Q & A On Microsoft XBOX Originals


Jul 21, 2005
Reaction score
GameSpot: Why offer downloadable Xbox games when they're already backwards compatible?

Aaron Greenberg: We've always said we felt like online and digital distribution was the future of this business and I think this is the next step in that evolution, to be able for the first time ever to allow people to digitally download and own full retail games. We've never done that before. Frankly, I think with the exception of Halo, almost all these titles are next to impossible to find at retail anymore, so we're making them very available to consumers who would like to purchase them.

GS: How frequently will you be releasing Xbox Originals?

AG: [It will be] a very regular flow. Obviously we have a large library of backward compatible titles, so we'll have access to that library and over the coming year we'll release a very steady flow. Ideally, it will be close to a weekly basis. We haven't ironed out exactly the flow, but it should be similar to what you see for Xbox Live Arcade game releases.

GS: So the work you've done on backwards compatibility is the basis for the Xbox Original releases?

AG: Exactly. You basically download the bits of the game and they have to have passed all our backward compatibility certification and testing. We're only going to make available the ones that we know perform extremely well and have a high quality, if that gives you an idea of some of the titles you may see. To start, I think we have a good lineup. To be able to download them, own them, and if you delete them you can download them again, it's very similar to how Live Arcade games work.

GS: Beyond having a game that runs well, what are the criteria for selecting Xbox Originals?

AG: We look at sales of the titles, which is obviously important, and we look at the performance of the game. We also look at a third criteria if it's a cult classic. Psychonauts is a great example of that. It's a title that maybe didn't sell extremely well, but we know is very popular with our community and is something people would like that is not available at retail anymore. We'll continue to make those titles available.

GS: What steps are being taken to resolve the known in-game issues with the downloadable titles?

AG: We're selecting the titles that have the best performance, so ideally there should be very little to no issues with the games. I understand there may be small things with certain games in certain regions and settings, but we're not changing the games. Whatever's a known issue if you buy the game at retail on a disc is the same known issue if you buy the game as a digital copy.

GS: So there won't be enhanced content or added online play in Xbox Originals?

AG: No. What we're basically doing is taking the games as they were originally created and maintaining that. We want to preserve the integrity of what that original game experience was like. If they have online multiplayer, it's there. Whatever functionality was built into that original game is what people will get. We're not going back and getting the teams that made the game and having them open the vault and recode them or anything like that.

GS: Will achievements, in-game messaging and the rest of the Xbox 360 trapping be integrated somehow?

AG: It will perform just like a backwards compatible game, so you'll have limited access to those things. You'll be able to hit the guide button to get into the dashboard, but you won't have access to in-game messaging and things like that.

GS: You've already got games from Vivendi, Majesco, and EA set for the service. Which other third-parties are on board with Xbox Originals?

AG: My understanding is pretty much all of our top publishers will be part of the program. I'm not aware of any publishers that are not participating; it's more an issue of picking the right titles and the time that they will launch. These publishers have already made these games; I think it's pretty straightforward that they would want to re-release them digitally.

GS: How big will the game files be?

AG: They vary. I think original Halo ran close to 2GB, to give you an idea. To be fair, there are games that will be bigger than that, but that's the one I downloaded and tried.

GS: We know about Xbox Originals and the Family timer controls. What else will be included in the December 4 update?

AG: At this point we haven't gotten into any of the other details. Just like any other update, there will be changes to the dashboard and the blades, cosmetic stuff. We always have fine-tuning of playback of movies and music. But at this point, we're going to wait closer until that date, probably the last week of November is when we'll do a lot of show-and-tell with everyone in the media so people can see what they're getting. The reason why we do that mainly is because the team is still finalizing and testing a lot of the functionality. There are always a couple of things that are on the bubble.

GS: Is the 1,200 Microsoft points ($15) price set in stone for all Xbox Originals in the future, or might we see some higher or lower?

AG: Set in stone. We decided to keep it simple. Rather than have some games at $20, some at $10, we kept them all at 1,200 points. Every game will be at that price, set in stone, at least in the foreseeable future.

GS: Is there any way Xbox 360 owners can suggest new additions to Xbox Originals?

AG: Yes! That's one of the things we really do want, because we have this catalog of titles [to choose from]. We'd love to hear feedback from the community on what titles they want because frankly, we're doing this for them. It's easy to pick Halo and maybe a Fable, but it would be great to know if people prefer Psychonauts or Dead or Alive. Do people want ToeJam and Earl? Jet Set Radio? I know there are a lot of cult classics that were popular and it would be helpful to get an idea of what people's appetites are for those games today.

It's just digital distribution of BC titles. Nothing too outrageous.

Like I said, I'll use it for titles I can't find, if they make it... Panzer Dragoon Orta is first up though. :D
I don't think people do that to their games...
For a man who's seen the many horrors of life, you're still pretty naive.
I've never tea bagged a game in my life. Do you do that? :dry:
Did they just say Psychonauts? Woot. :o
I probably in the end will end up getting some of these. I love the idea of buying these old games & never having to worry about the DVDs getting scratched :o. But it would definitely be just a select few that I would buy.
We should start promoting the idea that PS3 games come packaged with pubes.
Seriously though, his comments on Psychonauts have me excited. Maybe Microsoft really is thinking about buying out Tim Schafer's company. Come on, endorsed adventure games...
I'll consider downloading a game if my Xbox becomes unplayable
We need a photoshopped mock-up of a PS3 box with those claims and then e-mail it to Kotaku so they post it as news.
The only games I plan on getting are Halo, Halo 2 & Star Wars: Republic Commando.
I'll save my memory for new games.
I didn't play Psychonauts on xbox even though i heard it was outstanding so this is kinda exciting.
I get that they didn´t add online in games that didn´t had it (too much work from the dev teams), but i don´t get the no adding achievements.
I always thought that it is very easy to add achievements to a game, it´s no more than a patch, and people really like it, so...

But, then again, to some degree, it shows that MS isn´t trying to con people into buying the games if they already have it just for some lousy points.
That shows respect for the consumer, which is damn fine in my book :up:
Yeah, by not screwing over long-time users I get to save some cash for new games and new experiences.
which games would you guys like to see come out as xbox originals. I am sure KOTOR will be coming quick

Users who are viewing this thread