A lot of the focus of Microsoft’s new Xbox One X console is on 4K and HDR gaming, but there are thousands of Xbox fans who still haven’t upgraded to a 4K TV. While the 4K focus is obvious, Microsoft is explaining in more detail exactly how existing games will run better on an Xbox One X without a 4K TV.
Microsoft has an Xbox One X Enhanced program, which means games with the “Enhanced” tag have been optimized for the new console. This doesn’t necessarily mean that 4K and HDR have been added, as there are separate logos for those features, but Enhanced means the game will run better on the Xbox One X on a 1080p or 4K TV.
Microsoft is allowing developers to use supersampling to ensure games still look better on a 1080p TV. Supersampling essentially scales down 4K image quality to a 1080p screen, so you get the benefits of texture improvements, faster framerates, and improved image quality. A 1080p supersampled image should still be a noticeable improvement over what the Xbox One S currently provides.
Older games should still work better on Xbox One X
Even if games aren’t Xbox One X Enhanced, Microsoft is promising that some older titles should still run better regardless. You should get better texture quality, improved framerates and resolutions, depending on how the game was built.
The 4K indicator simply means a game has a 2160p buffer output, but that 4K support will include native, checkerboarding, and dynamic resolution. Microsoft’s HDR support is the regular HDR10 standard that is also used on the Xbox One S, and there’s no word on Dolby Vision support.
Ultimately, game developers will decide how their games take advantage of the new power inside the Xbox One X. Microsoft now has more than 130 titles enhanced for the Xbox One X, a considerable amount more than Sony had for its PS4 Pro launch. It’s still too early to know exactly how each game will be updated or how new titles will utilize the Xbox One X.
However, Rise of the Tomb Raider is a good example of offering choice for gamers. You can pick between an enriched 1080p mode with more advanced textures and better environments, or a 4K native mode. Other games will simply enhance the 1080p version and never offer a 4K equivalent, and others will focus on 4K support.
Microsoft also opened preorders for the standard Xbox One X today, following the Project Scorpio edition that sold out quickly last month. The Xbox One X will be available on November 7th with 1TB of storage for $499.