One of Microsoft's consumer-friendly initiatives in place for the Xbox Series X launch is ‘Smart Delivery', ensuring you only need to buy a game once and then be able to play it on both Xbox One and Xbox Series X. As you might imagine, some publishers would like to charge for these upgrades, but Microsoft is reportedly taking a strong stance against such practices.
While publishers don't have to opt-in to Microsoft's own Smart Delivery program, according to VideoGamesChronicle, Microsoft is blocking developers from charging to upgrade current-gen games to their next-gen equivalent as DLC. Instead, publishers have to come up with their own dual-entitlement scheme, or sell a deluxe edition bundle.
We've actually seen two examples of this already, both of which come from the sports game market. EA is offering free next-gen upgrades for anyone who buys Madden 21 on Xbox One and then later upgrades to Xbox Series X. Meanwhile, 2K Games is going in a different direction, with NBA2K21 offering distinct current-gen and next-gen versions, while also including a deluxe edition that contains licenses for both Xbox One and Xbox Series X.
While EA and 2K appear to be working on their own schemes, Microsoft's first-party studios, as well as large third-parties like CD Projekt Red and Ubisoft, are supporting Microsoft's own Smart Delivery program instead.
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KitGuru Says: Charging for a next-gen game upgrade seems rather trivial nowadays, so it is good to see Microsoft taking a stance against the idea. Although NBA 2K21's more expensive deluxe edition isn't necessarily a great alternative. Still, not many cross-gen games have been announced yet, so we've yet to see how this will impact a wider range of releases.