Here at Xbox, we’re building the future of gaming by putting players first, ensuring that you are at the center and in control of your gaming experience. Whether you’re exploring an expansive library of Xbox Game Pass titles with more than 10 million of your fellow gamers or taking your gaming on the go with Project xCloud, it’s clear that the future of gaming is brighter than ever.
Nowhere is that more evident than with Xbox Series X, our fastest, most powerful console ever. Not only will Xbox Series X set a new bar for performance, speed and compatibility, it will empower the world’s greatest developers to create games that launch us into the future of gaming. Putting players first also means introducing a host of new features and technologies to improve their experience.
Last week, we took a look at Smart Delivery. Today, we’ll be diving into what it means when a game is Optimized for Xbox Series X.
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.
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. Titles displaying the Optimized for Xbox Series X badge can include:
- Brand new games built natively for the Xbox Series X such as Halo Infinite.
- Previously released titles in which a developer has enhanced their title using the Xbox Series X development environment to dramatically leverage the power and features Xbox Series X has to offer, like Gears 5.
Let’s take a closer look at what you’ll be getting when you’re playing a game that’s been Optimized for Xbox Series X:
Groundbreaking Visual Fidelity Immerses You in Your Games
Powered by DirectX 12 Ultimate and with support for hardware-accelerated DirectX Raytracing—a first for consoles—select games will produce more dynamic, realistic environments. DirectX Raytracing means that you’ll see true-to-life lighting, accurate reflections and hear 3D spatially accurate acoustics in real time as you explore the game world. Ultimately, DirectX Raytracing enables developers to create more physically accurate worlds. To give a better feel for what this may look like in practice, we asked Manuel Fernández, Co-founder and Programmer from Out of the Blue to share what they’re most excited about for leveraging DirectX Raytracing in 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 a greater immersion and an overall better experience.” – Manuel Fernández, Out of the Blue
Next Generation Framerates Offer the Pinnacle of Precision
Games that have been Optimized for Xbox Series X use the power of the new console to deliver higher, steadier framerates, with a performance target of 60 frames per second at 4K resolution. Some games will even be able to support framerates up to 120 fps or variable refresh rates, allowing developers to offer players heightened realism and more precise controls for fast-paced action. We also talked to Technical Director at Codemasters David Springate about optimizing DiRT 5 for Xbox Series X, to give you a better feel for how increased framerates could improve next gen games:
“DIRT 5 is a fast, action-packed amplified off-road racing game and being able to play it with 120fps options on Xbox Series X is incredible. The power of Series X means that the game looks stunning at 60fps, and we’re also able to offer amazingly smooth, responsive gameplay at 120fps 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.” – David Springate, Codemasters
Faster Load Times Will Get You Gaming More Quickly than Ever
Optimized for Xbox Series X isn’t just about gorgeous visuals and better framerates. It’s also about virtually eliminating in-game load times thanks to our Xbox Velocity Architecture technology. XVA combines a custom solid-state drive, custom hardware and integrated software to greatly decrease load times both in and out of games, meaning gamers will be able to spend more time playing and less time waiting. As an example, for titles that have large, open-world environments, these experiences will feel even more dynamic, as developers will be able to leverage the massive increase in processing power and the ability to stream assets in extremely quickly to not break immersion. Developers will also be able to effectively eliminate loading times between levels and create fast travel systems that are just that: fast. We talked with Mike Rayner, Technical Director at The Coalition to hear what he’s most excited about for leveraging the XVA for Gears 5 and here’s what he had to say:
“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.” – Mike Rayner, The Coalition
Wondering which games are Optimized for Xbox Series X? Below you’ll find a list of titles confirmed to be Optimized for Xbox Series X to date. As this list grows in the weeks and months leading up to Xbox Series X launch, we’ll keep it updated to reflect any additions.
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
- Borderlands 3
- Bright Memory Infinite
- Call of the Sea
- Chivalry 2
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Destiny 2
- DiRT 5
- Far Cry 6
- FIFA 21
- Forza Horizon 4
- Forza Motorsport
- Gears 5
- Halo Infinite
- Hitman 3
- Madden NFL 21
- Marvel’s Avengers
- NBA 2K21
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- Resident Evil Village
- Scarlet Nexus
- Second Extinction
- The Ascent
- The Medium
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
- Watch Dogs: Legion
- WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon
We hope this gave you a better idea of what it means when you purchase a game that’s been Optimized for Xbox Series X, which ensure that the player is at the center of the gaming experience. We’ll be sharing more on Optimized for Xbox Series X and adding titles to the list above in the coming months.