Xbox Backwards Compatibility Guide – How to Play Online With Friends

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It’s Saturday night. You boot up your Xbox Series S/X, and look at the Game Pass catalogue of Xbox Backwards Compatibility titles. You and your friend decide to jump into Gears of War 3, but once you’re in the game, you can’t send them an invite. They’re nowhere to be found, even though you’re on each others’ friends lists. Reader, this happened to me this weekend, and I spent a couple minutes searching for an answer online. As I’m here to help, this guide explains the step-by-step to play Xbox Backwards Compatibility games online with friends.

Xbox Backwards Compatibility Multiplayer – How to Play Online With Friends

It doesn’t matter if you’ve already added your friend on Xbox Series S/X, as Xbox Backwards Compatibility games use the Xbox 360 dashboard internally instead. As such, if you can’t find your friends online, press both View and Menu buttons on your controller at the same time.

I had to take a photo with my phone as it wouldn’t let me take a screenshot. This is journalism.

This action automatically brings up the 360 dashboard to the screen. From here, press down and choose the Friends menu. This will show you everyone you have added. In my case, even though I had my friend showing up on my Series S just fine, they weren’t on this list.

Thankfully, all you have to do is go to Friends – Add Friend – Enter a Gamertag. No aliases will work here, so just use the plain Gamertag from Xbox.

Adding a friend on the 360 dashboard was fairly straightforward, and I was able to join their session afterwards. In the case of Gears of War 3, the main menu shows you a list with friends online to make it easier to invite or jump into their matches.

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After they accepted my invite on the 360 dashboard, it only took a couple seconds to see their Gamertag on this in-game list. So, while it may vary with others, it’s likely that you’ll be able to do all of this without having to restart the game.

Here’s my and my friend playing co-op together. Also, this is the most “dudes rock” game I’ve ever played.

Playing online with friends using Xbox Backwards Compatibility is a bit odd at first, especially if you’re a new Xbox user like I am, but the experience was nothing but smooth going forward. After saying my friend “hey, I should probably write a guide about this,” we played Gears of War 3 for four hours straight without any hiccups.

I wholeheartedly recommend giving the series a chance if you haven’t yet. Some folks consider Gears of War a horror franchise, actually, in case you’re into that. Unfortunately, at least from what we know from mid 2021, developer Coalition isn’t announcing a new entry anytime soon as they continue to tinker with Unreal Engine 5. In the meantime, however, there are five mainline games waiting for you and your friends.

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