New Details Define Promise and Limits of Xbox One X 4K Performance

Ever since Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One X (formerly known as Project Scorpio), there’ve been questions about how the platform would handle backwards compatibility with Xbox One titles and what kind of benefits those games could expect. Microsoft has made a lot of promises about 4K, and while the company’s E3 demos showed games like Forza hitting those targets, the company didn’t reveal a great deal of additional information.

From talking to game developers, Eurogamer has found out more about how the Xbox One X will handle existing Xbox One games, what those players can expect, and whether games can hit 4K on the new platform. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the data being presented is synthetic, in that it’s based on GPU-specific testing rather than a suite of benchmarks that would also test CPU and memory accesses. The article doesn’t identify any of the games by name, though there’s some titles that are pretty easy to figure out if you’ve paid attention to Microsoft’s unveils.

Xbox-One-X-Euro-1

Data by Eurogamer

What this image shows is the relative frame rates between straight ports of existing Xbox One titles moved over to the Xbox One X and run at much higher resolutions. Some of the 900p games are still a bit slower, and the 720p title (Star Wars Battlefront) takes a hell of a hit in particular, seeing as its pushing 9x more pixels in 4K mode compared with 720p. That’s one thing to remember when you check these results — if a game is rendering at a lower resolution on the Xbox One, stepping up to 4K means that the difficulty of doing so is higher than if tested with a standard 1080p resolution.

But part of what makes this interesting is that it looks like recompiling with a modern Xbox SDK can also yield significant performance improvements.

Xbox-One-X-Euro-2

Data by Eurogamer

The blue lines show the performance baseline of the Xbox One, at 100 percent. The red
line is the native gains from moving existing code to the Xbox One X, showing that most games pick up significant performance improvements just from that shift. Then, in green, you’ve got the impact of actually recompiling games for the new Xbox One SDK. This suggests that recompiling could be a huge way to improve performance in every game, though we don’t know how many people will take Microsoft up on that approach. After all, a large number of titles have already shipped, and the Xbox One X will include improved AA and AF for games that don’t support its other features.

What Microsoft is calling backwards compatibility appears equivalent to Sony’s Boost Mode for the PS4 — a straightforward improvement in game performance and options that will happen whether you buy a 4K TV or the developer revisits the title. Obviously there’s increased opportunity for improvements if developers are willing to recompile games. But the gains should be there for everyone, in one form or another.

Eurogamer breaks down the tools used and overall data set in significantly more detail, so I recommend hitting their writeup at the above link for additional details. All in all, the Xbox One X will definitely be the most powerful console on sale come Christmas. Question is, will it close the gap with Sony’s PS4 and PS4 Pro? Like Sony’s top console, the Xbox One X is not quite powerful enough to deliver 4K / 60fps on every title, so expect to see a bit of adjustment and crosshatch rendering to close the gap.

Now read: The Best Free Games on the Xbox One

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