The subsequent console era begins this vacation season, with Microsoft and Sony launching new {hardware} within the type of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, respectively. But this time round, since each consoles will provide full backward compatibility with current-generation games, that doesn’t imply leaving the previous behind. Microsoft goes one step additional: Its first-party games will be playable throughout each the Xbox One and Xbox Series X, at the very least for now, that means that nothing will be restricted completely to the brand new console.

“As our content comes out over the next year, two years, all of our games, sort of like PC, will play up and down that family of devices,” stated Matt Booty, head of Microsoft’s inner improvement groups at Xbox Game Studios, stated in an interview with MCV. “We want to make sure that if someone invests in Xbox between now and [Series X] that they feel that they made a good investment and that we’re committed to them with content.”

Microsoft has supplied glimpses of two first-party Xbox Series X games, 343 Industries’ Halo Infinite — scheduled to launch alongside the console — and Ninja Theory’s Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2. The firm’s advertising and marketing is more likely to focus on the next-gen variations of each titles, highlighting all of the bells and whistles that the Xbox Series X will allow, resembling photorealistic graphics with real-time ray tracing.

Cross-generation compatibility is nice information for the tens of thousands and thousands of Xbox One homeowners on the market, since they received’t have to purchase an Xbox Series X to play the brand new Halo sport. But there’s also a possible draw back. Across each generations, the total Xbox “family of devices,” as Booty put it, runs the gamut from the launch Xbox One all the best way as much as the Xbox Series X. In an interview with GameSpot, Xbox head Phil Spencer stated that the Xbox Series X presents “over eight times the GPU power of the Xbox One.”

If first-party builders need to design a sport that may be performed on such a variety of {hardware}, is there a danger that their ambition will be hampered by a scope that’s restricted to the capabilities of the Xbox One? Could they do extra in the event that they weren’t restricted by the constraints of supporting what will be a 7-year-old console by the point the Xbox Series X launches, and had been in a position to focus solely on next-gen {hardware}? (Microsoft has but to remark on quite a few stories of a second next-generation model, however the long-rumored console, codenamed “Lockhart,” is alleged to be a much less highly effective model of the Series X.)

Well, for one factor, this isn’t an issue in PC gaming, which is far more of a continuum. All sorts of games which can be greater than a decade outdated are nonetheless playable on fashionable techniques. And new games are designed to be scalable, in order that computer systems with older parts can nonetheless deal with them. Booty himself pointed to this, saying that the Xbox ecosystem will work “sort of like PC [gaming].”

Microsoft has been laying the groundwork for this setup for years. The firm started blurring the strains between Xbox and PC with initiatives like Xbox Play Anywhere and a number of generations of backward compatibility. And with the Xbox One X, it iterated on {hardware} whereas sustaining the Xbox One software program and companies ecosystem. Going with cross-generation games is simply taking that philosophy to the following logical step — eliminating the idea of distinct console generations. (Sony, for its half, has been following an identical path, though in fact, it doesn’t have a stake in PC gaming like Microsoft does with the Windows working system. We’ll need to see if Sony also emphasizes cross-gen gaming between the PS4 and PS5.)

To be certain, Booty stated that builders of Xbox Series X launch titles will work to point out off the facility of the console. Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries “is definitely going to be doing things to take advantage” of the brand new {hardware}, Booty advised MCV. And there’s an extended historical past of cross-gen improvement on the debut of a console, if solely to beef up the launch lineup with enhanced ports in lieu of totally new exclusives. But a multiyear dedication to sustaining compatibility (and presumably, cross-buy/cross-play/cross-save) between Xbox One and Xbox Series X — that’s a brand new paradigm that would change how we consider console gaming eternally.