Will Xbox Series X games be held back by previous Xbox hardware?
Nope nope nope nope.
So this week I've seen YouTubers and commentators fall over themselves to pour fear all over the Xbox Series X for, in my view, something that should be seen as a pro-consumer move.
Xbox Studios head Matt Booty said in an interview that indeed, the Xbox Series X will be a cross-gen console, with games hitting Xbox One X and S, in addition to the Series X.
The common narrative has been that this is somehow bad, because it somehow, checks notes, will restrict games to their base version, namely the Xbox One S. Wait, what? Really?
Okay, so there were instances even this generation where games have only had Xbox One S scaling modes, skipping the extra power provided by the Xbox One X. Back in 2017. But in 2020, I had to search pretty hard to find examples. The vast majority, if not all, AAA games in 2020 do have an Xbox One X mode, with up to 4K visuals, or 60 frames per second, or in some cases both.
Does that change for the Xbox Series X? The answer is quite literally no.
The Xbox Series X will launch with the same development environment as the Xbox One, S, and X, dubbed ERA. Developers can use Xbox's APIs to scale their games to meet the hardware of each Xbox SKU, far more easily than they could in the previous generational transition. Many games achieved obviously superior visuals on Xbox One and PS4 despite being cross-gen titles, such as Assassin's Creed Black Flag, Battlefield 4, and Grand Theft Auto V. Some games like RYSE, widely regarded as the best-looking console game for quite literally years were originally being built for Xbox 360, too.
You might be able to argue PowerPC and x86 architecture simultaneously (along with Kinect, ahem) hurt the RYSE's scope and gameplay, but we live in very different times now. The Xbox Series X shares a developer environment, and a dev kit, with the Xbox One S and X. This is complete with modern software, improved developer tools, and a common set of APIs. Although the Xbox 360 version never actually launched, in today's times, RYSE would've fared far better as a cross-generational title, with improved tools to scale to different devices.
Now, you can argue that developers don't have the resources or dev hours to target each SKU with specific graphics settings. Typically those developers are on the indie side, which are less likely to be pushing photorealistic visuals anyway. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, it just is what it is.
There could be some legit arguments here, though. The CPU boost and Xbox Series X "SSD as RAM" could provide actual gameplay benefits alongside prettier grass and higher-def puddles. For example, you could have tens of thousands of zombies on-screen instead of mere thousands. I'd argue that most game developers probably wouldn't be utilizing those unique features at the start of a generation anyway, seeking to maximize profit by putting their games across both generations. That has always been the case. Grand Theft Auto V is one of the most successful examples of a cross-gen game remaining relevant throughout two console generations. With digital gaming, games as a service, and the rise of cloud streaming — things are just different now.
Microsoft would also be cutting itself off at the knees to disconnect the tens of millions of Xbox One owners out there, many of whom may just be picking up Xbox One X consoles for the first time as soon as 2019. In a world where Project Xcloud streaming, easy access via Xbox Game Pass (opens in new tab) and Xbox All Access (opens in new tab) are things, install base is god. Arbitrarily adhering to the "old-school rules" of a new console generation is simply a bad business decision in 2020.
It's on Microsoft to prove why the Xbox Series X is a worthwhile purchase when it goes on sale in 2020, and I firmly believe they will do that with visuals designed specifically for the Series X. AAA third-party developers will also lend support, because at the end of the day, why wouldn't they? Why wouldn't they want their games to look as good as they possibly can when the option is there? Nobody is suggesting the prevalence of older GPUs prevents PC games from getting ray-tracing and 4K textures on the high-end. I wonder why. Oh, it's because they don't hold games back.
Related: Everything we know about the Xbox Series X
Xbox Series X/S
- Xbox Series X: Everything we know
- Best games coming to Xbox Series X/S
- List of Xbox Series X specs
- What is the Xbox Series X release date?
- How much does Xbox Series X cost?
- Why you can't preorder Xbox Series X yet
- Best Xbox Series X Headsets
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
The development environment, tools, api's, engines, will be the same. So not much new to learn in the beginning and redo unlike previous gen when everything changed. That doesn't mean everything can scale though. Just that the tools are the same.
Is there a business case for it for the studio. Yes
Can graphics scale, especially as still DX12 level of hardware. Yes.
The title and overriding premise, will it hold games back. Actually YES it will.
Using XO and 1X as examples isn't applicable. The 1X was made to run XO games just better, so basically just an upgraded GPU, supercharged XO.
Next gen, every part of the system is a generational jump not just the GPU. Said it himself, the dev environment will be the same, but it actually means the opposite of what he says. It means they can make use of next gen features much quicker than before. Is it consumer friendly? Not sure why if they are going to make exclusives in a year anyway. So I don't particularly have much of a view on that for now.
MS didn't make Titanfall and RoTR. MS had deals with 3rd party studios to make these games. Can you tell me which studio made the 360 port of Tomb raider? "And then the Xbox One version will have an outside studio scale the engines back for Xbox One."
