Microsoft has made great strides in backwards compatibility over the years and now the company is claiming that Xbox Series X will be the “most compatible next-generation console.” Claiming to have spent hours 100,000 testing games from prior generations (and loosely committing to 100,000 before launch), the Xbox team is trying to not only give players access to their past games, but make them run better as well by retroactively adding HDR and boosting frame rates, resolution, and load times.
The “thousands” of backward compatible games will run natively on the platform and have full access to the CPU, GPU, and fast SSD without the need to down clock or run in boost mode. According to Microsoft, this will ensure that these titles will run “at the peak performance that they were originally designed for,” which includes faster load times, better frame rates, and higher resolutions. However, it’s unclear how games with locked frame rates and resolutions will run since those would probably require extra work.
But Microsoft is doing more than bumping resolutions, frame rates, and load times; it’s also retroactively adding HDR into older titles. Using a vague “innovative HDR reconstruction technique,” the console will be able to add in HDR to Xbox and Xbox 360 titles as well as, presumably, Xbox One titles that don’t already support it. This is done by the platform, too, meaning it won’t negatively impact performance.
Players will also be able to use Quick Resume with backwards compatible games as well. This will allow them to have multiple games open and go back to them as they please, which Microsoft demoed back in March.
While those features seem to more or less work across the board, Microsoft is hand picking some games to give extra special treatment to. Some games will “render at increased resolutions up to 4K” or will implement anisotropic filtering (which makes objects look better from a distance) to bring those games more in line with modern releases without disrespecting the original artistic vision. This also applies to frame rate, too, as Microsoft will be doubling the frame rate of certain games to 60 or 120 frames. This will start with Xbox One games, but will likely spread to other generations as time goes on. The list of these special titles isn’t in stone either as Microsoft said it will take feedback on games to give this royal treatment to next.