The shift to a next-generation console always presents problems.
But one of the biggest issues I’ve found, born from the transitional experience between the Xbox 360 to Xbox One, was that some online friend always got left behind on old hardware.
So with the release of the Xbox Series X/S, I realized that I, along with millions of other gamers, would have to leave many online gaming buddies behind when crossing the divide between console generations.
Or do you?
After all, the PlayStation 5 offers cross-gen online gaming with the PlayStation 4. So could the Xbox Series X and S do the same with the Xbox One?
Determined to find an answer, I slipped on my level 99 cape-of-investigation and headed out into the wilds of the internet in search of adventures and answers. This is what I came back with…
Will Xbox Series S/X be able to play with Xbox One online? Yes, Xbox series S and X players can play online with Xbox One players. Players gaming online with an Xbox One game on the Xbox Series X/S can play with players gaming on Xbox One with the same game. Additionally, the Xbox Series X/S versions of games such as Fortnight can also be played with players playing the Xbox One version.
Now you know Xbox Series X/S players can play with Xbox One players online, let’s take a closer look at how it can be done and some of the sneaky advantages gamers will get by playing on a next-gen console when playing against Xbox One players.
Can Xbox Series X/S games be played online with Xbox One players?
Yes, thankfully, Xbox Series X and S players can continue to play online with their last-gen brethren on the Xbox One.
However, cross-gen online gaming is split into two categories.
- Xbox Series X/S console playing an Xbox One game and Xbox One console playing an Xbox One game
- Example: An Xbox Series X/S plays the Xbox One version of Call of Duty and joins a game with a player playing the Xbox One version of Call of Duty on an Xbox One.
- This is cross-gen backward compatible online gaming
- Xbox Series X/S console playing the Xbox Series X/S version of a game and an Xbox One console playing Xbox One version of the game
- Example: A player on Xbox Series X plays the Xbox Series X version of Call of Duty: Cold War and a player on Xbox One plays the Xbox One version of Call of Duty: Cold War.
Microsoft has made cross-play between gens a major part of their next-gen game plan. To enable this, they’ve ensured that all Xbox One games are 100% compatible with the Xbox Series X and S.
Any game you currently own for the Xbox One that you play online with your friends can be slipped into your Xbox Series X, installed, and played online with your Xbox One friends, just like you did on your old Xbox One.
As for cross-gen games, games such as Dirt 5 are built for cross-generation online gaming. If you’ve bought Dirt 5 on Xbox Series X, you can play online with your Xbox One totting friends who own the game.
The same can be said for major free-to-play franchises such as Fortnight, Destiny 2, and Apex legends.
These games, and others like them, offer cross generation online gaming.
Cross Generation Progression
Now this is where it gets tricky for cross gen gaming.
Well, even though you can play online with your friends on every cross-gen and backward-compatible game on the Xbox, not every game will support cross-gen progression.
Unfortunately, in some games, you’ll have to start from level 1 and zero XP all over again.
This can be a bit of a problem if you play online with friends who are all high-level players. Or if you’ve sunk a lot of cash into buying cosmetics and the like.
Fortunately, most multiplayer games offer online cross-pen and cross-platform progress.
For example, both Call of Duty: Warzone and Fortnight support both cross-gen and cross-platform progression.
How do they do this?
Well, it’s simple really, ever noticed that when you first signed up for Fortnight, you had to sign up to an Epic (The makers of Fortnight) account?
I know, at the time it was a pain in the rear end (Sorry I can’t swear, I’m pretty positive the omnipotent power that is Google would shake it’s head slowly from side to side in disappointment and then proceed to hammer the button to demote my website.) but you should thank these 3rd party accounts as they are what is responsible for gross-gen progression
Essentially, when you play Fortnight, all your progress, stats, and cosmetics are bound to your Epic account. This means you can log into Fortnight using your Epic account on any platform and your progress will carry over.
And it’s the same for your progress between Xbox Series X/S and Xbox one.
Sadly, there is a rather large spanner that’s been tossed into the machinery in an effort to grind the fun factory to a halt…
Some games that don’t use a 3rd party account won’t track your progress from one console to the other.
I’m not sure why your Microsoft account can’t keep track of cross-gen progress in all games. Considering that your Microsoft account keeps track of all of your trophies from the last 4 generations of consoles, it seems silly it can’t keep track of progression in games.
But sadly, no, it won’t keep track of your ingame progress.
One casualty of no cross-gen progress tracking is Respawn’s multiplayer sci-fi battle royal clone, Apex Legends. As of writing, EA’s answer to Player Unknown: Battlegrounds does not support cross-gen progression. If you throw out the Old “One” and roll in the new X or S, be prepared to rebuy – yes, rebuy – your cosmetics (Why are you wasting money on this stuff, anyway?) and to build up your progress again.
However, it must be said in Respawns defense, they are apparently looking into enabling cross-gen progression. It just hasn’t happened at the time of writing.
How to do Xbox Series X/S cross-play with Xbox One
I’m not a big fan of jumping through technical mumbo-jumbo lined hoops when it comes to my gaming. I like an Apple-like simplicity to all that I do.
With that in mind, my wish was for cross-gen online gaming between Xbox Series X and S to be as smooth as possible. To the point of being invisible.
Fortunately, this particular wish was granted.
You don’t have to do anything special to do cross-play between Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One games.
There are no options to tweak, no hacks to botch your way through while following an online tutorial.
Cross-gen gaming just works.
All you have to do to enable online cross-play between an Xbox Series console and an Xbox One is invite a friend, as you normally would do to form a multiplayer party.
Essentially, if you and your mate have the same game, and you both have Xbox consoles, you can play online together.
That player can then, like normal, accept your invite. It is essentially seamless and you shouldn’t notice what console the other player is playing on.
