Xbox Series S enhances backward compatible original Xbox and Xbox 360 games

Xbox Series S
Xbox Series S (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • There's been some concerns over how Xbox Series S handles backward compatible games.
  • According to Digital Foundry, it's not as cut-and-dry as previous reports indicated.
  • Xbox Series S will increase the resolution of original Xbox and enhanced Xbox 360 games to 1440p.
  • Further improvements like doubling framerates are also possible.

After the official reveal of the Xbox Series S, one bit of concern has been about how the console will run backward compatible games in Xbox One S mode, rather than applying the Xbox One X enhancements like the Xbox Series X allows. While this is true for Xbox One games, it's appears it's actually a lot more complicated when it comes to other titles like original Xbox or enhanced Xbox 360 games.

Per Digital Foundry, Xbox Series S enhanced original Xbox games by a factor of 3x, increasing the resolution from 480p to 1440p. Similarly, enhanced Xbox 360 titles like have their resolution increased by 2x to 1440p. While this isn't the 4K upgrade seen on the Xbox One X that will carry over to Xbox Series X, it's a far cry from leaving the games untouched in spite of the more limited Xbox Series S specs.

In addition to supporting the same "auto HDR" machine learning that the Xbox Series X can apply to games like Halo 5: Guardians, the Xbox Series S will also support the doubling of framerates for select games.

"We designed the Series S to enhance the Xbox One S games in a way that the Xbox One X can't do," system architect Andrew Goossen told Digital Foundry. "We made it easy for existing Xbox One S games to be updated to run with double the frame-rate when played on Series S as well."

This is just another factor to keep in mind when deciding between the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. Preorders for both consoles are set to open on September 22, with the Xbox Series X costing $499 and the Xbox Series S costing $299. Both consoles are scheduled to release on November 10.

Xbox Series X/S


Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.