The Xbox Series X on PlayStation five have generated tons of hype so far with hardware and graphics capabilities, well beyond what we've seen so far from previous consoles. But, let's be honest, all of us have games from yesteryear that might not be as graphically pleasing, but they're still incredibly fun. So what's the story with backwards compatibility on these new consoles?
Let's start with the good news. No matter which console you buy, both Sony and Microsoft, have put in a lot of time, optimizing older titles, for the new hardware. So you should get an experience that's better than simply, it functions.
We're first going to specifically talk about, the Xbox Series X and S. Microsoft is promising that its newest consoles will provide an enhanced experience for games going all the way back, to the 2001 vintage original Xbox.
Before you get too excited, not every single old school game will work. Microsoft has confirmed that the backwards compatible game list is basically the same as we saw on the Xbox One lineup, which amounts to a few dozen original Xbox titles, and over 500 Xbox 360 games, and the entire Xbox One library is available as well.
But what about performance improvements? Well, some popular titles like Forza Horizon four, and Gears five are going to be directly optimized, for the new Xbox hardware. Though it wasn't exactly realistic for Microsoft to go back and do this for every game in their back catalog.
Instead, the series X and S are going to use some tricks to make games that Microsoft didn't spend a ton of time on manual optimizing, look better. One is called Auto HDR, which is just what it sounds like. The console will use machine learning to apply HDR, to any game that didn't initially support it. Unless Microsoft specifically thinks it doesn't look good on that game, and then they will not do it on that game.
Early reviews indicate while it obviously isn't as good as Native HDR, it does make aging titles look better. And another cool thing, is that it's implemented in hardware, meaning it won't put extra strain, on the console's GPU or CPU, that can otherwise cause slowdowns.
The new Xboxes will also force game engines, in certain older games to render at double the frame rate. Meaning some titles will play at 60 FPS instead of 30, plus, there will be upscaling that we originally saw, on Xbox One X, to get all those titles to run at 4K, or 1440 P on the series X and S respectively. Even original Xbox games.
If you're concerned about save games, Xbox One saves, will transfer automatically, while 360 saves, can be uploaded to the cloud. But you're out of luck with your 18-year-old save game from your original Xbox.
In all, Microsoft claims its spent over half a million gameplay hours on testing backwards compatible games. But, what if you're more of a, PlayStation kind of person?
Similarly to the Xbox lineup, the PlayStation five, will leverage the console's more powerful hardware, to enable higher resolutions and frame rates, on some older titles in what Sony calls, game boost. Where the silicon will be clocked to a higher frequency, for better performance. Sony has actually even said that some older games, can't handle game boost, because the PS5 hardware, is so powerful, something PC gamers, will actually be familiar with.
But even if your favorite PS4 game does not support game boost, the good news is that nearly all of PS4 titles are compatible, with the PS5. Importantly, PSVR titles are supported as well. So you won't need to buy a whole new headset, in order to keep playing virtual reality games.
Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the PS5 won't, have support for any games for consoles prior to the PS4. Though you will still be able to play a large number, of PS3 and PS2 games, through PS Now, Sony's game streaming service. You can also transfer cloud saves automatically, but only with a paid PlayStation Plus subscription, so keep that in mind, if you have a lot of unfinished games on your PS4.
But wait a sec, what about my PS1 games? I was really looking forward to Crash Bandicoot Racing, in 4K. Well, maybe one day.