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Xbox Series X’s Smart Delivery lets Xbox One owners upgrade games for free

Amid an unveiling of tech details for the Xbox Series X, Microsoft dazzled fans with news of its Smart Delivery function, which will allow Xbox owners to play games across Xbox One and Xbox Series X without repurchasing.

The news comes from an Xbox Wire blog post that shares new information on Microsoft’s upcoming console. In a section about game compatibility, Microsoft explained its commitment to making “game ownership easier across generations” with the arrival of the Series X. Smart Delivery is a core piece of that plan.

“This technology empowers you to buy a game once and know that – whether you are playing it on Xbox One or Xbox Series X – you are getting the right version of that game on whatever Xbox you’re playing on.”

Doubling down on that commitment, all exclusive Microsoft Studios titles, including Halo Infinite, will utilize Smart Delivery. Microsoft previously revealed all Xbox Series X exclusives would come to Xbox One for at least a year after the system launched.

But the feature won’t apply to first-party Microsoft titles only. Cyberpunk 2077, which comes out September 17 before the Series X is expected to release, will get Smart Delivery, allowing Xbox One players to get a free Series X copy.

“This technology is available for all developers and publishers, and they can choose to use it for titles that will release on Xbox One first and come to the Xbox Series X later,” the release added.

It’s another way Microsoft is pushing backward compatibility. The blog post notes Series X can play games from every Xbox generation and reaffirms support for Game Pass in the next cycle.

The announcements are a far cry from Xbox One’s troubled launch in 2013. The system wasn’t backward compatible with older Xbox games, drawing ire from longtime fans. Furthering the blow, the Xbox One initially required a persistent internet connection.

It seems Microsoft learned from its mistakes with Smart Delivery, which appears designed to keep players in Microsoft’s growing ecosystem. Free upgrades for games like Cyberpunk 2077 may entice Xbox One players to eventually upgrade to Series X so they don’t have to repurchase titles as the new generation of consoles takes hold.

The new Xbox Series X feature is only one of many revealed by Microsoft. The system will include 12 teraflops of GPU performance, variable-rate shading, and a quick resume option.

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Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
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