Microsoft continues its campaign of putting out details on the Xbox Series X, and today revealed that, in addition to having backwards compatibility, the XSX will employ some techno wizardry to make the older games much better looking than they originally were.
Jason Ronald, Director of Program Management for the new console, revealed in an Xbox Wire update that Microsoft’s augmenting the launch line-up of the XSX with older games. We already knew the console would be backwards compatible with games from every previous Xbox generation, but Ronald adds that, through some process that sounds pretty complicated, the company will make the games look better on XSX than they did on the original consoles:
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 doesn’t mention how many games will get this next-gen glow-up, just that it can be applied to 360 and OG Xbox titles, which is pretty impressive considering how old those games are now. He also adds that “the compatibility team developed brand new innovations that could be applied to a hand curated list of titles to enhance them even further than what was possible when they were first created,” which includes bumping resolutions up to 4K and framerates up to 120fps.
The Xbox One, for all that it touts the feature now, didn’t have backwards compatibility at launch. And when Microsoft did incorporate the feature, it did so gradually, over a long period of time. But it seems the company has fully embraced it and is using it in the marketing push, which means the feature must have gone over well with Xbox One gamers.
Compare and contrast the PlayStation 5, the creators of which have been rather cagey about backwards compatibility. Initial reports seemed to imply the console would be compatible with about 100 PS4 games, but the company quickly reassured users that the majority of PS4 games would work on the new system. Then, around the same time this XSX report was released, a cached page on the official PlayStation site seemed to imply the console would only be able to play those games with a system update (though this doesn’t seem that unreasonable to me).
Either way, PlayStation head honcho Jim Ryan has made it clear he’d prefer if games that were made on the PS5 were exclusive to the console to convince more gamers to jump ship. That attitude is diametrically opposed by Microsoft, which says it’s not going to bother with launch exclusives because gamers will transition when they’re able to.
While Microsoft has tried to say it’s no longer rivals with Sony, it seems the two companies still make for good comparisons to each other.