Microsoft confirms Xbox Series X backward compatibility, Game Pass details

It’s clear that Xbox Game Pass is a cornerstone of Microsoft’s video game business from now into the future, and the company reiterated that Monday by announcing that the subscription service will continue to offer all first-party games on Xbox Series X — including launch title Halo Infinite — on the day of their release.

In an Xbox Wire post providing further details on its next-generation plans, Microsoft also discussed how the Xbox Series X will allow players to carry forward their existing game libraries. As the company announced in December upon revealing the console’s name and design at The Game Awards, the Xbox Series X will support all four generations of Xbox consoles, going all the way back to the original Xbox (as well as Xbox One accessories such as controllers). Microsoft said Monday that backward compatibility will deliver “steadier framerates, faster load times and improved resolution and visual fidelity,” without developers having to do any additional work.


Microsoft reveals more Xbox Series X specs

Microsoft also announced a new Xbox Series X feature, Smart Delivery, that sounds like a user-friendly way of supporting cross-generation Xbox One/Series X games. Smart Delivery “empowers you to buy a game once and know that — whether you are playing it on Xbox One or Xbox Series X — you are getting the right version of that game on whatever Xbox you’re playing on,” said Microsoft.

The point of Smart Delivery is that users can “purchase a title once in order to play the best available version for whichever Xbox console they choose to play on.” In other words, if you buy Halo Infinite — which is coming to both the current- and next-gen consoles — the Xbox One in your bedroom will download the Xbox One version, while the Xbox Series X in your living room will download the Xbox Series X version. And of course, this also means that cross-generation first-party games will be cross-buy: You can buy a game once and play it on either console, and if you already own it on Xbox One, you’ll get the Xbox Series X version at no additional cost.

Smart Delivery will apply for all first-party games, and third-party developers and publishers can “choose to use [Smart Delivery] for titles that will be [released] on Xbox One first and come to the Xbox Series X later.”

For more on the Xbox Series X, which will be released this holiday season, check out Microsoft’s new details on the console’s hardware specifications.

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