Xbox Series X games don't have 60FPS mandate, Microsoft clarifies

Microsoft isn't mandating a minimum 60FPS spec on all Xbox Series X games.

15 minutes & 12 seconds read time

Xbox exec Aaron Greenberg clarifies the Xbox Series X's standard 60FPS output, confirming developers will have total freedom over frame rates in their games.

Xbox Series X games don't have 60FPS mandate, Microsoft clarifies 8

Microsoft might be talking too much about the Xbox Series X and it's gotten them into hot water. A bit ago, Xbox's Aaron Greenberg said 60FPS is the standard output for the next-gen Xbox Series X, leading many to believe that was the minimum FPS performance on the system. That's not the case. Developers won't be forced to push their games to 60FPS on the system, and the Xbox Series X won't automatically upgrade every single game to at least 60 frames-per-second.

Confusion set in when Ubisoft confirmed Assassin's Creed Valhalla would run at a minimum 4K 30FPS on the Xbox Series X. Apparently everyone expected 4K 60FPS performance, which is an extremely tall order. But then again, Microsoft has hyped up 4K 120FPS gaming on the next-gen Xbox.

"Ultimately, it is up to individual developers to determine how they leverage the power and speed of Xbox Series X," an Xbox spokesperson told The Verge's Tom Warren.

"Developers always have flexibility in how they use the power, so a standard or common 60fps is not a mandate," Greenberg said in response.

The clarification also seems to confirm the Xbox Series X won't natively boost all third-party games past a certain threshold. Obviously this kind of perf boost is extremely subjective and changes on a game-to-game basis. Some titles like Gears 4 will get upgraded to native 4K without any adjustments from developers. Other games might need manual enhancement patches to be created and issued by devs. How much the games are boosted, how the games actually perform, and what kinds of power thresholds are set is totally up to developers.

This news isn't a surprise, though. If you've been paying attention to Microsoft's plays, it's to be expected.

Xbox Series X games don't have 60FPS mandate, Microsoft clarifies 14

Remember that Microsoft is treating next-gen as a kind of iterative leap. The Xbox Series X won't have exclusive first-party games (although numerous indies like The Medium and Scorn are confirmed as next-gen exclusive ports) for some time, and Microsoft will support the Xbox One family as it slowly transitions and pivots into the new Xbox Series family. A 60FPS mandate would make things more complicated both first-party and third-party developers who are making/optimizing games across four Xbox SKUs.

Microsoft is handling the Xbox Series X similar to how it handled the iterative Xbox One X. The upgrade path is there, albeit more powerful, and it's called "Optimized for Xbox Series X" instead of "Xbox One X Enhanced." The developer freedom is there, too.

The biggest point around the Xbox Series X is this: Manage your expectations.

Microsoft will not set mandates for minimum performance. They've created a powerful 12TFLOP box with enormous potential, but it's up to developers to find creative ways to tap the PCIe 4.0 SSD, 12GB GDDR6 RAM, and Zen 2 CPU/Navi 2X GPU powered SoC.

Xbox Series X is due out by Holiday 2020. No pricing has been announced.

Check below for confirmed specs and details, and a huge content listing of everything we've heard about Xbox Series X so far:

Xbox Series X confirmed details (Formerly Project Scarlett):

  • 8-core, 16-thread Zen 2 CPU
  • 12.15 TFLOP Navi GPU on RDNA 2 architecture
  • 7nm+ AMD SoC
  • 16GB GDDR6 memory
  • 2x Xbox One X's 6TFLOPs of GPU perf
  • 4x CPU power of Xbox One generation
  • Can deliver up to 40x more performance than Xbox One in specific use cases
  • Adaptive sync supported
  • Super-fast SSD that can be used as VRAM
  • Supports 8K resolution (likely media playback)
  • 120FPS gaming
  • Variable refresh rate (adaptive sync/FreeSync)
  • Variable Rate Shading
  • Raytracing confirmed with dedicated raytracing cores
  • Backward compatible with thousands of Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One games
  • New controller with a dedicated share button
  • Compatible with Xbox One accessories

Xbox Series X coverage:

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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