During its Xbox 20/20 event today, Microsoft revealed a roster of third-party games that are coming to Xbox Series X. As part of those announcements, the company also confirmed that nine of those releases will support Smart Delivery across Xbox platforms. This ensures that if you buy one of these games for Xbox One, you’ll then get the upgraded Xbox Series X version at no additional cost.

Here’s the list of third-party games that support Smart Delivery so far:

  • Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
  • Call of the Sea
  • Chorus
  • Dirt 5
  • Scarlet Nexus
  • Second Extinction
  • The Ascent
  • Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines 2
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon

In addition to these games, Microsoft has previously confirmed that every first-party Xbox Game Studios release will also use Smart Delivery. This will start with Halo Infinite at Xbox Series X launch.

Third-party developers and publishers, meanwhile, have the choice to opt into Smart Delivery. But it seems like many are doing exactly that. CD Projekt Red already announced that Cyberpunk 2077 will take advantage of the feature.

This makes sense because it should encourage people who own current-gen systems to keep buying games. Smart Delivery gives those customers the confidence that their library will later upgrade along with their hardware.

Let’s explain Xbox Smart Delivery like you’re 5

I think some people still don’t understand exactly what Smart Delivery is. Is it cross-buy, backward compatibility, or something else?

The answer is that Smart Delivery is something else. Let’s break it down as simply as possible:

Ubisoft is building Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla for both Xbox One and Xbox Series X. These are two different versions of the game. Smart Delivery ensures that if you buy the Xbox One Assassin’s Creed game, then you will also automatically get the Xbox Series X version when you upgrade to that device.

But isn’t that just backward compatibility? No.

Let’s pretend that Smart Delivery doesn’t exist. In that case, you can buy Assassin’s Creed for Xbox One, and then you could play the Xbox One version on Xbox Series X using backward compatibility. Since the Xbox Series X will run Xbox One games better, you would get some improvements. But this is not the same as the improvements you would get from a game built specifically for Xbox Series X.

Without Smart Delivery, you could still purchase Assassin’s Creed for Xbox One and then again separately for Xbox Series X.

With Smart Delivery, purchasing the game for one system means you are also purchasing it for the other.

If you’re still confused, here’s all you really need to know: Smart Delivery will ensure you always have the best version of a game while saving you money.

Doesn’t Madden NFL 21 use Smart Delivery?

During the Xbox 20/20 event today, Madden cover athlete and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Patrick Mahomes juked out fans. The Kansas City Chiefs star said that people who buy Madden NFL 21 on Xbox One will be able to get the game for free on Xbox Series X.

So that’s Smart Delivery, right? Not exactly.

EA is providing its own, separate upgrade path for Madden NFL 21. This has nothing to do with Smart Delivery. Instead, it’s much more limited.

If you want to get a free upgrade to the next-gen version of Madden, you’ll need to purchase the game for Xbox One by December 31, 2020. You’ll then need to upgrade the game by March 31, 2021.

Whereas Smart Delivery is permanent and just works. EA’s upgrade path is going to shut down to you if you don’t upgrade to an Xbox Series X by March.

Correction: I originally said that Madden NFL 21 uses Smart Delivery. It does not. I’ve corrected that and added an explanation of how it’s different.


You can't solo security COVID-19 game security report: Learn the latest attack trends in gaming. Access here