Welcome to the 38th Digital Foundry Direct Weekly – and perhaps unsurprisingly, owing to the huge Xbox 20th anniversary celebrations, the line-up of topics for this week’s show is dominated by Microsoft discussion. Leading off the show, we talk about the event itself – spearheaded by a tight, entertaining 30 minute stream that reminded us of Xbox’s many firsts, before doubling down with the reveal of more OG Xbox and Xbox 360 backwards compatibility titles… and even some legacy FPS Boost support. We’ll be talking about that specifically in separate content but it’s great to see some previously X-enhanced Xbox 360 games also receive frame-rate enhancements, meaning that the likes of Assassin’s Creed, Mirror’s Edge, Fallout 3 and Gears 3 now run at enhanced resolutions and at 60fps to boot. And with the release of Sonic Generations, we have a new game receiving both upgrades, making it the best non-modded version of the game available – and yes, I bought it (the £4 credit gifted to my Xbox account helped too).
Beyond the #Xbox20 celebrations, there was plenty of other Microsoft-related news. That kicked off with Xbox boss Phil Spencer coming out in favour of emulation and seemingly coming out against Activision management. On the former, we’ve seen Spencer’s commitment to the idea that the games you buy today (and bought yesterday!) should be playable on current generation systems, but we’re certainly curious to see how far that commitment goes. I’ve no doubt that the Xbox emulators built into Series consoles could run any older generation Xbox game, but would we be able to play our old discs? Would Microsoft allow, say, official Retroarch support on Xbox platforms? What about other consoles? Beyond that, Phil was also in the news for confirming Xbox and PC exclusivity for The Elder Scrolls 6 – staggeringly obvious perhaps, but there’s always been the hope from some quarters that this exclusivity would be time-limited and that ‘Microsoft would be leaving money on the table’ by not eventually launching on PlayStation. It’s an interesting argument I hear a lot that somehow doesn’t seem to be extended to Sony first-party titles appearing on Xbox.