Microsoft details Xbox Series X|S auto HDR, double framerates, and backwards compatibility

By Heidi Nicholas,
Peggy Lo, compatibility program lead at Xbox, reiterates the importance of being able to move your gaming experience across generations. In a recent Xbox Wire post, Lo covers auto HDR, double framerates, and backwards compatibility for the Xbox Series X|S.

Xbox Series X|S backward compatibility

"We know how important it is to preserve and respect your gaming legacy," says Lo. "We believe your favourite games and franchises, your progression and achievements, your Xbox One gaming accessories and the friendships and communities you create through gaming should all move with you across generations. We also fundamentally believe that not only should you be able to play all of your games from the past without needing to purchase them again, but they should also look, feel and play better on the next generation of Xbox consoles." Lo adds that "preserving and improving the thousands of games you know and love" has been a key aim since the backward compatibility program started five years ago. "With years of learnings and successes – and over 500,000 hours of gameplay testing across four generations of Xbox in the last year alone getting ready for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S – we couldn’t be more proud of the results you will be able to experience beginning November 10."

Lo says that many Xbox games launched before HDR was introduced with the Xbox One S, or that developers weren't always able to implement HDR. Now, the Xbox team are introducing the Auto HDR feature alongside the Xbox Series X|S, adding HDR enhancements to games which had originally only launched with SDR. Lo says this "enhances the visual quality of an SDR game without changing the original artistic intent of the game." HDR adds a wider variety of colours and depth, but it sounds as though there aren't even any side-effects to the improvements introduced with Auto HDR: "there is absolutely no performance cost to the CPU, GPU or memory and there is no additional latency added ensuring you receive the ultimate gaming experience."

Auto HDR

Lo also outlines new technology allowing for double the framerates. "The backward compatibility team has developed new methods for effectively doubling the framerate on select titles. While not applicable for many titles due to the game’s original physics or animations, these new techniques the team has developed can push game engines to render more quickly for a buttery smooth experience beyond what the original game might have delivered due to the capabilities of the hardware." Check out the comparison video of Fallout 4 at 30 FPS and 60 FPS. Although the current hardware can already boost framerates within certain parameters, this new technology allowing for double framerates is a huge new step, and something that hasn't been achieved with backwards compatibility before.

Lo references the Heutchy method, used to allow Xbox 360 and original Xbox games to run at 4K on Xbox One X. This same method is still in use "to bring a variety of titles to 1440p on Xbox Series S and 4K on Xbox Series X." In addition, while "a portion" of the catalogue on Xbox One X "benefited from increased anisotropic filtering, improving image quality of games," almost all backward compatible titles on the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S feature 16x anisotropic filtering.

"Preserving the games of our past is fundamental to our DNA at Xbox and our continued promise to you," concludes Lo. "Backward compatibility lets you experience your cherished gaming memories again and in new ways. Your favourite games retain everything the original developer intended, while experiencing enhancements and exciting new features. There’s no need to look back, because your games are ready to move forward with you to the next generation of Xbox."
Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Hey, I'm Heidi! I've been a staff writer for TrueAchievements and TrueTrophies since 2019. I love open-worlders, RPGs, and fantasy games, am obsessed with tea, and forever loyal to The Witcher 3 and Red Dead 2.