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Four Generations on One Console: Xbox Series X’s Smart Delivery

In their first release since Sony’s huge PS5 event last week, Microsoft revealed their Xbox Series X’s Smart Delivery feature. Although its name sounds like another ‘smart’ quality of life feature most of us won’t use; it’s in fact a game-changer for users of current-gen consoles. Smart Delivery means that if you buy a new Xbox One game before the release of the Series X you won’t need to purchase the game again on the next-gen console. You will get an upgraded version completely free.

The feature also promises to carry over progress and game saves, allowing you to continue your gaming experience seamlessly once you upgrade to the new, bulked-up hardware. And, even better, the new version they will provide you free of charge is not a ‘replacement’ but another version. Meaning you’re free to play on either console. But it is unclear whether you will be able to play on both simultaneously. It’s also worth noting that this is for games purchased both digitally and physically, provided the title is one that touts this Smart Delivery feature.

This is especially important for long-awaited games, like Cyberpunk 2077, which are to be launched before the release of the next-gen console. But, that said, it may be worth the wait to experience those games’ true potential in order to utilize the capabilities of the Series X.

What excites me the most about this feature, and the Series X’s backwards compatibility more generally, is it means you will be able to experience the last 20 years of console titles all on one machine. This is because the Series X supports Xbox One titles, which support 360, which support original Xbox games—so that’s four generations of gaming all on one console! This is definitely an area where Microsoft has a leg-up on Sony, as we all remember the nightmare that was finding out the PS4 wouldn’t be compatible with PS3 titles. And, although the new PS5 will be compatible with current-gen titles, Sony’s offering pales in comparison to the huge compatibility of the Series X.

However, none of this means the Smart Delivery feature will be that prevalent. Microsoft has made it clear that it is up to developers to decide whether they include this feature with their games, meaning we will have to wait and see whether it becomes a mainstay in the coming months.

That said, the initial list of games that support smart delivery is already impressive, with more to be announced. The ones we know so far are:

  • Assassin's Creed Valhalla
  • Call of the Sea
  • Chorus
  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Destiny 2
  • DiRT 5
  • Gears 5
  • Halo Infinite
  • Metal: Hellslinger
  • Scarlet Nexus
  • Second Extinction
  • The Ascent
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon

The Smart Delivery feature offers current Xbox One users the stability to continue purchasing and playing late Xbox One releases, with the promise of updated versions on the new hardware when they become available. This announcement definitely continues the Series X hype in the build-up to Microsoft’s big update coming sometime in July.

Keep up to date by checking back regularly with our XboxSX updates here!

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