if this is something you can do’. So it’s really up to publishers to approve it.”

Irving said some of the content takes longer than others to organize, so not all of the top 50 or 100 games voted on by Xbox fans were included.

As far as the lack of Rockstar titles is concerned, Irving said Microsoft is “engaged with all of our publisher and developer partners,” including Rockstar so don’t count them out just yet – it may just take a while.

Backwards compatibility launched on Xbox One today with 104 titles, alongside the New Xbox One Experience.

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