Microsoft’s new FPS Boost feature on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, which has the potential to quadruple the frame rate of older games without any input from developers, could improve Xbox 360 and original Xbox games.
Jason Ronald, Xbox Director of Program Management, revealed the news during a performance on the Pretty funny podcast (thanks, Pure Xbox), but noted that the team is focusing on Xbox One generation titles first.
“Right now, we’re mainly focusing on Xbox One generation titles because we’ve seen the best results there. We are still evaluating: can we bring this technology back to Xbox 360 games or original Xbox games? Ronald said.
Notably, most Xbox 360 games and original Xbox games ran at 30 frames per second. Using the FPS Boost feature, it’s possible that Microsoft could retroactively double or even quadruple the frame rates of these titles, making for a smoother, more responsive gameplay experience.
FPS Boost currently only works with a small selection of titles: Watch Dogs 2, Far Cry 4, UFC 4, New Super Lucky’s Tale, and Sniper Elite 4. However, it’s not something that can be easily applied to every backward compatible game as the technology can cause some problems depending on how a game is coded.
“The techniques we came up with don’t work for every title. We actually got a few games to work, and honestly, I’m playing the game, it’s super awesome, it feels great, it’s buttery smooth, but then all of a sudden we realize, ‘oh, this character in the corner is two times faster. ‘”, Ronald explained. “Or, maybe three quarters of the game, we suddenly find a physics-breaking bug because the system is running the game so fast that the game doesn’t really know how to handle it.”
Despite the challenges that some games can pose, Ronald expects new batches of games to be announced every few weeks that support FPS Boost. It means your existing library of Xbox One games can be dramatically improved, at no cost to you or input from the original developer.
FPS Boost is another sign Microsoft’s fervent commitment to backward compatibility. The company has previously improved the resolution of older 360 and Xbox titles on Xbox One X, such as Red Dead Redemption, which now runs at 4K, and added features such as Auto HDR, which cleverly adds high dynamic range to Xbox One games did not originally support the technology.