Microsoft Series X accessory compatibility could be next-gen console's wildcard

As we move into the next generation, Microsoft has spoken frequently about making sure current-generation accessories – those made for Xbox One – are forward compatible with next-generation hardware. To that end, today Microsoft announced a new stage for the "Designed for Xbox" program – an accessory licensing program that has been running since the days of the OG Xbox.

In a post to Xbox Wire today, Microsoft confirmed that it's "working hard with our partners to ensure continuous compatibility across as many products as possible." The company says that any officially licensed Xbox One accessory that connects to your console through either a wired connection or a wireless one over USB will continue to work with Xbox Series X, as will any accessory that uses the Xbox controller's 3.5mm jack.

Things get a little unclear when it comes to accessories that connect to the Xbox's optical port, as Microsoft says that some of those may need a firmware update before they can support audio over USB on Xbox Series X. Once the Xbox Series X is out in the open, it sounds like most controller charging accessories will begin shipping with a second battery door to fit the controller that's included with the new console in addition to existing Xbox Wireless Controllers.

Along with today's announcement, Microsoft also revealed new branding for the Designed by Xbox program. If you see the badge embedded above on packaging for an Xbox accessory, that means it's an officially licensed product. If you look on the packaging's side, you'll see which platforms are compatible with the accessory, whether its Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Windows, or some combination of the three.

Finally, Microsoft announced a bunch of new partners for the Designed by Xbox program today. In all, there are 34 partners for the Designed by Xbox program, including Logitech G, PDP, 8BitDo, HyperX, Turtle Beach, Razer, Otterbox, and even American Girl. We'll learn more about the accessories these companies are making for Xbox Series X in the coming months, but in the meantime, we'll try to imagine what an Xbox partnership with American Girl could possibly entail.