That all sounds great. But before I move on, let’s take a look at an example:
Let’s take a look at an example:
Let’s take the frankly awesome Xbox one game Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (I’ll shorten this to COD: IW to save my sausage fingers from wearing out).
A gamer on Xbox One is playing COD: IW. They see their Xbox Series X owning friend online and they invite them to a game.
The Friend on Xbox Series X gets an invite just as he would on Xbox One prompting them to join the game.
They select the invite, the game boots, and the Xbox Series X player joins the party that was set up by the Xbox One player.
It’s similar when an Xbox One player, playing the Xbox One version of a game, invites an Xbox Series X player, with an Xbox Series X version of a game.
For example, A Xbox One gamer can invite an Xbox Series X gamer to a race in Dirt 5. The Xbox Series X Gamer can accept the invite and enter the game just as if they were playing on an Xbox One.
Can Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S players communicate via voice chat?
Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One players can communicate via voice chat in both parties and multiplayer games just as they would on Xbox One to Xbox One coms or Xbox Series X/S to Xbox Series X/S coms.
It’s seamless and easy, just as cross-gen coms should be. After all, it’s easy for my iPhone 11 to call my Dad who has an iPhone 7, so why not cross-generation consoles.
Do Xbox Series X/S gamers get an advantage when playing online against Xbox One players
Being able to play online with your last-gen/next-gen gamer friends is great news.
But there’s a flabby fly floating in this particular soup of goodness.
The next-generation Xbox consoles are vastly more powerful than their last-gen cousins. For example, the Xbox Series X is, on paper anyway, over 9 times more powerful than the original Xbox One.
This vast gulf in graphical power will offer next-generation gamers a tangible advantage over last-gen gamers.
But what are those advantages?
Let’s take a look…
All that extra Xbox Series X horsepower has to go somewhere, right? Of course it does. One of those places is increased resolution.
We no longer game at headache-inducing resolutions like 720p. Instead, Next gen-consoles throw vast quantities of pixels around like a T-rex would toss around a rather unfortunate squirrel (Please, no comments on how squirrels didn’t exist in the time of dinosaurs or anything. I’m not a paleontologist. My poor brain isn’t advanced enough for that).
While your Xbox One friends are trying to shoulder their way through the murk in low-resolution land, you’ll be laser-focused with 4K transmitting 8 million pixels worth of information to your retinas 60 times a second.
To give you some idea of what I mean, an Xbox One game playing at 720p produces just under a million pixels. 4k, as I said above, produces a staggering 8 million pixels. So a gamer playing at 4K vs 720p has over 8 times the amount of graphical information to make decisions with.
This isn’t a problem if an enemy is up close. But it can make the difference between winning and losing at medium to long ranges.
Yes, it’s worth keeping in mind that not many Xbox One games run as low a resolution like 720p. But the chasm between the graphical resolution of Xbox Series X and Xbox One, can’t be underestimated.
More consistent frame rate
Some cross-gen games will run at a far more stable frame rate on the Xbox Series X when compared to Xbox One.
Take a look at this Digital Foundry Video below to see what I mean:
A more stable frame rate means the player will experience more consistent controller input when compared to a variable or dipping frame rate.
What does this mean for gaming?
Well, fluctuating frame rates mean fluctuating input sensitivity. So if you were playing an FPS, that was fluctuating between 30 fps and then 60fps, you’d half the controller input sensitivity every time you dropped to 30 fps.
The net result is your aim is thrown off as though your thumb can never get used to how much to move on the analog stick.
A good aim on a controller needs consistency. And a fluctuating frame rate robs you of that.
High Frame Rates
The rally racing game Dirt 5 offers a substantial advantage to Xbox Series X gamers.
The Xbox Series X version can run at a stable 120 fps compared to the Xbox One version which runs at 60fps.
You might not think this would make much of a difference.
But it means that Xbox Series X players have double the window of opportunity to register controller input.
Just like slurping down a nice bottle of Bud after a hard day’s work in the yard, there’s nothing like a summary at the end of an article to offer a quick reminder.
Here we go:
- Xbox Series S/X gamers can play online with Xbox One players
- This can be either through backward compatibility with Xbox One games being played on Xbox Series S/X
- Or Buy playing Cross-Gen Crossplay compatible games such as Fortnight.
- Cross Gen game will offer cross-gen progression if the game makes you sign into a 3rd party account such as the Epic account for Fortnight
- Cross-play is done automatically between Xbox Series S/X and Xbox One
- Just invite a friend as per usual
- Xbox Series X gamers may have an advantage when gaming against Xbox One gamers. This is because the Series X Offers:
- Higher frame rates
- More consistent frame rate
- Higher resolution
Ok, that seems to be everything. If you’ve enjoyed this article please leave a comment down below. If you haven’t enjoyed the article, please leave a comment down below to tell me how I can improve my articles in the future to offer more value.
If commenting isn’t your thing – don’t worry it’s not mine either – then check out the next section to see what you can look at next…
Can the Xbox Series X/S be laid down? Yes, both consoles can be laid down on their sides. To be sure you have the right orientation for either console when laying them down – You don’t want to place it upside down or anything – always ensure the Xbox logo on the front of the console, is facing you and in the top right-hand corner. That will ensure the console is orientated correctly.
How do I charge the Xbox Series X/S control? There are many ways to effectively charge the new Xbox Series controller. So instead of listing them all here, I’ve written an article on the subject. Check out my how to charge the Series X / S controller article here.
How do I turn off and on the Xbox Series X / S console properly? Sadly the days of simply fingering an off button and being done with your console for the evening are over. Microsoft, and Sony for that matter, want to make you dance through hoops to turn their console off. So I wrote an article dedicated to the subject. You can find it here.