It’s no secret that I’m a huge advocate of backwards-compatibility, that game preservation is something that everyone in the games industry should have in the forefront of any IP they have.
It brings about nostalgia and an audience across multiple generations, which is why I can’t fault Microsoft’s efforts in leading with this, compared to Sony’s apparent ignorance on the topic.
But alongside the lifted embargo’s of hands-on with the Xbox Series S and X last week, a few videos came out showcasing their performance on backwards-compatibility games, showing huge improvements in some cases.
Let’s see what the improvements where, and what other games could benefit from this in the future.
The benefits of backwards-compatibility
Thanks to Digital Foundry, the gains on frame rates are enormous on some games, especially with ’Dead or Alive 6’. Games that seemingly reached their limit on the Xbox One consoles are about to see a new lease of life on the Series S/X releases.
The steady 60FPS is a testament to the optimisation that Microsoft have made with their platform, and the games from long ago. But it also brings about opportunity for these as well.
Halo 3 was known for bringing improvements when it was made available on the Xbox One. With HDR and better textures, it brought the game into a fresh light so to speak.
With a new generation of consoles, I wouldn’t be surprised to see even more improvements made to existing releases. Banjo Kazooie in native 4K? Project Gotham Racing 2 in HDR? The possibilities are now endless.
What could it mean for future games from the past?
With GamePass now available through the cloud and the above improvements now out there, Microsoft can push the backwards-compatibility even more for the coming years.
Not just Banjo and Project Gotham Racing in 4K, but a resurrected multiplayer for past games across multiple platforms for example. Sony have made it clear that they have no interest in PlayStaton 5 having backwards-compatibility past the PS4, so all of this is a gain to Microsoft.
Many players who have an image of their favourite game that they grew up with, can see it in a native resolution on their 4K TV. It’s possible, and it holds that nostalgic memory intact. It doesn’t bring shock as a game once did when a PS1 game would be blown up on a 4K TV
The backwards-compatibility game is all but won by Microsoft here, the question is, what are the next steps, and will we finally see Rare Replay on xCloud? It’s all to play for, and it’s all one-sided as 2020 stands.
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