Today, Microsoft finally unveiled many of the specs for its upcoming Xbox Series X, but the company also detailed something arguably as important: how the console will handle backwards compatibility. According to Microsoft, the Series X will support “four generations” of Xbox games, something the company alluded to last year.
“Our commitment to compatibility means existing Xbox One games, including backward-compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games, look and play better than ever before,” Xbox head Phil Spencer wrote in a blog post. “Your favorite games, including titles in Xbox Game Pass, benefit from steadier framerates, faster load times and improved resolution and visual fidelity – all with no developer work required. Your Xbox One gaming accessories also come forward with you.”
Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red has revealed that its massive open-world RPG will be one such cross-generation release. “Gamers should never be forced to purchase the same game twice or pay for upgrades,” the developer said.
There’s also a new feature, called “Smart Delivery,” which essentially turns Xbox games into universal apps if developers and publishers choose to utilize it. Here’s how Microsoft describes it:
This technology empowers you to buy a game once and know that — whether you are playing it on Xbox One or Xbox Series X — you are getting the right version of that game on whatever Xbox you’re playing on. We’re making the commitment to use Smart Delivery on all our exclusive Xbox Game Studios titles, including Halo Infinite, ensuring you only have to purchase a title once in order to play the best available version for whichever Xbox console they choose to play on. This technology is available for all developers and publishers, and they can choose to use it for titles that will be release on Xbox One first and come to the Xbox Series X later.
Microsoft says we’ll hear more about the Series X in the months leading up to E3 in June. The console is expected to launch this holiday season.
Update February 24th, 10:30AM ET: Added details on Cyberpunk 2077 on Xbox Series X.