Games that will be the “Optimised for Xbox Series X” badge will have improved framerates, boosted graphics and ray-tracing. They will also benefit from the rapid loading times delivered through the Xbox Series X’s SSD.
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Games bearing this label will be available on other systems, too, but will run especially well on Microsoft’s next-gen console, thanks to faster load times, smoother frame rates and sharper graphics.
Microsoft explained how its Optimized for Xbox Series X label will function in a blog post on Xbox Wire. Will Tuttle, the publication’s editor-in-chief, explained what the label means for both new games, developed with the Xbox Series X in mind, as well as current-gen games, which will look and play better on the Xbox Series X than on the Xbox One. Tuttle hit on three main points: better graphics, better frame rates and better load times.
“When you hear a game has been Optimized for Xbox Series X, you’ll know that the developer has either natively designed or fully rebuilt their game to take full advantage of the unique capabilities of our most powerful console ever,” said Tuttle. “Games featuring the Optimized for Xbox Series X badge can showcase anything from virtually eliminating load times via the Xbox Velocity Architecture, heightened visuals and hardware-accelerated DirectX raytracing powered by our custom, next-generation GPU, to steadier and often higher framerates up to 120fps.”
Optimized for Xbox Series X games will look better than their current-gen counterparts, thanks to DirectX 12 Ultimate rendering and DirectX Raytracing. Working in conjunction, these two technologies can drastically improve lighting in games, making light bounce off of a variety of available sources, rather than all coming from a single source. Tuttle also points out that these technologies can facilitate more spatially accurate audio in games, which can be especially important in any title where immersion is key.
Every Optimized for Xbox Series X game will also target 60 frames per second frame rates at 4K resolution. Some titles can go up to 120 frames per second, including racing games like Dirt 5, where framerate can make an enormous difference in gameplay. Of course, higher framerates involve a tradeoff with resolution, so players will probably have some control over which feature they want to prioritize.
A lot of the games mentioned have already been announced as Xbox Series X games, especially Halo Infinite, which could be a launch game for Microsoft’s next-generation console. But a lot of these games are set to launch on the Xbox One as well. So Microsoft appears to be going to some effort to highlight why they’ll be better on the Xbox Series X.
Here are the 22 titles that will sport the Optimised for Xbox Series X label:
Tuttle explained that while the likes of Halo Infinite will be built natively on Xbox Series X to directly tap into the console’s 12 teraflops of power, other titles like Gears 5 for example, will get enhanced for the upcoming games console. This will play into Microsoft’s Smart Delivery service, whereby if you buy a game on the Xbox One you’ll be able to upgrade to the Xbox Series X version for completely free; such a feature could give Microsoft’s console a distinct advantage over the PS5.
That being said, it looks like a few select titles on the PS5 will also get free upgrades from the PS4 versions. In the new Cyberpunk 2077 Night City Wire, developer CD Projekt Red highlighted that people who buy Cyberpunk 2077 on the PS4 will get an enhanced upgrade if they decide to move onto the PS5.
Which such cross-generation features and enhancements, the pair of new consoles look very interesting indeed. We just need to wait until November or December for the Xbox Series X and PS5 to arrive.
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Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.