Xbox 360 - Backwards Compatible

MacRumors

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Apr 12, 2001
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Several news sites, including Gamespot are reporting that Microsoft confirmed that the Xbox 360 will be backwards compatible with "top-selling" original Xbox games.

While Sony has successfully offered backwards compatibility throughout its Playstation line, Microsoft's plan is a bit more ambitious... as the current Xbox and upcoming Xbox 360 use different processor architectures. The original Xbox was run on an Intel processor while the new Xbox will sport a PowerPC processor.

Readers will remember, however, that Microsoft acquired Virtual PC from Connectix back in February 2003. Xbox titles will likely be emulated by the new console. Virtual PC is still offered for the Mac from Microsoft.

If all true, a "Virtual Xbox" would certainly be a feasible Mac software product in the future -- but perhaps an unlikely one to come from Microsoft.
 

jaseone

macrumors 65816
Nov 7, 2004
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Since when did Virtual PC do anything graphics related even close to well enough to run an Xbox game? It doesn't even have DirectX support does it?

As I have read elsewhere I think it is much more likely that those top games are going to have to be recompiled under the PowerPC architecture so while it is technically backwards compatible as it is the same game it is sounding like you won't be able to just use your old Xbox discs to play it.
 

oskar

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Jan 12, 2005
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Virtual PC has always been very slow with graphics. I heard that version 7 was to come with the ability to use the video card directly from a Mac, but I guess Microsoft didn't like that idea too much. That would allow Mac users to really be able to play PC games with higher video requirements.

It would be cool if you could play XBox games on a Mac, though.
 

SeaFox

macrumors 68030
Jul 22, 2003
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*Yawn* I'm not that impressed.

Nintendo's Revolution is going to be backward compatable with all it's past consoles - ALL of them. Yes, I mean you'll be able to play Game Cube, N64, Super Nntendo and 8-bit NES games on it.
 

mlrproducts

macrumors 6502
Apr 18, 2004
390
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PS3 for me, please.

No wonder they can't play but only the "top selling games", their emulation software is HORRIBLE and slow!
 

Marble

macrumors 6502a
May 13, 2003
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Tucson, AZ
I'll be really interested to see what all this means for the Macintosh itself and its ability to emulate. I couldn't care less about the XBox, though.
 

Mac Matrix

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May 19, 2005
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Macrumors said:


Several news sites, including Gamespot are reporting that Microsoft confirmed that the Xbox 360 will be backwards compatible with "top-selling" original Xbox games.
Guess that means only Halo and Halo 2. :D
 

madamimadam

macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2002
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SeaFox said:
*Yawn* I'm not that impressed.

Nintendo's Revolution is going to be backward compatable with all it's past consoles - ALL of them. Yes, I mean you'll be able to play Game Cube, N64, Super Nntendo and 8-bit NES games on it.
Too bad 90% of Nintendo games are as compelling as Celine Dion.

Oh, if only I could get a Microsoft console that plays all Sega games.
 

polyesterlester

macrumors 6502
Dec 7, 2002
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SeaFox said:
*Yawn* I'm not that impressed.

Nintendo's Revolution is going to be backward compatable with all it's past consoles - ALL of them. Yes, I mean you'll be able to play Game Cube, N64, Super Nntendo and 8-bit NES games on it.
You're kidding, right? I knew it could play GameCube games, and DVDs with an attachment, but that's it, right? How will they do the rest?
 

Josh396

macrumors 65816
Oct 16, 2004
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Peoria/Chicago, IL
polyesterlester said:
You're kidding, right? I knew it could play GameCube games, and DVDs with an attachment, but that's it, right? How will they do the rest?
I think it's still pure speculation. There were rumors that there may be an attachment or that you would be able to download the top 100 games for previous systems. I would love to see it totally backwards compatible.
 

daveL

macrumors 68020
Jun 18, 2003
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Montana
There will probably be a big "gotcha" that nobody understands until they've bought the damn thing. Lies, lies and more lies. Emulate x86 console games on PPC, right. Hey, I've got a bridge for sale, anyone interested?
 

mj_1903

macrumors 6502a
Feb 3, 2003
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Sydney, Australia
polyesterlester said:
You're kidding, right? I knew it could play GameCube games, and DVDs with an attachment, but that's it, right? How will they do the rest?
GameCube games are built in.