Do you have a link to this or is it only you speculating once again?
I never said it cant be done I only asked EVIDENCE for this statement of yours:
"the Xbox One version will have an outside studio scale the engines back for Xbox One." It's REALLY not difficult to understand!
Have any games been 'exclusively' released for my RTX 2080 Ti? Have I been able to play many games on both my 2080 Ti AND my 980 Ti from several years back?
What simply happens is to scale back on performance or features for the older cards (eg. RTX on/off, 1080p vs. 2k or 4k, low, mid, high, ultra textures, 30 fps vs. 60 fps etc.). It's really that simple. Console developers only traditionally took the 'easy' development route because it was previously a clean generational transition. But the rules have changed, the performance leaps are no longer as dramatic as in previous generations, I still look at some 13 year old x360 games that are pretty good looking graphically (was playing SC IV the other day and it still looks impressive). Now, console developers have to start making games with the approach of PC developers that are used to multiple performance classes (that's why there's always a minimum and recommended specs for PC games for as long as I can remember, not a single spec). This is hardly an issue, performance and features will simply scale.
No xbox game will be better than Spider Man 2, God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn 2, TLOU2, Ghost of Tsushima etc...
Also Nintendo Switch Pro will outsell Xbox SX (again)
No VR, No Next gen games lol
".It ain't anywhere close to be the best burger joint or even chain out there... Sony is the McDonald of gaming get a clue or keep eating junk game thx you bye bye"
What an idiotic argument. I mean it's not as if the XB/MS games have been critically acclaimed successes. LOL
Not sure who are these Sony trolls. But you know why people are taking video games seriously? Maybe because they are actually fans of video games.
Unlike idiots who are fans of company.
Some people love video games and that's their priority, Some other are fans of company and that company is their priority. Worshipping a company? hahah
That's really sad and pathetic imo, jams... :)
LOL the irony... I said company fanboys who worship a company are sad and pathetic.
You sound upset. Did you take that comment to heart? LOL
That's really sad and pathetic imo, jams... " Yes, it is sad and pathetic that worship companies so much that you refuse to even look at Microsoft' critically acclaimed games.
Halo CE?? Are you having a laugh? That was bungie game.
The last 2 main Halo games were "MS games". And they turned out to be the worse rated main Halo game in it's history.
Forza started getting better ratings than GT, ok. But that's probably because they turned it into a yearly franchise like FIFA, or COD. It's hilarious how you bring real old games to prove your point. Innovation??? HAHAH
Yeah, MS introduced brilliant innovation like paying to play online. Also they were one of the first idiots to introduce microtransactions in gaming.
Also pushing for microtransactions and loot box during the XB1 era:
Remember 2013 when they wanted to take a fee from used game sale? or when they wanted to add DRM and 24 hour check on every game? LOL
That's the type of brilliant innovation they are great at. MS called their 2015 lineup the best in XB history.
So let's see what that lineup was all about:
- Halo 5: Lowest rated main Halo game in the history of the franchise.
- Forza 6: Yearly forza
- Gears of war UE: remastered of an old game
- RoTR: third party game, Timed. They invested money so that other gamers get the game late. And THAT is MS's best lineup according to MS. You want to talk quality? Look at some of their recent main release. SoT (incomplete game, lack of content, full of fetch quests), SoD2 (buggy game that was sold to gamers as a AAA game but was hardly an improvement from the first) or Crackdown 3 (one of the most downgraded game in history with their laughable "power of the cloud"). Not only does MS release FAR less exclusives for their console, the few they release are usually worse rated than the PS4 exclusives. You really need to bring better argument because so far you've got NOTHING.
XB has no PSNow? "PS5 has no access to the many studio's under xbox studios"
XB console has no access to the many studio's under SIE. "MSFT has actually always dominated sit down gaming. Between PC gaming, and xbox, MSFT's platforms have far more market share than PS. "
What? "sit down gaming"?
So do you have any proof of that? Last time I checked PSN active monthly user was at 103m, XBL monthly active user was around 65m and that number also included some android, steam, iOS and even switch gamers... "MSFT's own studios make about 1/3 of MSFT's yearly revenue"
Do you have a link of that? "How much does sony make from actually making it's own games?"
No idea, but Sony's games are very important in their business model which focuses on the popularity of their console. Their games contribute to that and it's difficult to measure. And this business model is actually profitable. (check finance statements for actual number) Can you tell me how much the XB made in profit or loss in 2018 or 2019? "But nobody thinks that xbox is currently under bad leadership, or is likely to do badly."
Maybe YOU don't think that. I actually think that. Spencer has been a big part of the XB1 generation. I don't think he is that great to be honest. Also, I'm not sure the console will sell well just like how I predicted that the XB1 won't in 2013.
At this stage, all we can do is take PROPER information, analyse it and make a prediction based on that.
We'll just wait and see what happens.
They have done it so often, wait for after the holiday season to make such announcements...
They have done it so often, waiting for after the holiday season to make this type of announcements...