Xbox Tells Developers All Next-Gen Upgrades Should Be Free
Xbox has reportedly told developers that they can't charge players to upgrade their Xbox One games to Xbox Series X. The company is adamant that any next-gen upgrades should be free of charge via its Smart Delivery scheme, and should not sold as DLC.
This comes from VGC, who understands that companies working on cross-gen games have been asked to offer next-gen versions at no extra cost, provided the user already owns the current-gen version. CD Projekt RED was one of the first to reveal a free next-gen upgrade for Cyberpunk 2077. FIFA 21, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, and Destiny 2 have also followed suit.
That's not to say that developers and publishers have to support Smart Delivery. Current-gen owners of a game could instead receive a discount when purchasing the next-gen version via the Microsoft Store. Third-party publishers could also charge for physical game upgrades if they wanted to.
However, given that every next-gen upgrade that's been announced so far is being offered for free, it's unlikely that many developers or publishers will be looking to charge users to make the switch. Still, it sounds like Microsoft wants to give companies a range of options to sell products on Xbox One and Xbox Series X, in spite of whether they agree with its suggested policies.
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A Microsoft spokesperson explained to VGC in a statement that "developers and publishers ultimately decide how they deliver their games, and we work with them to provide the best possible experience based on their needs."
For example, publishers have the option of selling the current-gen game and a next-gen upgrade as part of a slightly pricier bundle. We've already seen 2K adopt this approach with NBA 2K21. Those who want the basketball game right away but also want to make the jump to a next-gen console can grab both at the same time through an £84.99 two-pack.
One important caveat for games that don't opt in to the Xbox Smart Delivery System is that certain save data won't cross over between the generations. By comparison, Smart Delivery upgrades will retain all save data and achievements. It'll also play the optimal version based on the console you're using, regardless of whether you've inserted the current or next-gen disc... which is pretty awesome.
It also sounds like games that don't support Smart Delivery on release won't be able to jump in on the scheme at a later date. Let's just hope the majority of publishers and developers choose to opt in, I guess.
Featured Image Credit: Microsoft