Xbox Series X can play all Xbox One games, unless they use Kinect

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Microsoft is confirming today that its Xbox Series X console won’t support the existing Kinect accessory or the Xbox One games that are built specifically for Kinect. In a blog post laying out Microsoft’s commitments for its upcoming Xbox Series X console, Xbox chief Phil Spencer reveals Kinect games won’t be supported.

“It’s our intent for all Xbox One games that do not require Kinect to play on Xbox Series X at the launch of the console,” says Spencer. “And because of the unprecedented power of Xbox Series X, most of your favorite games will load faster and look and perform many times better on the new console.”

Microsoft has previously been clear about supporting existing Xbox One games, including backward-compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games on the Xbox Series X. The lack of Kinect support is new, though. “There’s no way for Kinect to work,” confirms Spencer in an interview with The Verge. The rear of the Xbox Series X, just like the Xbox One X, does not include a dedicated Kinect port, and Microsoft won’t be supporting the USB Kinect Adapter it discontinued back in 2018 after killing off the Kinect in 2017.

xbox one kinect eye 560

Kinect for Xbox One.

While Spencer doesn’t explicitly commit to every Xbox One game working on the Xbox Series X, it’s clear that the vast majority will, and the “intent” wording is there just in case there’s a rare exception. “Our backward compatibility engineers have spent years devising innovative ways for modern, next-gen technology to make the games library you’re building today even better, at no additional cost and with no work from developers,” says Spencer.

The rest of Spencer’s blog post really feels like Microsoft highlighting its different approach to next-gen consoles, with some subtle digs at rivals like Sony. “The Xbox Elite Controller and Xbox Adaptive Controller all work on Xbox Series X, so you don’t have to purchase new controllers,” Spencer wrote in a blog post sent to press ahead of the announcement. “Unlike others, we believe that your investments in gaming should move with you into the next generation.” Upon publication on Microsoft’s site, “unlike others” was removed from the post.

Spencer also says Microsoft won’t “force” people to upgrade consoles to get Xbox exclusive games. “Xbox Game Studios titles we release in the next couple of years — like Halo Infinite — will be available and play great on Xbox Series X and Xbox One,” says Spencer. “We won’t force you to upgrade to Xbox Series X at launch to play Xbox exclusives.”

Microsoft is now planning to hold an Xbox games event on July 23rd. Next week’s event will be a showcase for the Halo Infinite campaign other games coming to the Xbox Series X.

Update, July 16th 11AM ET: Noted the change to Microsoft’s blog post.

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