Xbox revealed some news about the Xbox Series X this morning and Jason Ronald, Director of Program Management for Xbox Series X, spoke about one of the most talked-about features coming to the new console: backwards compatibility.
We know that right now, thousands of developers are currently hard at work developing the next big games coming to Xbox Series X, but at the same time, the future of gaming will also include the past.
While I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of keeping my old things, many gamers prefer to keep their old video games and consoles as mementos and to be able to plug them in whenever they need to play old games is. We also care about keeping our saves, our achievements, and our communities. Not only that, your favourite gaming accessories and peripherals should also move forward with you as well.
Jason Ronald spoke about being able to pop in his copy of Final Fantasy XIII, and instantly resuming where he left off on his Xbox One thanks to the Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility program.
Because of all the tremendous work the teams at Xbox have put into this project, and the help of technical innovation, capturing these magical moments and moving them across console generations is wonderful. It is also because of so many partnerships with the industry’s developers that Xbox was able to bring more than 500 Xbox 360 games (and even further back with Xbox) to the Xbox One. I’ve been really happy with being able to pull up the handful of titles I kept from the Xbox 360 and they run with ease on my Xbox One X.
And because of this massive success, the same team is currently hard at work is the same team pushing the envelope again with Xbox Series X.
If you’ve ever tried to emulate a game on your computer and saw things ran at less than optimal performance, you’ll understand how difficult it is to emulate older titles. It’s the same principle when the teams at Xbox try to get older games on newer consoles. Maintaining compatibility presents a massive technical challenge as a fundamental system and chip architectures advance across generations. That’s why the Xbox Series X is the most compatible console ever thanks to the significant innovation and custom processor used to power the next-generation console.
Jason Ronald also confirmed that with more than 100,000 hours of playtesting already completed, thousands of games are already playable on Xbox Series X. “By the time we launch this holiday,” says Jason Ronald, “The team will have spent well over 200,000 hours ensuring your game library is ready for you to jump in immediately.”
Backwards compatible games run natively on the Xbox Series X hardware, running with the full power of the CPU, GPU and the SSD. No boost mode, no downclocking, the full power of the Xbox Series X for each and every backward compatible game. Each game runs at peak performance, with games running at even higher performance than their original launch console.
“Backwards compatible titles also see significant reductions in in-game load times from the massive leap in performance from our custom NVME SSD which powers the Xbox Velocity Architecture.” continues Jason Ronald, “As I play through my personal backlog as part of our internal testing, all of the incredible games from Xbox One and earlier play best on Xbox Series X.”
An internal partnership with the Xbox Advanced Technology Group allows the Xbox Series X to deliver new and innovative HDR “reconstruction techniques,” which enables the platform to automatically add HDR support to games – all of this is handled on the platform and adds HDR with zero impact to a game’s performance.
In addition, the new Quick Resume feature was designed to not only work with new games, but it can also be enabled for backward-compatible titles. Quick Resume enables players to resume exactly where they left off, across multiple titles, ensuring gamers can get right back to the fun in an instant.
Lastly, beginning with the Xbox Series X, the compatibility team has developed brand new innovations that will be applied to a curated list of titles “to enhance them even further than what was possible when they were first created.” What does that mean to the consumer? Using the Heutchy method, which enables titles to render with increased resolutions up to 4K, or applying anisotropic filtering to improve the final image quality bring these classic games up to modern standards, better than ever before.
Some titles will also see a bump in framerate with select titles going from 30 frames per second to 60 and even 120 frames per second.
The Xbox Series X launches this holiday season.