Will Microsoft’s Xbox One X Enhanced Program Actually Make Games Look And Play Better?
The major appeal of Microsoft's soon-to-be-released flagship gaming machine comes from its ability to play 4K games natively. That's the promise gamers hold onto when shelling out $500.
But despite its rapidly increasing adoption, 4K TVs remain a luxury, so needless to say, a large number of people still don't have one. What, then, could Microsoft offer for these folks? How will the Xbox One X be beneficial to their gaming if the core selling point is lost on the consumer's end?
That's probably where the Xbox One Enhanced program comes in. Microsoft has now explained in more detail exactly how Xbox One titles will run better when played on an Xbox One X, even without a 4K TV.
Xbox One X Enhanced Program
For starters, the Xbox One X Enhanced program basically describes games that have been enhanced for the Xbox One X. How? Will they run in 4K and feature HDR? Not necessarily. Enhanced simply means the game has been optimized for the console and thus, will run and look better when played on either a 1080p or 4K TV.
So, Will Games Look Better On Xbox One X?
Microsoft says it's allowing developers to utilize a technique called supersampling to make sure games would still look better on a 1080p TV. Basically, the technique allows for 4K games to be downscaled to 1080p without losing texture improvements, more stable framerates, and better graphical quality overall. A supersampled game should still be a noticeable improvement over what the Xbox One S can do, as The Verge reports.
Microsoft is also saying that some old games should still look and run better on an Xbox One X even if they're not part of the program. Ultimately, players will get better texture quality, higher resolutions, and improved framerate, depending, of course, on how the game was made.
What Do All These Classifications Mean, Microsoft?
Why does Microsoft need to explain this? Well, the branding of Xbox One X games is really quite perplexing. There are three labels, basically: 4K Ultra HD, HDR, and Xbox One X Enhanced. 4K Ultra HD means a game offers 4K resolution, but that involves certain upscaling techniques such as checkerboarding or dynamic resolution. HDR is pretty self-explanatory.
Microsoft says it has over 130 titles that have been enhanced for the Xbox One X, which is more than what the PlayStation 4 Pro had when it came out. Still, it's up to developers how they'll utilize the console's extra power. Some games offer a native 4K option alongside a 1080p alternative with enhanced graphical elements. Others simply don't offer 4K as an option, though.
The Xbox One X is now available for preorder. It comes out Nov. 7 for $499.