Xbox Series X Will Launch With “Thousands” of Enhanced Backward Compatible Games

Microsoft is working to ensure that most of Xbox's greatest games will be available on Xbox Series X at launch.

Xbox Series X
Photo: Microsoft

In a post on Xbox Wire, Jason Ronald, Director of Program Management for Xbox Series X, shed some light on Microsoft’s ambitious next-gen backward compatibility plans.

“With more than 100,000 hours of playtesting already completed, thousands of games are already playable on Xbox Series X today, from the biggest blockbusters to cult classics and fan favorites,” says Ronald. “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.”

In a statement to IGN, Ronald confirmed that the team’s goal is to eventually ensure that all games which are playable on Xbox One are also playable on Xbox Series X. That means every Xbox One game as well as every Xbox 360 and Xbox game that is compatible with that console.

Having said that, Ronald does recognize that it will simply not be possible to port some games to the next generation console (at least not at first) due to a variety of technical and legal hurdles. However, it sounds like the numbers of games which will be affected by those problems will end up being relatively small.

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Even better, Ronald confirmed that Xbox Series X will enhance the visual quality of these older experiences and even shared some new details regarding how, exactly, Xbox Series X technology will improve backward compatible games.

“The team was not content to just rely on the increased hardware performance to improve your playing experience,” Ronald says. “In partnership with the Xbox Advanced Technology Group, 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.”

Along with enhanced resolution, it seems the team is actually aiming to improve the original frame rates of these older titles. Ronald notes that engineers are actually experimenting with doubling frame rates in some cases with 30 FPS titles now running at 60 FPS and some 60 FPS titles running at 120 FPS. However, Ronald does not give specific examples of which titles will be enhanced in such ways.

On top of it all, it seems that backward compatibility titles on Xbox Series X will benefit from the console’s Quick Resume feature which allows you to suspend the state of several games at once and resume whenever you wish.

Put it all together, and it sounds like Microsoft is doing quite a lot to preserve the value of your previous generation Xbox titles as well as ensure that the Xbox Series X’ initial library isn’t limited to the relatively small smattering of titles that we’ve seen thus far.