An update for Overwatch has been released that adds support for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles, but overlooks the PlayStation 5 for the time being. Next-gen Xbox owners will now be able to select from a range of different graphics modes that include a high frame-rate 120Hz mode.
The new setting allows your to pick a preferred mode for graphics, with three presets: Resolution, Balanced and Framerate. These do the following:
- “Resolution” : This mode prefers higher-resolution output at the cost of some image-quality (Series X: 4K @ 60Hz, Series S: 1440p @ 60Hz)
- “Balanced” : This mode prefers image-quality at the cost of resolution (Series X: 1440p @ 60Hz, Series S: 1080p @ 60Hz)
- “Framerate” : This mode prefers higher frame-rate at 120 frames-per-second at the cost of both image-quality and resolution (Series X: 1440p @ 120Hz, Series S: 1080p @ 120Hz)
Variable Refresh Rates (VRR) also seem to be supported, though you’ll obviously need a TV or monitor that supports VRR and 120Hz in order to take advantage of the Framerate mode.
Blizzard are following a number of other developers in adding support for Xbox Series X|S, and seemingly falling into the same difficulty with PlayStation 5. On Xbox, games can readily be made ‘aware’ of the new hardware with a simple patch, but to do the same on PlayStation 5 seems to be more difficult or not available outside of Sony’s first party studios – Days Gone, God of War and Ghost of Tsushima currently have PS5 specific performance modes.
For third party studios, it would take “a full native port” to do this for PS5, according to Psyonix, but Microsoft touted that it would take just “three lines of code” to do the same for Xbox backward compatibility. While some developers are aiming to do exactly that – Fortnite supports 120fps on PS5, while Rainbow Six Siege plans to – others like Star Wars Squadrons and Rocket League are choosing to pluck the low hanging fruit. This is all entirely separate to the Xbox Series X|S ‘FPS Boost’ mode that Microsoft are able to inject into select games via backward compatibility, boosting games that would never expect to see any kind of updates from their original developers anymore.
It’s a quite fascinating area of the backward compatibility that is found in the new generation of consoles, and a key area where Microsoft seem to have a lead. As Sony look to improve and expand on the PlayStation 5’s system software and the tools provided to developers, hopefully they’ll be able to catch up and expand the options available while there’s still an appetite for such improvements to be made.