Ever since Microsoft revealed backward compatibility with original Xbox games at E3 this year, there has been something of an air of tempered expectations around it. When it did the same for Xbox 360 games in 2015, it was a major talking point for the rest of the year. This approach is different. We haven't heard a whole lot.
However, in an interview with GameSpot, Xbox head Phil Spencer assures everyone that everything is still going according to plan. "We're close, we're really close," he says before confirming that means it should launch by the end of the year.
One reason we're hearing less about original Xbox's backward compatibility is because hardly any games have been announced yet. It's still just Crimson Skies and Fuzion Frenzy despite there being a long wishlist. Spencer mentions this can be tricky because these reveals "have to be in partnership with partners."
However, it's maybe more likely that Microsoft has been relatively quiet about backward compatibility because it wants people to look forward to the upcoming launch of the Xbox One X. Spencer teases "There's some stuff we're going to talk about in that space in terms of how compatibility's going to work on [Xbox One] X specifically that I think people will find pretty interesting." Whatever that is might be a nice bonus, but it's unlikely to be what sells anyone on the future of Xbox machines. It's not the bullet point Xbox needs right now.
But, those who are into the idea of stepping back to the beginning of Xbox can take solace in knowing it should happen in 2017. There's not a whole lot longer to wait.