Talking Point: What Happened To Xbox's 'Resolution Boost' Program?

Microsoft has done a pretty amazing job over the last five years-or-so in enhancing our old libraries and bringing them forward to newer consoles. In the Xbox One X era, the team focused on enhancing Xbox 360 and original Xbox games for the system, while the FPS Boost program was a great feature during the early days of Xbox Series X|S. However, did you know that another backwards compatibility program seemingly failed to get off the ground?

In the run up to the launch of the Xbox Series X and S, Microsoft talked quite a bit about back compat for the new systems. Aside from the current generation simply supporting the entire Xbox One library and beyond, the team also discussed how it was working on multiple programs to help improve some of those older titles.

One of those programs was being spun up to focus on resolution boosts for select games, as mentioned in a March 2020 Xbox Wire post. Basically, much like FPS Boost, Microsoft was seemingly working on a system-level feature to help improve visuals in certain games without the need for developer input. The company used Gears of War: Ultimate Edition as an example, showcasing the game running in native 4K on Series X.

Talking Point: What Happened To Xbox's 'Resolution Boost' Program? 2
Image: Gears of War Ultimate Edition in 4K, Microsoft

To this day, the 2015 Gears remaster remains a 1080p title, and the public never got to experience this Xbox Series X resolution boost. Having said that, select media outlets got to see it in action - the tech experts at Digital Foundry even threw together a handy comparison of the two versions of Gears Ultimate back in March 2020!

So, fast forward almost three years and we're wondering what happened to this feature? Given that FPS Boost has since come and gone, we no longer expect to see any sort of 'Res Boost' program come to life, sadly. While we're glad that Xbox managed to boost a fair amount of frame rates before running out of compatible titles, we'd have loved to see some Xbox One games get visual enhancements.

The nature of the technique could have led to some older boosts as well. While plenty of Xbox One titles have been ported over to current-gen by their respective dev teams, 'Resolution Boost' could have transformed some early-gen Xbox One games. Imagine the likes of Ryse: Son of Rome or Sunset Overdrive running at 4K - they'd look amazing even in 2023!

Alas, for now, we must let the dream die and be content with the amazing enhancements that FPS Boost delivered. Still, every now and then we may be caught daydreaming about Ryse's grand battle scenes in glorious 4K...

Are there any old Xbox One games you'd love to play in 4K? Let us know in the comments!