How Xbox Series X Backwards Compatibility Makes Your Old Games Better Than Ever

With Xbox Series X, Microsoft doesn't just want players to bring their entire library of games with them--it wants those old games to look a lot better too.


In a Xbox Wire blog post, Xbox partner director of program management Jason Ronald wrote about backwards compatibility support for Xbox Series X. Microsoft's next-gen console will support backwards compatibility for original Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One games and Ronald promises that thousands of those titles will be playable on Xbox Series X on day one. New backwards compatibility techniques will allow the games to run at higher resolutions and with HDR support they originally lacked, too.

"With more than 100,000 hours of play testing already completed, thousands of games are already playable on Xbox Series X today, from the biggest blockbusters to cult classics and fan favorites," he wrote. "Many of us in Team Xbox play on the Xbox Series X daily as our primary console and switching between generations is seamless. By the time we launch this holiday, the team will have spent well over 200,000 hours ensuring your game library is ready for you to jump in immediately."

Series X won't just play your old Xbox games--it will also improve how they look. "The team was not content to just rely on the increased hardware performance to improve your playing experience," Ronald wrote. "Xbox Series X delivers a new, innovative HDR reconstruction technique which enables the platform to automatically add HDR support to games. As this technique is handled by the platform itself, it allows us to enable HDR with zero impact to the game's performance and we can also apply it to Xbox 360 and original Xbox titles developed almost 20 years ago, well before the existence of HDR."

Ronald added that Series X will incorporate innovations that backwards compatibility on Xbox 360 and Xbox One didn't, including "brand new techniques that enable even more titles to run at higher resolutions and image quality while still respecting the artistic intent and vision of the original creators." The Series X will have the ability to double the frame rate of certain games as well, upping titles that run at 30 FPS to 60 FPS and 60 FPS to 120 FPS.

All backwards compatible games will support Series X's quick resume feature as well, allowing you to quickly navigate between multiple games across all four generations of Xbox. Quick resume will be a console feature--so all games that release for Series X will automatically be able to take advantage of it without developer input.

Of course, a new console needs new games too and Microsoft wants to assure its playerbase that it isn't skimping on exclusives when it comes to the Xbox Series X's library of games. "Led by Halo Infinite, our 15 Xbox Game Studios teams are hard at work creating the biggest and best line up of exclusives in Xbox history," Ronald wrote. "We are incredibly excited to show many of the new games in development for Xbox Series X soon."

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