The Xbox FPS Boost feature is, to me, one of the coolest things Microsoft’s ever managed to pull off. The ability of this tech to back and increase the frame rate on Xbox One games is truly impressive, even if there are still some games (like Mass Effect Andromeda) that haven’t seen the benefits of it yet. It does make me wonder, though: is Xbox 360 FPS Boost possible? Could Microsoft work that same magic and somehow get 360 games to run at 60 FPS or higher, just as it could with Xbox One games? I decided to do a little digging.
Right now, it’s a maybe
As it turns out, Microsoft has talked about potentially doing some sort of Xbox 360 FPS Boost previously. As GamesRadar reports, Jason Ronald — Xbox’s Director of Program Management — spoke about it on the Kinda Funny Xcast in February 2021.
Microsoft’s eyes are on Xbox One at the moment, “because we’ve seen the best results there,” Ronald said. He did add, however, “We’re still evaluating, can we bring this technology back to Xbox 360 games or original Xbox games?”
From a tech standpoint, it’s understandable why the Xbox Series X or S might have more trouble pulling that kind of stunt on an Xbox 360 game versus an Xbox One game. As it is currently understood, Xbox One titles run more like native games. This, for instance, is what allows some developers to update those games with higher frame rates on Series X/S, even if those games aren’t optimized for those consoles specifically.
With Xbox 360 titles, however, things are a little different. Those games were developed for an entirely different architecture — PowerPC versus x86. As such, the method Microsoft developed to run them on Xbox One, and now Series X/S, requires the company to wrap an emulator around each game. Yes — when you launch Red Dead Redemption on Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S, you’re essentially launching an Xbox 360 within your new machine. The same goes for original Xbox titles, which also utilize an emulator.
I could be wrong, but if I had to guess, Microsoft would have to build some of that Xbox 360 FPS Boost (or OG Xbox FPS Boost) functionality into the emulator a game uses. It probably makes these same tweaks when telling a game how to render on, say, a normal Xbox One versus an Xbox One X or Xbox Series X (regular resolution versus enhanced resolution).
So if you’re wondering why it’s not a flip-of-the-switch action to get Xbox 360 games running at double or even quadruple the frame rate on Xbox Series X, that could be your answer. Microsoft first needs to figure out how to get it to work. After that, it’ll likely have to spend time testing Xbox 360 FPS Boost on various games to make sure things don’t break. Then it’ll have to re-do some of the emulators that come packaged with those back-compat games and have players download all-new updates for them.