The “FPS Boost” feature available on Xbox Series X and Series S can improve performance in older games. The game’s developer doesn’t even have to do anything. Here’s how it works and how to turn it on for specific games.
What Is FPS Boost on Xbox?
“FPS” stands for “frame per second” and refers to the speed at which a game runs. The frame rate was largely locked at 30 for the last generation’s big titles. This is done to ensure consistency while playing so that players are less likely to notice big dips in performance when they occur. With a new generation of consoles, many of the hardware limitations that necessitated frame rate locks have been removed.
This means that many games now have the overhead to run at a superior 60 frames per second, and in some cases, 120 frames per second (though you’ll need a compatible TV for 120hz gaming). A higher frame rate means smoother and more responsive gameplay, with the leap from 30 to 60 frames per second being quite noticeable.
Typically, games require an update from the developer to enable higher frame rates and to balance graphical settings to ensure that targets can be met. This is often not viable for older titles because developers have ceased to work on them and aren’t prepared to spend money and time on past projects.
That’s where FPS Boost comes in. Microsoft has developed a method of improving game performance at a system level. This allows for the doubling of frame rates without the need for a software update. According to Microsoft’s Xbox blog, the FPS Boost feature “employs a variety of new methods” to improve performance, although Microsoft won’t say exactly what they are.
The feature launched in February of 2021 with support for a handful of titles, with more on the way in the future.
How to Enable FPS Boost on Xbox
FPS Boost is not enabled by default for all compatible titles. If a game is using FPS Boost, you will see an “FPS Boost” indicator in the top-right corner of the screen when you press the Xbox button while the game is running.
You can check whether a game is using (or is able to use) FPS Boost from the “Manage game and add-ons” menu.
To get there, press the Xbox button on your controller and choose “My games and apps” on the first tab. Highlight the game in question, press the Options button on your controller (the one that looks like three horizontal lines), and then choose “Manage game and add-ons.”
On the next screen, select “Compatibility Options.”
In the menu that appears, you’ll see toggles for FPS Boost and Auto-HDR where possible. You can check or uncheck either of these items to enable or disable the features.
Are There Any Downsides to FPS Boost?
Arguably, the biggest drawback is that not all titles are compatible with FPS Boost. Microsoft will continue to roll out compatibility to more titles over time, so keep an eye on the Xbox YouTube channel if you’re eager for more information.
Some games will see limitations put in place to maintain a high level of performance. For example, two titles that have already received the FPS Boost treatment are Fallout 4 and Fallout 76. With FPS Boost enabled, these titles are limited to 1080p resolution—as opposed to 4K with FPS Boost disabled.
Without intervention in the form of a software update, some titles will see compromises to visual fidelity so that frame rate targets can be hit. Keep in mind that you can turn the feature off on a game-by-game basis if need be.
Another Reason to Choose Xbox
Backward compatibility is Microsoft’s strong suit this generation, with a huge catalog of older Xbox titles available to anyone with an Xbox Series console. You can even install the RetroArch emulator in developer mode if you’re hungry for emulators.
Still curious about whether to go for a Series X or S? Check out our guide to picking your perfect Xbox.