How to Turn On Ray Tracing on an Xbox Series X
The Xbox Series X was the first console to support ray tracing, a feature that was previously only available on PC. With new and improved hardware, gamers don’t need to invest in expensive gaming rigs just for realistic lighting. While the list of games that support ray tracing is relatively short, it continues to grow as developers implement it in their newest creations.
Unfortunately, turning on ray tracing is not possible using the Xbox Series X’s system controls; it’s only possible via in-game menus. If you’re interested in the methods, keep on reading.
Turning Ray Tracing On and Off
On a gaming laptop or PC, ray tracing is incredibly accessible. All you usually need to do is toggle it on or off in the general graphic card setting. However, Xbox Series X users currently can’t take advantage of a universal switch for ray tracing. The only way to decide whether you want ray tracing on or off is to adjust the graphical settings.
Every game has a different menu, and some may not list the setting as its own option. You’ll have to pick a graphics setting preset from several available choices for these titles. If a game supports it and uses this type of selection, you’ll need to find out which one enables ray tracing.
In conclusion, there’s no way gamers can turn on ray tracing universally on their Xbox Series X console. They’ll have to launch a game that supports the feature and enable it through the graphics menu.
What Is Ray Tracing?
Even though many gamers today know about the term, not everyone knows what it entails. The name does have to do with lighting, but it’s much more than making games shine with bright rays and calling it a day.
Ray tracing, simply put, is a lighting technique in video games that makes the resulting image look more realistic. When enabled, ray tracing will be applied to various objects, such as the following.
- Reflections on surfaces
- Atmospheric effects
- Diffused lighting
Light continues being reflected when it hits an object, as it will keep on going until it gets absorbed by a surface. This is the theory behind diffused lighting in video games, and with ray tracing, the result becomes even more realistic. You’ll see the light reflecting off objects and making the space look like a picture taken in real life.
Ray tracing isn’t always obvious to gamers, as it’s a more subtle effect in comparison to others. One way to tell if it’s enabled is to compare a video game before and after doing so. If the lighting looks different and more realistic, ray tracing is probably enabled.
Besides lighting, game developers can also use ray tracing to improve the appearance of visual effects, such as the eldritch magic glow of an undead wizard or a futuristic energy weapon’s shooting animation. These additions can make a video game appear graphically impressive and natural.
With NVIDIA’s GPUs, gamers can enjoy ray tracing in their video games, which are applied in real-time. That’s why older GPUs that received ray tracing support later will struggle with the feature. Examples include the GTX 1080 and several comparable cards.
The Xbox Series X has a unique GPU from AMD that supports ray tracing from the get-go. It’s stronger than most people think, as the closest standard GPU equivalents are the NVIDIA RTX 3060 or RTX 3070 and the AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT.
AMD based this Xbox Series X GPU on its Scarlett graphics processor, which supports DirectX 12 Ultimate. It has 3,328 cores, a substantial number for a console GPU.
What Xbox Series X Games Support Ray Tracing?
Instead of handing you a complete list, we’ll talk about some of the most popular titles that support the feature.
This popular third-person shooting game received a next-generation graphics update in 2021, including features like 4K120 resolution and a transition to Unreal Engine 5. Most importantly, Fortnite players can now turn on ray tracing for their game.
Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition
As mentioned earlier, DMC 5 Special Edition has support for ray tracing. Unlike some games that have the feature on both the Series X and Series S, only the former will work with ray tracing.
Cyberpunk 2077 was criticized for a long time from the day it was released, as it was an incomplete game rife with bugs and glitches. In 2022, the game has received multiple updates, including the latest big update in February. Now, players can look at the game in a new light, as ray tracing is permanently available as a graphics option.
The game does render at 1440p30, but that’s to be expected. Enabling ray tracing at 4K60 is incredibly taxing on consoles and even gaming PCs. Nevertheless, Cyberpunk owners may find now the best time to return to playing the game.
The latest entry in the venerable Doom franchise currently supports ray tracing, as seen from a July 2021 update for all platforms, including the Xbox Series X. Doom Eternal uses pure ray tracing, which can put GPUs through its paces. When enabled, Doom Eternal will run at 1800p60, higher than the standard 1080p60.
Like DMC 5 Special Edition, only the Xbox Series X can support ray tracing on Doom Eternal.
Ray tracing is indeed taxing on GPUs and CPUs, making resolution and framerate drops necessary for smooth gameplay. There may be light frame drops and stuttering when you enable the feature, though the developers always strive to minimize their occurrences.
Overall, ray tracing is slowly becoming more accessible, and we can even see some games receive updates like those listed above. Newer titles that will release on the Xbox Series X may also be compatible with ray tracing, though the list isn’t growing too quickly.
Can you turn on ray tracing on Xbox Series X?
The console fully supports ray tracing, but not every title does. You’ll have to check whether a game you want has ray tracing on the Xbox Series X before buying.
Can the Xbox Series S turn on ray tracing?
Yes, the Xbox Series S supports ray tracing as well, but only for even fewer titles. The reason is that this console is weaker in processing power.
Does Minecraft have ray tracing on the Xbox Series X?
Currently, only the PC version of Minecraft has ray tracing support. However, the decision to let Xbox Series X owners enjoy this feature was made before March 2020. That was when Mojang released a demo of Minecraft for Xbox Series X with ray tracing enabled.
Realistic Lighting On
Right now, many AAA titles support ray tracing on the Xbox Series X. However, you can only enable the setting manually through the games themselves. That said, the console runs these games beautifully, allowing for a wonderful immersive experience.
Which ray-tracing-enabled Series X titles do you own? What title would you like to see receive ray tracing support? Let us know in the comments section below.