It’s set to be the Xbox Series X’s next giant hit, but Starfield won’t be leaving Xbox One owners completely out in the cold. Microsoft made a commitment to cross-generation releases when it launched the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles, and it’s making good on that promise – if perhaps not quite in the way you might originally have imagined.
In a post to the Xbox Wire blog, Microsoft says that it will be using its cloud streaming technology to serve up games that require the Xbox Series X/S’s power in order to deliver them to the ageing last-gen Xbox One.
"You'll see many games this holiday, including Forza Horizon 5, which will boast DirectX ray-tracing on both Xbox Series X and S, and Battlefield 2042, which will run at 60fps while supporting 128 players on Xbox Series X/S.
"We're excited to see developers realise their visions in ways that only next-gen hardware will allow them to do. For the millions of people who play on Xbox One consoles today, we are looking forward to sharing more about how we will bring many of these next-gen games, such as Microsoft Flight Simulator, to your console through Xbox Cloud Gaming, just like we do with mobile devices, tablets, and browsers."
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Keeping the stream alive
It’s a smart move by Microsoft, answering two groups of concern at once. Here’s a solution that will indeed allow the Xbox One owners to bridge the gap of title accessibility with their Xbox Series X brethren, and do so without compromising the experience that the native Xbox Series X versions can deliver. Xbox One gamers will be able to get involved, without pulling down the technological advancements the Series X will afford new games.
Of course, the quality of the streaming experience is yet to be determined – a limiting factor will always be the gamer’s broadband speed and stability, and there’s the potential that Microsoft may be inclined to limit the stream’s fidelity to, say 1080p rather than 4K for Xbox One X owners. After all, it’ll still want some Xbox One owners to eventually upgrade to its new hardware.
But the commitment to cloud streaming, and older machines, is admirable – Microsoft has confirmed it’s in the “final stages” of improving its worldwide data centers in anticipation of the rise of game streaming.
"Over one billion people in 26 countries across five continents will be able to play from the cloud on the world's most powerful console, across apps and browsers on their phones, tablets, PCs, and Xboxes," said Kareem Choudhry, CVP of Cloud Gaming, in a pre-E3 video briefing. Microsoft states this will allow for “faster load times, improved frame rates, and experience Xbox Series X/S optimised games.”
It’s a stay of execution then for the eight-year-old Xbox One console, which may be around for some time to come if Microsoft is able to deliver on its cloud-based vision.
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Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of iMore.com. Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.