Microsoft’s next-gen console will have backward compatibility with “thousands of games at launch,” the company announced today. Trying to “preserve and respect gaming legacies,” the Xbox Series X will be the most compatible console from the company.
The number of compatible older games will more than double from the previous console. More than 500 Xbox 360 games could run on Xbox One.
Jason Ronald, the director of program management for Xbox Series X, explained how making the backward compatibility requires technical innovations and a lot of work.
The playtest team has completed 100,000 hours of testing, with thousands of games already playable on Xbox Series X from the biggest blockbusters to cult classics and fan favorites. “Maintaining compatibility presents a massive technical challenge as fundamental system and chip architectures advance across generations,” Ronald said.
The older games should also play better on the new console. Backward compatible games run natively on the Xbox Series X hardware, running with the full power of the CPU, GPU, and SSD. Players won’t need to use boost mode or downclocking.
This means that all titles run at the best performance that they were originally designed for. They should perform better than what fans saw on the original launch platform, with more steady framerates and rendering at their maximum resolution and visual quality.
In the visual department, the Xbox Series X will also have a new HDR reconstruction technique that enables the platform to automatically add HDR support to games. Players will be able to enable HDR with no impact on the game’s performance, even with games from almost 20 years ago.
The new Quick Resume feature will also work with older titles. It enables players to resume exactly where they left off across multiple titles. “We are also creating whole new classes of innovations including the ability to double the frame rate of a select set of titles from 30 fps to 60 fps or 60 fps to 120 fps,” Ronald said.
Backward compatibility isn’t as easy as it seems, carrying technical and licensing challenges. But it appears the next-gen console will go beyond running the old titles.
There aren’t any confirmed titles coming back from the Xbox One yet, but more information will be released with the Xbox Series X launch this holiday season.