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Microsoft recently introduced a Smart Delivery feature for Xbox games, allowing you to buy a game once knowing it will play on Xbox One and Series X hardware. EA embraced the feature for Madden NFL 21, but imposed a strict time limit. Criticism has now made the publisher rethink that decision.

EA’s take on Smart Delivery is referred to by the company as “Dual Entitlement.” When it was announced that Madden NFL 21 would be a Dual Entitlement game, EA added a time limit. Gamers would need to purchase the Xbox One version before Dec. 31 and upgrade to the Xbox Series X version by March 31 next year. As Polygon reports, the time limit has now been quietly extended.

In a post on the EA Next Level website, the publisher explains, “During our recent Inside Xbox announce, we included some dates limiting this Dual Entitlement approach. Having listened to our players response we’re extending the offer all the way through our Madden 21 season up to the release of Madden NFL 22, so players can upgrade to Madden NFL 21 on Xbox Series X whenever they first purchase their new console within that period.”

The decision to relax the time limit means gamers have a few more months to upgrade to Xbox Series X hardware and claim their free game because Madden NFL 22 isn’t expected to launch until the summer of 2021. It also means purchasing Madden NFL 21 on Xbox One can happen after Dec. 31 without losing the option of Dual Entitlement.

As to why EA decided to extend the time limit quietly, a spokesperson for the publisher told Polygon that it, “decided to hold back consumer facing communication” to “allow more important voices to be heard.” This is also why a reveal of more details about the game has been delayed, with a tweet from the official EA Madden NFL account explaining, “Our immediate attention is on actions we can take to drive change againdt the unjust treatment and systematic bias that is plaguing the nation and our world… We’ll find another time to talk football with you.”

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