Microsoft is introducing Smart Delivery in time for the launch of Xbox Series X, allowing you to buy a game once knowing it will play on Xbox One and Series X. EA is set to use Smart Delivery for its games, but not before adding a time limit.
Smart Delivery is a simple and quite generous feature. Microsoft is committing to include Smart Delivery with all exclusive Xbox Game Studios titles going forward, which includes Halo Infinite. So if you purchase these games for Xbox One, they will continue to work when you upgrade to Xbox Series X hardware. There’s no additional cost, you’ll just get an upgraded version of each game to play at any point in the future.
Microsoft is encouraging developers and publishers to embrace Smart Delivery technology, and nine of the 13 Xbox Series X games revealed yesterday will use it. That includes EA’s Madden NFL 21, but as Polygon reports, EA has added its own twist to the offer. In order to qualify for Smart Delivery, Madden NFL 21 must be purchased for Xbox One before Dec. 31 this year. Even then, the Smart Delivery upgrade for Xbox Series X will only be available until March 31 next year.
In EA’s Madden NFL 21 FAQ and press release, it’s made clear that if you don’t intend to purchase a Series X console before the end of March next year, you won’t be able to use the Smart Delivery feature for this game. We have to assume EA expects you to buy the game again for Series X after that, but by then the focus may have already turned to Madden NFL 22.
If EA is introducing time limits on Smart Delivery, will other publishers do the same? If so, will Microsoft clamp down on it? Smart Delivery is a simple and effective tool for getting consumers buying games now rather than waiting, but that’s at risk of being lost if time limits become commonplace.