Xbox Series X is said to be "the most compatible" out of the two next-gen consoles set to hit shelves in the holiday 2020 season. Although the PS5 is said to run many PS4 games, Microsoft's offering will be capable of playing games across the console's long history, from the very first Xbox right up to modern-day Xbox One games.
But you won't just be able to play your existing library on the Xbox Series X: the new games console will also be able to improve them.
Xbox Series X will retroactively add HDR support to some older games. In a recent blog post, Xbox director of programme management Jason Ronald said:
“In partnership with the Xbox Advanced Technology Group, Xbox Series X delivers a new, innovative HDR reconstruction technique which enables the platform to automatically add HDR support to games.
“As this technique is handled by the platform itself, it allows us to enable HDR with zero impact to the game’s performance and we can also apply it to Xbox 360 and original Xbox titles developed almost 20 years ago, well before the existence of HDR."
Ronald goes on to say backwards-compatible Xbox titles will also load faster, as they'll be stored on the massive NVME SSD at the core of the Series X. It's really quite incredible, when you think about it: the Xbox Series X is not just creating amazing new games with next-generation technology, but also revamping and improving your gaming experience with pre-existing technology.
It's worth stressing not all previous Xbox titles will be available to play on Xbox Series X, just as not all Xbox titles were able to play on Xbox 360 thanks to the games' outdated architecture. However, all Xbox games already compatible on current-gen consoles will be able to survive the leap to Xbox Series X.
On the other hand, the PS5's backwards compatibility capabilities are a little more ill-defined. In a tech-heavy presentation aimed at developers, lead system architect Mark Cerny said the PS5 will play "almost all" of the top 100 PS4 games.
Because the PS5 does not incorporate the PS4's existing architecture, not every PS4 game is capable of being played. But Cerny claims most will be playable at launch, with patches for more coming down the line.
A new piece of information from PlayStation Iceland suggests regular system updates will be need to expand the PS5's backwards compatibility to more PS4 titles. There has been no mention of support for PS3 games or older.
In addition to all the old titles, the Xbox Series X will be packing some incredible new games. Third-party titles include sci-fi horror Scorn, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Cyberpunk 2077 and rally sim DiRT 5, while first party titles include Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 and, of course, Halo: Infinite.