Microsoft has released more information regarding the backward compatibility baked into Xbox Series X|S, and it's clear that it's above and beyond Sony's offering with the PlayStation 5. Playing four generations of Xbox on one console has been one of the main selling points of Microsoft's new console, especially once it was clear that their next-gen launch lineup would be lacking. Rumors initially stated that the PlayStation would have a similarly deep back catalog, but those were proven untrue. The PlayStation 5 will simply run the previous generation of games with improvements in some titles.

On Sony's end, all but a handful of PS4 games are backwards compatible on PS5, but not all of those games will benefit from improvements granted by the new console's hardware. Select titles will get improved loading speeds and higher frame rates via what Sony calls "Game Boost". Those games that already feature unlocked framerates and dynamic resolution can take advantage of the new console's improved innards, and all PS4 games can utilize certain unrevealed features from the PlayStation 5's new menu system. So, while PlayStation 4 games will move forward to the next console, not all of them will keep up with games designed for PlayStation 5.

With Xbox Series X/S, though, backward compatibility is a very different story. A new Xbox blog post laid out all of the improvements gamers will see in backward compatible games, which span the entire lifespan of the Xbox brand - from the original Xbox to Xbox One. All previous-gen games running on Xbox Series X will see better loading and frame rates, but that's only the start of the story. Xbox Series X is introducing Auto HDR, which brings the color and depth of newer TV and monitor technology to games designed before the feature was widely available. Auto HDR is implemented on a system level, so it runs in addition to the full CPU and GPU power of the console with no slowdown or loss of performance.

Additionally, Xbox announced that it was doubling the framerate of a selection of titles that could support such a feature. If a game's animations or physics support it, as is the case with Fallout 4 in the above Xbox-provided video, the Series X can bring older games to life with a smooth presentation that's unavailable on any other home console. Finally, for those who may have skipped the Xbox One, Microsoft is enabling free cloud saves on the Xbox 360, allowing lapsed players to bring everything forward and pick up on any classics left in their backlog.

While it's great that Sony is letting players bring their digital libraries from the PlayStation 4 forward, their hands-off method of backward compatibility renders those games as lesser to anything in the PlayStation 5 library. Just like going back to an old console with component cables, unless the nostalgia is there, it's going to be hard to appreciate games as they were at the time. Microsoft's methods on Xbox Series X/S provide rose-tinted glasses that actually work, letting games run just as gamers remember them. When compared back to back, there's really no comparison.

Xbox Series X/S will be available on November 10, 2020. PlayStation 5 will be available on November 12, 2020 in select countries and November 19 globally. Pre-orders are available now.