Microsoft’s Xbox announced its new Smart Delivery feature that allows gamers to purchase games only once, even when they upgrade their consoles.
The Smart Delivery system, announced in a statement on June 15, allows players to play the most updated version of a game after purchasing it. Players who buy an Xbox game with Smart Delivery will have access to the latest version no matter the hardware being used.
But it does require the Xbox Series X console set for release for the 2020 holiday season.
Smart Delivery will also help gamers continue with their game progression by carrying saved games.
Unlike backward compatibility Xbox offered for many games across its consoles, Smart Delivery promises enhanced versions of the same game with improved graphics for supported games.
Nintendo Switch, which has become a popular console during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, has been heavily criticized for not offering any backward compatibility. A spokesperson for Nintendo Canada was unavailable to comment.
A Sony PlayStation representative declined to comment on its competition.
Xbox said the technology would work for games both purchased digitally as well as physical discs of Xbox games, provided the game developer or publisher allows it.
“Smart Delivery is an incredibly pro-consumer move and it will help shift the industry in a better direction,” said Adrian Simple, the founder of The Gaming Observer.
Simple said the new move is to retain the Xbox fanbase.
“If someone only has an Xbox One right now, making the transition to the Series X as frictionless as possible is going to keep some of their customers who are perhaps attracted by the PlayStation exclusives,” he said.
Andrew Tamplin, an astrophysics student at York University, thinks this feature should have been made available much earlier.
“It’s like Apple takes out the headphone jack and then they give you the AirPods, but they realize people already have earphones so they throw in a connector jack,” he said.
Tamplin, a PlayStation user, said he won’t be switching to another console system just for the new feature.
“It would only really matter if there were certain Xbox exclusives that I really wanted to play,” he said.
The new service will be available for gamers using Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft’s game subscription service.
While the technology is available for all developers and Xbox Game Studio titles that are optimized for Xbox Series X, implementing the Smart Delivery system will be at the discretion of the individual developers.
Xbox’s list of games that support Smart Delivery and are expected to be optimized for its upcoming console include:
- Halo Infinite
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
- Destiny 2
- DiRT 5
- Scarlet Nexus
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon
- The Ascent
- Call of the Sea
- Gears 5
- Second Extinction
- Metal: Hellslinger
Microsoft is expected to provide more updates around its Xbox Series X in July.