Microsoft has confirmed that it has begun rolling out the New Xbox One Experience (NXOE) update for its latest-generation console this morning, and that the promised backwards-compatibility feature for Xbox 360 titles will become active later this evening.
When Microsoft launched the Xbox One, it did so amid rumours that it would offer backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 software. It wasn't such a ridiculous notion: the Xbox 360 offered backwards compatibility with its predecessor, the original Xbox, for selected titles through an emulation layer. The Xbox One, however, launched without any such compatibility, and while its rival the Sony PlayStation 4 offered a semi-workaround of cloud-rendered PS3 titles through PlayStation Now the Microsoft console remained a current-gen-only machine.
Today, though, that changes. Microsoft began rolling out a system software update dubbed the New Xbox One Experience this morning, and it brings with it the emulation layer required to run selected Xbox 360 software on the current-generation machine. While the update is available now, the backwards compatibility feature itself won't trigger until 20:01 tonight - at which point selected disc-based titles and digital purchases will become playable.
Interestingly, though, the titles themselves are to be distributed exclusively through Xbox Live - a distinct departure from the Xbox 360, which read data from the original Xbox disc when inserted. By contrast, the Xbox One will use a physical disc solely to verify ownership; before the game on an inserted Xbox 360 disc can be played, it will need to be downloaded in full from Xbox Live and its data stored on the console's hard drive.
A full list of which titles are compatible with the new console is available on the official website