Microsoft’s Xbox Series X (opens in new tab) could improve the visuals of all the games it supports thanks to sporting native HDR calibration.
We have previously heard that Microsoft’s next-generation console will support HDR (opens in new tab), much like the Xbox One S (opens in new tab) and Xbox One X (opens in new tab) before it. But some digging by videogame colorist Adam Fairclough found text that references system-wide HDR calibration in Xbox system text.
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The HDR references were found in Xbox preview dashboard system text, which was shared on Pastebin by a security researcher. Fairclough, going by the name of EvilBoris (opens in new tab) on Twitter, then discovered three lines referring to “HDMICalibration” and “TML” (aka tone mapping level), which track with what the HDR Gaming Interest Group have recommended as parameters for HDR.
Looks like the HGIG HDR settings are coming to Xbox in the future SYSTEM\XConfig\HDMICalibrationMaxFFTMLVersion1: 0 SYSTEM\XConfig\HDMICalibrationMaxTMLVersion1: 0 SYSTEM\XConfig\HDMICalibrationMinTMLVersion1: 0June 30, 2020
In short, the text basically hints that the Xbox Series X could come with its own HDR calibration system. That could then have the benefit of automatically applying HDR to games even if the developers haven’t added support for it themselves, thus improving their overall appearance.
For those who don’t know, HDR stands for high dynamic range, which offers a wider range of contrast, brighter highlights and punchier colors in videos, movies and games that support it. It’s become a rather attractive feature that’s filtered down from high-end TV into mid-range sets, and is something the PS4 (opens in new tab) and current-generation Xbox consoles also support.
In games however, HDR is reliant on the developer baking in HDR support. And many games implement it in different ways, leading to an inconsistent experience.
But is the Xbox Series X has system-wide HDR it can not only ensure a degree of consistency but also help add HDR to games that don’t natively come with it. This is already something teated for the console’s backwards compatibility, but it could also give new games a decent visual boost as well, though we’d hope that new titles are more active at offering HDR support.
Furthermore, it would appear that the Xbox Series X will calibrate its HDR output to your TV, providing it supports HDR (opens in new tab), which could remove a lot of the pain of doing such calibrations manually if you’re someone who likes to get the best out of their TV’s picture.
With the Xbox Series X slated to have 12 teraflops of power, support for ray-tracing, run games at 4K and up to 120 frames per second, deeper HDR support could be the icing in the cake for Microsoft’s next-generation console when it arrives at the end of the year.