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This Xbox Feature Is Far Better Than PS5's

With both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 launching later this year, you might think gamers are looking ahead rather than behind. Both next-gen consoles, after all, are promising massive leaps in graphical fidelity. Both are doing everything possible to make load times disappear. The new games you'll see on these platforms are sure to be awesome.

That doesn't mean, however, that every consumer is ready to leave their libraries behind. A bunch of Xbox fans have collections that go all the way back to the O.G. console from 2001. The same goes for many in the PlayStation camp, who are still hanging onto discs from the '90s.

Only one console will support multiple generations of backward compatibility, however. Given Microsoft's history of supporting legacy apps on Windows, you shouldn't be surprised to learn that the system in question is the Xbox Series X.

When Microsoft's new machine arrives during the holiday season, it'll play games built specifically to take advantage of its power, such as Halo: Infinite. It'll also come with full support for the entire last generation. Every Xbox One title should run on the platform without a hitch. The same Xbox 360 library available for the Xbox One will also be available on the Series X, which means hundreds of games from that gen will make an appearance. And the handful of original Xbox games released for back compat will also work.

That's a grand total of four Xbox generations in one console. The next PlayStation — at least right now — will only support games from PS4 and PS5. On the backward compatibility front, there couldn't be a wider gulf between the two machines.

Microsoft also seems intent on making it easy to bring your existing library forward.

You're likely well aware by now of the solid state drives included in both next-gen consoles. New games will have to be installed on these drives, which offer near-instant load times. Your older games, however, can still be stored on and played from external hard drives. And Microsoft is streamlining the process of bringing those older titles forward to your new hardware.

If you have Xbox One, Xbox 360, and O.G. Xbox games installed on an external USB drive, the process of playing those games on Xbox Series X will go as follows. Step one: unplug the USB drive from your older console. Step two: plug the USB drive into the Xbox Series X. That's it. Your back-compat library should show up just as it does on Xbox One. It sounds incredibly simple.

It's worth noting that Sony hasn't gone in depth on backward compatibility just yet, so it's entirely possible the PS5 will handle PS4 games the exact same way. This feature was confirmed by Microsoft for the Series X, though. So for the moment, Microsoft seems to have a leg up in getting older games running as quickly as possible.

Most of the specs have been laid out for both the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5, and remarkably, the two consoles appear to be built using comparable hardware. Both are taking advantage of AMD's RDNA 2 technology. Both are making solid state drives a standard. Both are keeping their Blu-ray drives around for the time being. That may be where the similarities end, however.

Microsoft seems to be positioning the Series X as an upgrade in the existing Xbox family. There's word the Series X will even feature the same Xbox One dashboard players have come to know these past few years. The message from Team Xbox seems clear as day: if you like your current Xbox already, the Series X can do a lot of the same things, but better and faster.

Sony, on the other hand, may be trying to create more of a split between this generation and the next. The PlayStation 5 will offer backward compatibility for PS4 titles, but the new console will also pack in some brand new tech. Sony seems particularly keen on adding more immersion via the PS5's DualSense controller. How well that works remains to be seen. Hopefully someone in the real world will get their hands on the controller soon.

The Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are both set to launch in Holiday 2020. That window could change if everyone is still bunkered down in the later half of the year. If we hear anything more about either console in the weeks and months ahead, we'll be sure to keep you posted.