These Bethesda Game Pass games have a secret weapon on Xbox Series X

xbox series x review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The day after Microsoft completed its $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda, 20 of the company’s games appeared on Game Pass, instantly playable to anybody with a $9.99 per month subscription. Now it looks like there will soon be a big bonus for anybody browsing that catalogue on a brand new Xbox Series X.

Speaking on the official Xbox podcast, Xbox senior communications manager Jeff Rubenstein revealed that five of the 20 titles — Skyrim, Fallout 4, Fallout 76, Dishonored and Prey — will take advantage of the Xbox Series X’s FPS Boost technology, meaning frame rates go well above what was possible on the Xbox One.  

Interestingly, at the time of writing, all mention of FPS Boost seems to have been removed from the video, but the reveal was widely reported after first being spotted by @Wario64 on Twitter. You can see the sudden jump in Larry Hryb’s position at 14:16 where the cut has been made. Hopefully, that's not a sign that Rubenstein spoke too soon.

In any case, you’re not really missing much by not hearing the exact wording. Frame rates will reach nearly 60 fps, but no mention was made as to the differences Series S and Series X players will experience. Notably, there was no suggestion of a release date for the upgrade, but it’s good to know that it is at least in the pipeline — even if it’s no surprise with Fallout 4, given it was the title that Microsoft demoed the technology with way back in October.

Obviously, acquiring Bethesda and ensuring that future titles will be exclusive to PC and Xbox is a big win for Microsoft, but this is also a more subtle triumph in the fight with PS5.  

While the PS5 supports virtually every PS4 game via backward compatibility, it’s clear that Sony doesn’t put as much stock in the feature as Microsoft. Games may get a frame rate boost if they’re uncapped, but those locked at 30 fps will remain the same unless developers take the time to make a native PS5 port. That’s why the likes of Call of Duty Warzone and Rocket League play at 120fps on Xbox Series X, but don’t have the option on PS5, despite the technical capabilities of the console: it’s not a trivial patch.

It would be nice to see Sony make its backwards compatibility policy a little more flexible, but it doesn’t seem to be dampening enthusiasm for the console in any measurable way. Both PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles go out of stock almost as soon as they appear, meaning it’s just too early to tell which company will have the upper hand when this generation comes to an end.

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.