Nintendo has a history of making really small but efficient emulators particularly for the GameBoy line. The DS for instance has an emulator for GBA games. They will do something similar for revolution.

As for the 360 emulation, they are using no code from VPC and what they are doing is highly hardware specific so you wont see any of it being placed into VPC in the future.
 

Ti_Poussin

macrumors regular
May 6, 2005
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That's probably the goal to have brought Connetix VPC, but I doubt we will see signifiant upgrade to VPC for Mac. Microsoft will do a custom version of VPC for the XBox 360 (for it's hardware specific), it doesn't mean they will port the technology to VPC for Mac and I doubt they will do it, they cripple all they software for Mac, common Office nearly faster on VPC then it do in OSX directly; MSN doesn't have any worthy features, eat resource like hell and he's slow like a turtle with no leg; Windows Media Player for OSX anybody? doesn't even play all there own format in it.

If you're hoping to see a good version of VPC, you better learn programming and make it yourself, cause from Microsoft it can be a long wait to see something worth it. By the way, bring us a good version of iChat with real MSN support (no jabber, locked features) or any well do MSN supported appz with video and audio conference, so I can communicate with all the sheep from Windows world that use the default stuff. That's the only appz of Microsoft I still use. Please don't talk me about Mercury, it's bloat as hell. Fire? not bad but not really better then MSN (but support a lot of protocole, but I don't use them). aMSN not bad but not good. Let pass the other in developpement.

Windows on Mac, maybe Guest PC (was bluelabel) will become something, they make a good start let's see where they bring it. MacBochs, humm ok, let pass over even for geek who can set it up. QemuX (Qemu version os X) maybe a good hope, I haven't try it yet, anybody can comment on this one? iEmulator is base on Qemu.

And our best hope are.... DarWINE. Still under progress, but I believe they need a lot of help, I wish I was able to help them :(

But I believe I'm gona see a flying cow before Microsoft update VPC with decent features, not a new copyright and G5 or Tiger support, ok that's great but is it all that can be done since the time they brought it? they have the source code of windows, no? can't they make some more tweak? AHHhummm.

Back to the subject, it's a good thing that the XBox is backward compatible, all XBox owner will be happy with that.
 

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
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The Peninsula
graphics and system calls won't need much emulation

oskar said:
Virtual PC has always been very slow with graphics. I heard that version 7 was to come with the ability to use the video card directly from a Mac, but I guess Microsoft didn't like that idea too much. That would allow Mac users to really be able to play PC games with higher video requirements.

It would be cool if you could play XBox games on a Mac, though.
Since the Xbox and Xbox360 share an NT heritage, it wouldn't be necessary to do much emulation on operating system calls. The x86 system call would be "massaged" into a native call and passed to the native systems. This is called "thunking", and has been used in NT since the beginning. (16-bit DOS calls were thunked into native Win32 calls in the NTVDM)

If the native Xbox(1) graphics library were also ported to the Xbox360, then graphics calls could be thunked as well. (Or, perhaps the Xbox1 graphics calls could be thunked to the native Xbox360 architecture.)

Instruction set emulation would still be needed for the game logic - but system calls and graphics could run at full speed.
 

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
18,095
4,155
The Peninsula
Paranoid, aren't we Ned?

BornAgainMac said:
Microsoft crippled Virtual PC for the Mac.
Don't you mean Apple crippled Virtual PC by choosing a processor (the PPC 970) that didn't conform to the PowerPC Book E architecture?

Connectix made a big performance improvement by utilizing the little-endian support defined in the PowerPC standard. The PPC 970 didn't implement that standard, therefore Virtual PC suffered.

How much do you want to bet that the Book E little-endian features are in the Xbox 360 CPUs ????
 

Gizmotoy

macrumors 65816
Nov 6, 2003
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I don't see how Microsoft's backwards compatibility is any more ambitious than either of its two competitors. Sony made an architecture change too, but we aren't going on about that, either. The GameCube is using a similar architecture, but is supposed to be compatible much farther back through multiple hardware iterations (probably software emulation). Hell, I'd say Microsoft's backwards compatibility plan is much LESS ambitious than Nintendo's.

