Last week, Microsoft revealed the Xbox Series S, the company’s baby all-digital ninth-generation console. While there is a lot to like about the sibling of the Xbox Series X, such as its $299 price and solid specs, there’s now something to dislike. It has to do with Microsoft’s Backward Compatibility situation.
Specifically, Microsoft says the Xbox Series S won’t be able to enhance older games like the Series X can.
You may remember Microsoft has been promising complete backward compatibility for the ninth generation. One of the cool things about the company’s plan is that games from across Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One will work on the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. Thousands of games will be available for back catalogs.
So far, so good. Microsoft also revealed the Xbox Series X can upscale Xbox One games to make them look and perform better. Microsoft is adding HDR reconstruction allowing any game running on the console to have HDR. This essentially means improved visuals beyond what was available when many games were launched. For example, some titles will run at double their original framerates (30fps to 60fps or 60fps to 120fps).
Not Available on Series S
It was widely assumed this functionality would extend to the Xbox Series S. Unfortunately, Microsoft now says that is not the case.
“Xbox Series S was designed to be the most affordable next-generation console and play next-generation games at 1440P at 60fps,” A Microsoft spokesperson told IGN. “To deliver the highest quality backwards compatible experience consistent with the developer’s original intent, the Series S runs the Xbox One S version of backward compatible games while applying improved texture filtering, higher and more consistent frame rates, faster load times and Auto HDR.”
I have been a huge fan of Microsoft’s backward compatibility plans, and I am not quite as devasted by this news as some are. That said, it does remove a nice feature of running older games with better quality from the Xbox One S.