Microsoft is doubling down on a known strength by confirming that the Xbox Series X will launch with “thousands” of games, leveraging its years-long backward-compatibility efforts, in comparison to Sony’s mixed messaging on PlayStation 5’s backwards-compatibility capabilities.
“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,” Xbox Series X Director of Program Management Jason Ronald wrote in a new blog on Xbox Wire. “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.”
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Ronald also spoke with IGN, and when asked if “thousands” meant that the goal was every single Xbox One game – in addition the hundreds of Xbox 360 and original Xbox games already compatible with Xbox One that will also play on Xbox Series X – Ronald said, “The goal is definitely the thousands of titles that run on Xbox One today. If the game runs on Xbox One, it is our goal to get that to run on Series X. There might be some one-off exceptions here or there,” he added, noting that “licensing or a technical issue[s]” should be the only possible roadblocks. For instance, in the former case, a game with licensed music whose contract with the publisher has expired.
Even better, Ronald says that Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox games will run better on Series X than they originally did. “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 said on Xbox Wire. “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.”
When pressed for specific examples, Ronald said, “All of them are seeing a lot of benefits in certain areas.” As an example, he noted “titles that use dynamic resolution scaling – now it’s a rock-solid 4K or whatever its originally designed resolution was.” HDR is among the new technologies being seamlessly retrofitted into older Xbox games. “Geometry Wars is one that I really enjoy. To actually see that in HDR…” he tailed off, also mentioning Boom Boom Rocket alongside the two games that have already had their post-generational HDR added, Halo 5: Guardians and Fuzion Frenzy.
Higher framerates are also in the mix: “The compatibility team has invented 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,” Ronald said in his blog. “We are also creating whole new classes of innovations including the ability to double the frame rate of a select set of titles from 30 fps to 60 fps or 60 fps to 120 fps.” We asked about any specific 120fps examples, if you’ve got the TV for it, and Ronald noted that they do exist, but they can’t confirm any quite yet. “In a lot of cases we have so much processing power in the Xbox Series X [that] what used to take a set number of milliseconds in prior generation consoles, it just runs through that computation so fast that the GPU is just sitting there waiting to do work.” He continued: “But part of the challenge is that some titles actually base their physics or animation on [the framerate], so we’re still figuring out what titles we can actually do this with without violating the original intent of the title. We definitely have some titles we’ve seen go from 30 to 60 and there’s a handful of titles we’ve seen go from 60 to 120, but we’re still in the process of validating the game end-to-end.”
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Source: IGN.com Xbox Series X To Launch With 'Thousands' of Games