Similar to the already announced PlayStation 4, there will be no backward compatibility on the Xbox One. This was confirmed by Marc Whitten (Xbox Live VP) in response to a question asked by The Verge.
According to Marc Whitten, “The system is based on a different core architecture, so back-compat doesn’t really work from that perspective”, which is the same problem the PlayStation 4 had.
Since the Xbox One is running on a X86 CPU, games created with the PowerPC architecture won’t run natively, thus accomplishing this goal would be more hassle than it’s worth. For those wondering, this also includes Xbox Live Arcade titles too, since they have the same aforementioned problems. Sadly it seems Microsoft has no plans to add this feature in the future, though we might end up seeing “HD Collections” like Sony did with the PlayStation 3, though only time will tell.
While this isn’t exactly the best news around, your Gamerscore WILL in fact transfer over to the Xbox One, so it’s not all bad. Considering they’re still using Xbox Live it really isn’t surprising, but the conformation is great to hear.