360 compatibility explained

But not very well.

Following earlier indications that the Xbox 360 will only be backwards compatible with some Xbox games, Microsoft has attempted to clear up the issue by waffling on about chip architectures. And failed.

MS explains that the current Xbox uses an Intel processor, but the 360 will use IBM's Power chips. In addition, the NVIDIA graphics card is being replaced with an ATI one.

Different chip architectures means backwards compatibility problems, so all the old games will need to be “recompiled” for the 360. First on the list, says Microsoft, are the Halo titles.

But this raises more questions than it answers - just what does “recompiled” mean? Will we need to buy all our old games again if we want to play them on our next-gen console? Microsoft was unavailable for further comment at the time of writing, unfortunately.

Meanwhile, Sony and Nintendo are no doubt reveling smugly in the knowledge that their new machines will play all the classics in their respective back catalogues - giving gamers a huge choice of titles at launch.

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