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The Xbox 360 has limited compatibility with original Xbox games through software emulation. Originally, 213 Xbox games were compatible with the Xbox 360. Unveiled on the 11th of November 2005, the list of 213 games was met by a mixed response. While many were glad to be getting backward compatibility, being limited to the list caused much criticism.

As of the most recent update on the 27th of November 2007, 478 Xbox games are compatible with the Xbox 360 in America, which is roughly 51% of the entire Xbox catalog. In Europe 476 games are compatible, and 122 games in Japan.

There are multiple methods to gain backwards compatibility on the Xbox 360. The most popular is to download automatic updates through Xbox Live, although alternate methods are offered by Microsoft. The updates can be installed by using a CD, which can both be downloaded from the Microsoft website and burned to a CD-R or DVD-R, or a CD can be ordered from to do this (although the latter option is only available in the US and Canada). The updates are also included on the disks included in the Official Xbox Magazine. Alternatively, newer Xbox 360 hard drives come with the latest update pre-installed.

The last update to the backwards compatibility list was on the 27th of November 2007. The great length of time since the last update has lead to speculation that Microsoft do not intend on updating it in the future, although Microsoft have not commented on this issue.

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