As much as PS4 Pro Enhanced and Xbox One X Enhanced are phrases we hear quite a lot, what exactly those enhancements are can vary from game to game. Thankfully, Microsoft is making things a little clearer with its Xbox Series X Optimized promise, meaning the jump from Xbox One to Xbox Series X is more clean-cut than the mid-cycle console upgrades – as it should be.
There are some gameplay features that Microsoft is stating are part of the Xbox Series X Optimized package, which you can read below. However, there's a caveat. In a recent Xbox Wire post, Microsoft stated that: "Putting the power of the console in the hands of developers to decide what's best for their games is one of our core beliefs and we're excited for this first look at how they are choosing to leverage the Xbox Series X."
That means that not all games will have all of the following improvements. But, regardless of that, these are the features that you should expect Xbox Series X Optimized games to have:
Although there's a lot of chat about 8K resolutions being the thing for the next-generation consoles, the Xbox Series X Optimized promise is for the games with that badge to run at true 4K resolution. It's worth noting that most Xbox One X Enhanced games also run at 4K, so this should basically be the standard from now on.
Framerates of up to 120fps
Higher framerates are key to keeping the action feeling smooth, so it's great to see that aiming for top framerates of 120 frames-per-second. Although, this is where I think certain developers will take slightly different routes, as higher framerates aren't as important for all genres. The FPS genre, of course, will no doubt be trying to push for the higher realms, but a constant 60fps is a fantastic choice for graphic-heavy story-led games.
A new term for a new generation of Xbox consoles. DirectStorage is a brand new system for storage arriving with the Xbox Series X, which reduces the CPU overhead of loading in the game world around you, so the game has more space to offer better physics or put more NPCs in a scene. The fact that all Xbox Series X Optimized games will be able to take advantage of technology is a huge boon, and could be the feature that offers the biggest difference between playing the same game on an Xbox One X and Xbox Series X.
Having experienced raytracing via Nvidia RTX graphics cards on PC, it's safe to say that this technology really does improve the realism and vibrancy of the reflections and water in your gameplay. Adding such support to Xbox Series X Optimized games will make a huge difference to the way you visually experience them on the next-gen console, so if you haven't experience raytracing yet, it's time to get excited.
Superfast load times
Nobody likes to wait, do they? Well, it seems like ultimately improving loading times is the big push for next-gen games, so it's not a huge surprise that there's a push for all of the Xbox Series X Optimized titles to take advantage of the improvements the next-gen loading speeds. But it's certainly welcomed, and will be a huge differentiator between playing them on Xbox One and Xbox Series X.