Microsoft Talks Xbox Series X Backwards Compatibility, Will Add HDR And 120 FPS Support To Legacy Games

xbox series x
Excitement is building around Microsoft's upcoming next-generation game console: the Xbox Series X. The console features AMD hardware for the processor (Zen 2) and graphics (RDNA 2) along with a speedy 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD which should make long loading screens a thing of the past for most games. 

Today, Microsoft is giving us some additional insight into backwards compatibility with the Xbox Series X, which is a feather in the cap for the company. "Your favorite games and franchises, your progression and achievements, and the friendships and communities you create through gaming should all move with you across generations," writes Microsoft’s Jason Ronald, Direct of Program Management for the Xbox Series X. "Our goal has always been to empower gamers to play the best versions of games from across four generations of Xbox at the launch of Xbox Series X."

xbox series x controller

Backwards compatibility has been part of the Xbox genealogy starting with the Xbox 360, and continued with the Xbox One. The Xbox Series X will be no different, but it is getting some additional enhancements to make gaming with legacy titles even better. For starters, all legacy games will run natively on the Xbox Series X, and will be able to leverage all of the processing power of the CPU and GPU along with the crazy-fast loading speeds of the proprietary SSD.

"This means that all titles run at the peak performance that they were originally designed for, many times even higher performance than the games saw on their original launch platform, resulting in higher and more steady framerates and rendering at their maximum resolution and visual quality," Ronald continues.

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All of that added horsepower will also allow Microsoft to significantly raise the framerate cap for some older games. On "select" games, Microsoft says that framerates will double from 30 fps to 60 fps, or from 60 fps to 120 fps. If that wasn't enough, Microsoft’s Xbox Advanced Technology Group is using reconstruction techniques to automatically add HDR support to legacy games without a performance hit. What's interesting is that Microsoft says that it can use this HDR reconstruction even on older original Xbox and Xbox 360 games.

The Xbox Series X is still on track to launch during the frantic "Holiday 2020" shopping season. Not surprisingly, it will be going head-to-head against Sony’s all-new PlayStation 5 at launch, so it will be interesting to see who has the upper hand with this upcoming generation.