As we get closer and closer to the launch of the next-generation of gaming, Microsoft has been providing new tidbits of information about their plans with Xbox Series X. Last week, they talked about Smart Delivery, their strategy to make sure that everyone gets the best version of the game regardless of the Xbox console you own. Now Microsoft is explaining what it means when a game has an Optimized for Xbox Series X badge associated with it.
Microsoft says “Optimized for Xbox Series X is the indicator for games that take advantage of the full power of Xbox Series X. Since Xbox Series X offers developers unparalleled power and speed, this empowers them to create the experiences they want and embrace a range of features and capabilities based on what is best for their individual titles. 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.”
Features and capabilities associated with games that are Optimized for Xbox Series X include the Xbox Velocity Architecture which virtually eliminates load times, DirectX 12 Ultimate which heightens visuals and provides hardware-accelerated raytracing powered by the custom, next-generation GPU, and steadier and higher framerates up to 120 fps.
Further explaining the power of DirectX 12 Ultimate, it’ll provide Raytracing, a first for consoles. Raytracing allows for more dynamic and realistic environments. This is done by focusing on lighting which will be true-to-life with accurate reflections and the ability to hear 3D spatially accurate acoustics in real-time.
Co-Founder and Programmer Manuel Fernandez talked about how the power of DirectX is helping Out of the Blue with their game Call of the Sea. “In Call of the Sea, the island has a great importance as we tell the story as a dialogue between the player and their environment. Thanks to the power of Xbox Series X and DirectX Raytracing, we will have the chance to make the island even more present, almost come to life. Players will have the opportunity to enjoy the island’s stunning environments in beautiful 4k, allowing for greater immersion and an overall better experience.”
With framerates steadier and even upwards to 120, developers will be able to offer players a heightened sense of realism and more precise controls.
Codemasters Technical Director David Springate talked about how the improved framerates improve games such as DiRT 5 for the next-generation. “DiRT 5 is a fast, action-packed amplified off-road racing game and being able to play it with 120 fps options on Xbox Series X is incredible. The power of Series X means that the game looks stunning at 60 fps, and we’re also able to offer amazingly smooth, responsive gameplay at 120 fps while still looking gorgeous. Racing fans know frame rate is king and DiRT 5 will deliver on this. Players will experience the strongest sense of speed and responsiveness at the highest frame rate. It’s such a great, smooth experience – I hadn’t experienced another racer like it.”
The Xbox Velocity Architecture for Xbox Series X combines a custom solid-state drive or SSD, custom hardware, and integrated software to greatly decrease load times both in and out of games. For example, games with large, open-world environments will feel more dynamic as assets will be able to be streamed in very quickly. This also means that fast travel systems that normally would take players to a loading screen before putting players at a different location will be faster than ever before.
Mike Rayner, Technical Director at The Coalition explains how the XVA changes Gears 5 and why it excites him for the next-generation. He said: “As a game developer one of the most exciting improvements that far exceeds expectations is the massive I/O improvements on Xbox Series X. With the Xbox Series X, out of gate we reduced our load-times by more than 4x without any code changes. With the new DirectStorage APIs and new hardware decompression we can further improve I/O performance and reduce CPU overhead both of which are essential to achieve fast loading. As we look to the future, the Xbox Series X’s Sampler Feedback for Streaming (SFS) is a game changer for how we think about world streaming and visual level of detail.”
Games that will be Optimized for Xbox Series X include Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Bright Memory Infinite, Call of the Sea, Chivalry 2, Chorus, Cyberpunk 2077, Destiny 2, DiRT 5, FIFA 21, Gears 5, Halo Infinite, Hitman III, Madden NFL 21, Marvel’s Avengers, Outriders, Scarlet Nexus, Scorn, Second Extinction, The Ascent, The Medium, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon. More titles will be listed as we get closer to the launch of Xbox Series X in the Holidays.