Xbox Series X Could Push Some Backward Compatible Games to 120 FPS

Xbox Series X Could Push Some Backward Compatible Games to 120 FPS

Microsoft's talking up its newest advancements for playing old games.

Microsoft is holding fast to a promised Holiday 2020 launch for the Xbox Series X, and with so much already known about the console's hardware, there's still plenty to learn about what we'll be playing on it. Hopefully, we'll be seeing more new Series X titles soon, but today Microsoft is taking a moment to spotlight the new and improved backward compatibility features coming to the Series X.

In a new post on Xbox Wire, Director of Program Management Jason Ronald talks about some of the goal-setting, difficulties, and new techniques bound up in the Series X's backward compatibility approach. Some of the most intriguing features Ronald discusses have been mentioned in earlier previews, but there are a few fresh details to tease out in the post.

Notably, Ronald throws out some hard numbers as a tease for what Series X could do for older games' frame rates. Speaking with our friends at Digital Foundry back in March, Compatibility Program Lead Peggy Lo said Microsoft was exploring methods to boost frame rates on older titles, "maybe doubling them." That work won't be limited to slower running titles, apparently: Ronald says Microsoft is "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."

Ronald also discusses machine learning-applied HDR, another backward compatibility feature, in glowing terms. Digital Foundry saw "a technical demo" of the technique working with Halo 5 and the original Fuzion Frenzy during its recent preview. Software engineer Claude Marais specified that the solution could "theoretically" be applied to all backwards compatible games. Today, Ronald frames the feature as one of the major new improvements coming to Series X backward compatibility and adds that, as a platform-level feature, it should incur "zero impact to the game's performance."

Quick Resume is another Series X platform feature that we're learning can be used with backward compatible titles. This feature promises to let players have multiple different games suspended, then resume play from the paused state "almost instantly." A few months back, Xbox's Larry Hryb confirmed that Quick Resume even works after system updates followed by a reboot.

Backward compatibility with an eye for improving performance is also something that Sony's working on for the PlayStation 5, though it has only discussed support for PlayStation 4 titles so far. It's great to see both companies making serious commitments to compatibility while also teasing higher resolutions and frame rates for older titles, but hopefully we'll also see more of what both consoles can do with brand-new games sooner rather than later.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Mathew Olson


Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

In other news

Shigeru Miyamoto Expresses Confidence in the Younger Generation of Nintendo

The legendary creator says the spirit will stay alive.

NPD: PS5 Sets New US Console Launch Records While Switch Holds Strong

A strong debut for Sony hasn't stopped Switches from flying off shelves.

The Last of Us Part 2 Takes Home Top Prize at The Game Awards: Here Are All the Winners

Hades, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and Among Us did get some well-earned love too.

Need help?

Little Friends Dogs and Cats Walks - Treasure, Statues, Misbehaviour

Taking your Dog out for a walk in Little Friends Dogs and Cats is one of the easiest ways to level them up. Here’s how treasure, marking, and Misbehaviour works.

Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee - Essential Tips, Complete Beginner’s Guide

Here's our guide to both Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu, and Pokemon Let's Go Eevee, including tips, how to make an excellent throw, how to transfer Pokemon, and more.

Luigi’s Mansion 3 Achievements: How to Check Your Achievements

You’ll earn Achievements while playing Luigi’s Mansion. Here’s a full list of them, and some info on how to check the ones you’ve completed so far.

Little Friends Dogs and Cats Tickets - How to Get More Blue and Pink Tickets

Some of the best items in Little Friends Dogs and Cats can only be bought using tickets. Here’s how to get them.