Microsoft has previously said that thousands of games from previous Xbox generations would be available on their next generation consoles, but now we have a better grasp on how these games will actually run. In a blog post on Tuesday, Microsoft gave more information on how backward compatibility will work for the Xbox Series X and S and detailed how older games will play on the new consoles.
“We believe your favorite games and franchises, your progression and achievements, your Xbox One gaming accessories and the friendships and communities you create through gaming should all move with you across generations,” Compatibility Program Lead Peggy Lo wrote in the blog post.
While it’s currently unclear how exactly many previous generation videogames will be playable on the new consoles, the blog post heavily implied that nearly every Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One title will be playable on both the Xbox Series X and S. In addition, cloud save files from as far back as the Xbox 360 will also be available for transfer to the new consoles.
Games that are backwards compatible will run natively on the Xbox Series X and S, with no “boost mode” or downclocking necessary. This native support translates to games being able to run with significantly higher performance including higher frame rates, maximized resolution and visual quality. Games will also be able to take advantage of the new Xbox Series’ custom NVME SSD for large reductions in load times.
The Xbox One S introduced HDR into the Xbox ecosystem, enabling games to render a larger range of brightness values and colors than were previously possible. For games that came out before Xbox incorporated HDR, Microsoft has developed an Auto HDR feature which automatically applies the enhancement across every game. Xbox claims that this feature does not change the original artistic vision of games and does not have any impact on a game’s performance.
Microsoft also said that some games will see their frame rates effectively double. This jump in frame rate is not available for many titles due to their animations and physics systems, but still allows these games to run in a more stable manner for a “buttery smooth experience.” Microsoft is also taking advantage of the Heutchy method they used for the Xbox One X to upscale the resolution of older games from as low as 360p to as high as 1440p on the Xbox Series S and 4k on the Xbox Series X.
Physical game discs from all Xbox consoles can be inserted into the Xbox Series X and, once downloaded onto the console, played without issue. Digital games linked to your Xbox account will be available in your library upon signing into the new consoles. External drives holding games can also be connected to the new consoles for easy access to older games.
Nicolas Perez is an editorial intern at Paste and opinion co-editor for New University. He’s rambling on Twitter @Nic_Perez__.