Xbox details its backwards compatibility plans for Series X and S

Xbox has fully detailed how Xbox Series X and S will handle backwards compatibility in a recent blog post, and it might be time to dust off the oldies and give them another spin.

Starting off, Xbox promises that all backward compatible games will run natively on the Series X and S, “running with the full power of the CPU, GPU and SSD.” According to Xbox compatibility program lead Peggy Lo, “All titles run at the peak performance that they were originally designed for… resulting in higher and more steady framerates and rendering at their maximum resolution and visual quality.”

This sounds great, and it will be for games that have unlocked framerates, which many but not all games have. For the games that weren’t originally released with unlocked framerates on current-gen tech, Xbox’s back compat team has “developed new methods for effectively doubling the framerate on select titles.” Though Lo didn’t detail exactly which games would be getting this treatment, Xbox did post a comparison video of Fallout 4 running at 30 FPs on Xbox One hardware and 60 FPS on the Series S, and the results are more than noticeable.

Of course, the Series X and S’s NVME SSDs will improve load times across the board. Loading Xbox 360 games on, say, the One X is already pretty darn fast, so we’re looking forward to seeing how the Series X can handle them.

One of the most interesting features of Series X and S backward compatibility is its Auto HDR, which will add high dynamic range to games that originally shipped with just standard dynamic range. This means you’ll get more detail in both the highlights and the shadows, as well as richer colors, with “no performance cost to the CPU, GPU or memory,” Lo stated.

Xbox is also continuing to use its “Heutchy method” to bring a variety of titles to 4K on the Series X and 1440p on the Series S, as well as improving texture filtering.

Finally, Xbox is continuing to make it even easier to access your old games. Pop in your disc and install the game, plug in your external hard drive, or simply download it again from your digital library. and you’re good to go. And if you skipped this current gen, Xbox is making cloud saves free to all Xbox 360 users, so picking up where you left off on Series X or S will be possible.

While next-gen launch titles might be a little light out of the gate, it looks like Xbox is banking on its impressive backward compatibility library and enhancements to sell its two powerful next-gen consoles. Of course, games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Dirt 5, and Watch Dogs: Legion are also looking to take advantage of what the hardware has to offer on November 10th when the Series X and S launch.

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