Microsoft has confirmed a new Xbox Series X feature called Smart Delivery which will allow you to purchase one copy of certain cross-generational games and play them on either console.
“We’re making the commitment to use Smart Delivery on all our exclusive Xbox Game Studios titles, including Halo Infinite, ensuring you only have to purchase a title once in order to play the best available version for whichever Xbox console they choose to play on,” says the Xbox team via a blog post. “This technology is available for all developers and publishers, and they can choose to use it for titles that will be released on Xbox One first and come to the Xbox Series X later.”
Microsoft has stated that all Xbox Game Studios titles will benefit from this feature, which is quite interesting when you consider that Microsoft has also stated that Game Studios titles will not be exclusive to Xbox Series X for at least the first year. It would seem that this is an extension of that concept, but it’s not entirely clear at this time how this policy will extend to titles which could eventually be released “exclusively” for Xbox Series X. We imagine those games will not be playable on Xbox One, but we’ll see how the details of this policy evolve as time goes on.
In any case, that line about this technology being available to “all developers and publishers” may be the most interesting takeaway from the initial announcement. Essentially, Microsoft is offering studios the chance to make individual purchases of games that will be available on both Xbox Series X and Xbox One compatible with both consoles. For instance, CD Projekt Red has already confirmed that Cyberpunk 2077 will be compatible with the Smart Delivery program.
Microsoft is reportedly strongly encouraging other third-party studios to participate in Smart Delivery, which means that we could see fewer instances of titles like the next Assassin’s Creed or Madden creating an awkward gap between generations which force gamers to potentially have to double-dip on titles or just wait until they can buy the next-gen version. It could also mean that games as a service titles you may currently own will retain their value when next-generation versions of those games are made available.
Of course, that all depends on whether or not studios choose to opt-in to Smart Delivery. Given certain instances of publisher greed that we’ve seen in the past, it’s easy to imagine that some studios will still push for gamers to buy multiple copies of the same title whenever possible.
In other Xbox Series X news, Microsoft has confirmed that any backward-compatible titles they currently support, with the possible exception of Kinect Xbox One titles, will also be supported on Xbox Series X. They even say that many of them will benefit from enhanced functionality with no additional developer effort required. Additionally, Xbox Game Pass will continue to support first-party games (such as Halo Infinite) on launch day.
Finally, the Xbox team has confirmed that the Xbox Series X will feature technical benefits such as HDMI 2.1 support, Dynamic Latency Input, 120 fps support, 12 teraflops of GPU power, and a quick resume feature that lets you continue multiplayer titles from a suspended state.
That’s quite a lot to process, but we’re not done with next-generation reveal season quite yet. That blog post also promises that we will learn more about the Xbox Series X ahead of its showcase at E3 2020.