Consoles change architectures. Often with every iteration. The only real reason I see that this would even be worth mentioning is the rumor that they are using Virtual PC technology... and we all know how fast that runs. In my opinion, Microsoft would have been smarter to steal a page from Sony and used a Celeron in some secondary capacity within the system that could take over when playing old XBox games. Unfortunately, I suppose, that wouldn't help them with the video card switch.

Anyway, I don't know exactly what my point was. I guess that I don't see MS's approach as anything novel...
 

Horrortaxi

macrumors 68020
Jul 6, 2003
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Los Angeles
Why and how do you support only the best selling games? From a technical standpoint, shouldn't they all work if one of them works? Every single one of my PS1 games plays on PS2 regardless of how many units it sold.

Let's get technical in a Microsoft legaleze way. Do they say they'll have backward compatibility with Xbox discs or with Xbox titles? Given my confusion from the above paragraph I have to wonder if they'll sell you, at additional cost, an Xbox 360 compatible version of Halo or whatever the best selling titles are.

You've got to watch them on stuff like this--they're sneaky.
 

DavidLeblond

macrumors 68020
Jan 6, 2004
2,198
286
Raleigh, NC
"Top selling" XBox games means if you want to play, say Halo, you put the Halo disc in and most likely the box will download the newly compiled Halo executable through XBox Live. You'll still need the disc for the data, of course.

Of course thats just a guess, but it would be a lot easier than trying to run Halo through Virtual PC... thats just retarded. :rolleyes:
 

MrMacMan

macrumors 604
Jul 4, 2001
7,002
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1 Block away from NYC.
I give 0% feasibility to the 'Virtual PC as Xbox emulator'

too many things wrong...

VPC = slow. No matter how many chips you got in the xbox 360 it can't do it.
VPC = No graphics support. ... no graphics = no games...

Microsoft acquiring VPC has nothing at all to do with this. no doubt Microsoft will find another way of doing it.
 

Gizmotoy

macrumors 65816
Nov 6, 2003
1,081
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Horrortaxi said:
Why and how do you support only the best selling games? From a technical standpoint, shouldn't they all work if one of them works? Every single one of my PS1 games plays on PS2 regardless of how many units it sold.
Well, the reason all the PS1 games play on the PS2 is because the PS2 actually has the main PS1 chip on the board (I think it was relegated to the menial task of handling controller inputs). When you insert a PS1 game, it uses that chip as the main processor, so no real emulation occurs. Basically, you could say that the PS2 contains a PS1, though that's technically not correct.

The likely reason the XBox backwards compatibility is compatible with "top titles" is that they will be emulated in software. The software will be optimized for the big titles like Halo, allowing those titles to run better, possibly at the expense of lesser titles. Also, since the graphics cards are entirely different between the two systems, any games that handle the video card in a non-standard way (sometimes developers implement little technically-incorrect hardware hacks to squeeze out extra performance) will probably be broken.
 

Ti_Poussin

macrumors regular
May 6, 2005
210
0
AidenShaw said:
Don't you mean Apple crippled Virtual PC by choosing a processor (the PPC 970) that didn't conform to the PowerPC Book E architecture?

Connectix made a big performance improvement by utilizing the little-endian support defined in the PowerPC standard. The PPC 970 didn't implement that standard, therefore Virtual PC suffered.

How much do you want to bet that the Book E little-endian features are in the Xbox 360 CPUs ????
I'm not sure what you're talking about, but maybe you can light me up on this one (it's not a joke or sarcass). I did a little search and found those link:
http://www.answers.com/topic/powerpc they said the 970 support little-endian?!?
ok, I found it on IBM web site finally,
http://www-306.ibm.com/chips/techlib/techlib.nsf/techdocs/AE818B5D1DBB02EC87256DDE00007821/$file/970FX_user_manual_v1.41.pdf
ok confirm it doesn't support little-endian

Is that suppose to be a big deal? isn't just an order to manipulate stuff?!? Sorry don't know what it really does?? Can you point me to an article that discuss about it deeply? I only found stupid stuff for dummy! Thanks