The Xbox One has recently launched the backwards compatibility feature in the November 12th update. The feature enabled more than 100 Xbox 360 games to be played on the Xbox One. Some notable favorites like Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 are missing, though.
So right off the bat the reason that Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 aren't backwards compatible yet is because they're multi-disc games and the feature isn't supported yet on the Xbox One.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Xbox engineer Richard Irving answered some questions about the Xbox brand, the Xbox One's new dashboard that ties into Windows 10 seamlessly, as well as the most anticipated console feature of the Xbox One this generation: backwards compatibility. According to a Microsoft press representative who was there during the interview, they acknowledged that Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 are not compatible yet because of the multi-disc restriction, but that may change soon...
It's something that's not technically possible now but it's something we're looking into - which I believe is a comment that Phil [Spencer, Xbox boss] has shared before.
Unfortunately, Irving couldn't elaborate on the hold-up of multi-disc games being absent from the Xbox One's backwards compatibility feature since he didn't have the specifics on it.
The original Mass Effect is available to play on the Xbox One via backwards compatibility, which should help stave off the boredom long enough for Microsoft and EA to work out how to get the other two games from the Xbox 360 working ripe and well for the Xbox One.
Of course, there's no point in bringing up Mass Effect if we're not going to address the absolutely obvious elephant in the room: Red Dead Redemption. Why isn't it available if it's been the most requested game from the community? According to Irving...
We're definitely engaged with all of our publisher and developer partners - including Rockstar - on when and how we can developer on that fan feedback.
It's been mentioned before that it's up to the publishers to give Microsoft the go-ahead to make the games available on the Xbox One via backwards compatibility. Microsoft will do all of the back-end work to make the games available both digitally and playable through physical discs (although I should mention that even if you have the original Xbox 360 disc you still need to download the whole game from Microsoft's servers. The games do not load from the disc).
However, Irving explains in detail why some games are still stuck in limbo and it has a lot to do with copyrighted content and licensing...
After the technological breakthrough that got backwards compatibility working, the next step was to figure out how to license all this content, originally released on Xbox 360, for Xbox One. As you can imagine, publishers have cut very specific deals on some of that content. For example Madden - you can imagine how many licenses go into a game with the players, the NFL, sponsors and so on. And there's over 1000 games at this point on Xbox 360.
That's a very reasonable answer and I think most gamers would be willing to wait for specific games if Microsoft has to work it out with publishers first.
I think I would rather see Red Dead Redemption made available first before multi-disc games. But once they get multi-disc games working right it will be awesome to see games like Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon running on the Xbox One, along with Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3.