Microsoft reveals backward compatibility support on the Xbox Series X

In a highly-anticipated announcement, Microsoft recently detailed some more information on backwards compatibility capabilities for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.

Older titles will perform faster and make use of improved features such as HDR.

It’s already confirmed that Xbox Series X and Series S players can play thousands of previous-generation games at launch. But, some additional details about this huge benefit of the Xbox ecosystem has been further revealed.

Backwards compatibility

Peggy Lo, Compatibility program lead, penned a new Xbox Wire post detailing the backwards compatibility support on both the Xbox Series X and S. She further revealed the various ways both systems can boost the quality of older game titles.

“We believe your favorite games and franchises, your progression and achievements, your Xbox One gaming accessories and the friendships and communities you create through gaming should all move with you across generations.”

“We also fundamentally believe that not only should you be able to play all of your games from the past without needing to purchase them again, but they should also look, feel and play better on the next generation of Xbox consoles.”

Furthermore, she confirms that the games play best on Xbox Series X and Series S and will not run with a boost mode.

Instead, the titles will run natively off of each next-gen console system, using the full power of the CPU, GPU and SSD.

The frame rates will be more stable, rendered games will be at maximum resolution, and it will load faster due to the custom SSD inside each console.

HDR feature

The new systems will make use of Auto High Dynamic Range (HDR). Although this feature was already seen on the Xbox One X games, a majority of standard Xbox One titles only included Standard Dynamic Range (SDR).

In contrast, Auto HDR will transform previous SDR games into full HDR, without needing any additional input from the developers.

The image will then become brighter and more colorful, using the full-art style to its maximum advantage. The framerates on numerous titles may also increase with the Xbox Series’ console power.

“Auto HDR enhances the visual quality of an SDR game without changing the original artistic intent of the game… Auto HDR is implemented by the system so developers don’t have to do any work to take advantage of this feature. Also, since Auto HDR is enabled by the console’s hardware, there is absolutely no performance cost to the CPU, GPU or memory and there is no additional latency added ensuring you receive the ultimate gaming experience.”

Lo detailed in the blog post that “the backward compatibility team has developed new methods for effectively doubling the framerate on select titles”.

In particular, Fallout 4 will have its framerate bumped from 30fps to 60fps.

A demonstration video on the compatibility frame rate has been uploaded on YouTube, which you can check out here.

Lo further highlighted a feature called the Heutchy method, where the system enables previous games prior to the Xbox One to be enhanced for next-gen consoles.

With the debut of the Xbox Series systems, the dev team plans to continue implementing the feature.

The Heutchy system “allowed titles from Xbox 360 that rendered at 720p and original Xbox games that ran at 360p to play at 4K on Xbox One X, well beyond the capabilities of their original platform.” Thus, it will then “continue to be used to bring a variety of titles to 1440p on Xbox Series S and 4K on Xbox Series X.”

Are you excited for both systems’ worldwide launch on November 10?

Read the full blog post here.

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