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External hard drives are planned to be added in an update at a later date if I recall correctly. As for backwards compatibility I don't know but either way it's not a very big deal for me. I also read in some article about a study that was taken on how often
people play games from the previous generation and the number was too small to really be worth making the console backwards compatible. Right now it might seem like a big deal since there aren't very many games for the new generation of console gaming but
in say like 3 or 4 years, how many people are really going to be going back to play games like, for example, far cry 3. And if people really wanted to do that it wouldn't be a very big deal to pick up a last gen console. You can get an original refurbished
xbox from gamestop for $50 which is less than the cost for a current gen game and the 360 price will probably greatly drop over the next few years.
I think you have very little idea as to how electronics work if you think a couple updates will make this backwards compatible they are Devs with key boards and set hardware not friggen magical beings with wands to make your wishes come true. The external
HDD support was announced months ago, shouldn't be long now.
Well, the 360 got those emulating profile-things that they used to make many original Xbox games work with the 360. It would probably be the same thing now, I don't really expect it to come nor really even care (and I sure hope they prioritize the manpower
on more important things now).
I think two HUGE updates should be to make the system backwards compatible and make it be able to read external hard drives so i can watch movies on it. The 360 did this near flawlessly.
1: The external hard drive update is coming, we dont know when, but it is coming.
2: Backwards compatibility is not something that is possible on the current archictecture without emulation, and getting games to run on emulators is alot of work. The only people that will code the emulators is Microsoft themselves, and I think they have
more important things to do. Plus they dont really work as people expect, look at the 360's emualtion of the original Xbox, some of the games worked perfectly, but alot of them had sounds problems etc.
The only other way to get backwards compatability is through streaming, but that also brings problems, how fast you internet is, how far away the servers are etc.
Microsoft are apparantley working on a game streaming service, but I wouldnt count on anything before 2015, they kind of have their hands full getting the Xbox One up too scratch.