Microsoft explained some of the ways the Xbox Series X will play older games even better than the hardware they were originally created for in a blog post this morning.
“Not only should gamers be able to play all of these games from the past, but they should play better than ever before,” Jason Ronald, who’s helping lead development on Xbox Series X, wrote in a post over on Xbox Wire. To that end, he outlined the ways older games from Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One will play on the next-gen hardware, aided in large part by the fact that they will run natively, making full use of the new CPU, GPU, and SSD.
Here’s a rundown of what that means:
- Games will see “significant reductions in in-game load times.” When asked how significant, Microsoft directed Kotaku to a tech demo showing State of Decay 2 loading on Xbox Series X.
- They’ll support an “innovative HDR reconstruction technique” that adds HDR to older games that didn’t originally have it.
- Older games will also support Xbox Series X’s new quick resume feature, which lets players swap between up to “at least” three games at a time.
(Update: 1:15 p.m. ET: Microsoft says that the quick resume feature works even when the console is put into rest mode. “Yes. Suspended games are saved in cache and are almost instantly accessible after console reboots and system updates,” a spokesperson for the company told Kotaku in an email).
The blog post also touted that certain backwards compatible games will benefit from other improvements, including possible 4k resolutions and double framerates, meaning a game originally designed to run at 30 FPS will run at 60 FPS, while one designed to run at 60 FPS could run at 120 FPS.
All of these improvements take time and testing. In a now-deleted March 19 tweet, Microsoft said all games that can currently be played on Xbox One would be playable on Xbox Series X. The next day the company walked that back, confirming that while thousands of games would definitely be ready at launch, others were still in the process of being tested.
The PS5 is in a somewhat similar boat when it comes to backwards compatibility. Back in March Sony confirmed that it was testing the 100 most popular PS4 games first, with thousands of others to follow. It hasn’t specified which games will be ready for launch either.
Ronald did say that Microsoft is looking to expand the current list of Xbox and Xbox 360 games playable on Xbox One for the Series X. Despite pulling over hundreds of games from those consoles’ libraries, there are still plenty that haven’t made the jump like 2010's time-manipulation shooter, Singularity.
“Resurrecting titles from history often presents a complex mix of technical and licensing challenges, but the team is committed to doing everything we can to continue to preserve our collective gaming legacy,” Ronald wrote.