The Truth About Xbox's New Game Badge

We're at the midpoint of the year, so that means we're getting closer than ever to the release of the Xbox Series X. Recently, Microsoft revealed that certain games will begin bearing a badge that reads, "Optimized for Xbox Series X." While the wording is already impressive, it may not be immediately clear to some customers what that all means. For that reason, IGN recently sat down with Series X engineer Jason Ronald to discuss the significance of the new badge.


"In simplest form, 'Optimized for Xbox Series X' means that a developer has actually designed and built a title to take full advantage of all the power and the capability that we deliver with Xbox Series X," said Ronald.

He explains that this is kind of broken down into two categories. The first category is games that are built natively for the Xbox Series X. These would include games like Halo Infinite, which have been built specifically to run on the Xbox Series X and therefore are intrinsically linked to the console's capabilities.

The other category would include games that were built for a previous platform and is being re-released for the Xbox Series X. This category is also covered in an official Xbox blog post regarding the "Optimized" badge. In this eventuality, these games would include, according to the blog post, cases where "a developer has enhanced their title using the Xbox Series X development environment to dramatically leverage the power and features Xbox Series X has to offer, like Gears 5."


Basically, "Optimized for Xbox Series X" is a fancy way of saying that the game has been set to the standards of the new console. This will enable even older games that have been rereleased to play like next-gen games, or at least close to it. It is presumed that this will extend to any cross-gen games ported to the Xbox Series X by way of Smart Delivery. After all, the stated purpose of Smart Delivery is to ensure that gamers will always be able to upgrade to the newest and best version of their favorite cross-gen titles when they make the switch from the Xbox One to the Series X console.

It also appears as though these upgrades will be felt in every aspect of these games. The blog post from Xbox also included testimonials from some of the teams working on games for the Xbox Series X. It seems that they are all excited about advancements in gaming tech across the board. 

David Springate from Codemasters seemed most excited for the increased framerate of the Xbox Series X. He described the advancements being made with the upcoming DiRT 5 as unlike any other racing game before it. Springate said, "Players will experience the strongest sense of speed and responsiveness at the highest frame rate."


According to The Coalition's Tech Director Mike Rayner, older games like Gears 5 may stand to benefit the most from this optimization. "As a game developer one of the most exciting improvements that far exceeds expectations is the massive I/O improvements on Xbox Series X," said Rayner. "With the Xbox Series X, out of gate we reduced our load-times by more than 4x without any code changes."

Responsiveness has notably been a major consideration in the next console generation. Both the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 have been touting faster load times than previous generation systems. In fact, according to Epic Games VP of engineering Nick Penwarden, nobody is ready for how fast the next-gen console will run. Epic Games notably unveiled the first look at its Unreal Engine 5 by running it on a PlayStation 5 dev kit. As explained by Penwarden, the PS5 was actually almost a bit too fast for the Unreal Engine 5 demo, loading textures and displaying realistic lighting at a rate far faster than Epic had anticipated.

The Xbox Series X sounds like it runs at similar speeds. Both systems apparently have a ton of extra flash memory, but the responsiveness comes through in other ways, as well. With the Series X's Dynamic Latency Input feature, the new console's controller will literally get a feel for how you play and respond instantaneously to your button inputs. This will be a huge leg up for particularly competitive players, as the controller will more or less anticipate your next move.


In other words, there are plenty of reasons to be excited whenever you see that good ol' "Optimized for Xbox Series X" banner. Xbox wants customers to know that this designation denotes a level of quality assurance. Games that will feature the new badge include the previously mentioned games, as well as Marvel's AvengersHitman 3, and many more.