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Backward compatibility is getting even better on Xbox Series X/S. Microsoft is launching FPS Boost starting today with support for a handful of games. This is the magic tech that enables certain Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One games to run at a higher framerate than their developers originally intended. FPS Boost can achieve this without forcing developers to update their games.
“The backward compatibility team has developed FPS Boost, which employs a variety of new methods for nearly doubling — and in a few instances, quadrupling — the original framerate on select titles,” reads an Xbox Wire blog by senior program manager Paul Eng. “And while not applicable to all games, these new techniques can push game engines to render more quickly for a buttery smooth experience beyond what the original game might have delivered due to the capabilities of the hardware at the time.”
Microsoft has a small list of games that support FPS Boost now. These games will go from 30 frames per second (fps) to 60 fps. Or some instances, they will now even run at 120 fps.
Here are the current FPS Boost-capable games:
- Far Cry 4
- New Super Lucky’s Tale
- Sniper Elite 4
- UFC 4
- Watch Dogs 2
“We chose this initial collection of titles not only because they are popular among fans, but to highlight several different ways that FPS Boost can improve your experience,” writes Eng. “For example, New Super Lucky’s Tale can now run up to 120 frames per second , and UFC 4 delivers improved framerate performance specifically on Xbox Series S and can now run at 60fps.”
More FPS Boost games should come soon. And if you prefer the original framerate for any reason, an upcoming Compatibility Options option is coming soon that enables players to turn off FPS Boost and Auto HDR.
How FPS Boost works
Microsoft stumbled upon the potential for FPS Boost while looking into backward compatibility for the Xbox Series X/S.
“We discovered with the massive leap in processing performance enabled by Xbox Series X and Series S, games were able to complete their processing significantly faster and the system would be idle while waiting for its next frame,” Xbox director of program management Jason Ronald explained to GamesBeat. “FPS Boost effectively eliminates the waiting between frames, allowing titles to run at significantly higher frame rates with no work required by the developers.”
But because this process happens without any changes from the developer, some games fail to work properly with FPS Boost. This comes down to how a game manages its internal clocks.
“As an example, some titles are able to double their frame rate, but characters would animate twice as fast or physics simulations would break down,” said Ronald. “To ensure we are respecting the original intent of the developer, each title goes through extensive testing. And we only enable FPS Boost on those titles that benefit without negatively impacting the core gameplay experience.”
FPS Boost does require some work at Microsoft to test compatibility. Then it’s just up to publishers to give the go-ahead.
“Once a title has successfully passed our rigorous internal testing, we enable the FPS setting for the original publisher to review and ensure we are maintaining the original intent of the game while providing an optimal experience for the player,” said Ronald.
That is starting with the aforementioned five games, and the Xbox team expects to get more approvals soon.
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