Microsoft is assisting players make the transition to its next-gen console with a new feature called Smart Delivery.
Essentially, Smart Delivery ensures you’re playing the best version of a game, regardless of whether you bought it for Xbox One or Xbox Series X. And, crucially, consumers need only buy a game once.
It means that if you buy a compatible game on Xbox One and later upgrade to Xbox Series X, Smart Delivery will detect that and, if there is also a Series X version of that game, let you play it without having to purchase a new copy.
So far, Microsoft has committed to supporting Smart Delivery with its first-party titles, such as Halo Infinite. Thus, if you buy Halo Infinite at launch for Xbox One, you will later be able to play the Series X version for free when you upgrade to a Series X.
In the wake of Microsoft’s announcement, CD Projekt RED said that Cyberpunk 2077, set for release on Xbox One (and PC and PS4) in September, is the first third-party game to support Smart Delivery. The Xbox Series X version of Cyberpunk 2077 does not have a release date, but CDPR tweeted: “Owners of Cyberpunk 2077 for Xbox One will receive the Xbox Series X upgrade for free when available.”
Xbox chief Phil Spencer says that the Smart Delivery technology is available for all developers and publishers to use, and it will be up to them whether they choose to use it.
During the last console generation transition, publishers released separate versions of the same game across generations. Some offered PS3/360 owners paid upgrades to the PS4/XB1 editions, but for other titles players were forced to pay full price if they wanted to play the next-gen version of their old-gen game.