The Xbox Series X console will support a new platform-wide backwards compatibility feature - called Smart Delivery - when it launches this year.
At its May Xbox Series X event, the first in a series of monthly virtual shows called Xbox 20/20, Microsoft announced Smart Delivery, and then, in June, it published a blog post to detail the feature, which it said, "ensures you only have to purchase a title once, knowing you will get the best version of the title on whatever Xbox console you choose to play on." Here's everything we know so far.
What is Xbox Smart Delivery?
In a nutshell, Smart Delivery allows you to buy a game for the Xbox One and get a version for Xbox Series X included.
That way, if you upgrade to the Xbox Series X when it launches, Microsoft will automatically let you play an optimised version of the game. You'll always get to play the best-quality version, and you only have to buy the game once.
What are the requirements?
To use Smart Delivery, you'll need the new Xbox Series X console. You also need a compatible game.
Which games will support Xbox Smart Delivery?
So, when you buy an Xbox One version of a supported title, Microsoft will deliver the best version of it to your Xbox One, per usual. If you upgrade to Xbox Series X, Microsoft will automatically provide the Xbox Series X version of the game for free. Microsoft said you won’t need to do anything in terms of choosing a version to download. Plus, Smart Delivery is not just limited to games you digitally buy.
Physical discs of Xbox games can also support Smart Delivery, so long if the developer or publisher decides to use it. Microsoft said Smart Delivery is available to all game developers. All Xbox Game Studios titles made for Xbox Series X, including Halo Infinite, will also support Smart Delivery. Finally, Xbox Smart Delivery is compatible with Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft's $10-a-month game subscription service.
Here's a confirmed list of games compatible with Smart Delivery:
- Assassin's Creed Valhalla
- Call of the Sea
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Gears 5
- Halo Infinite
- Hellblade 2
- Destiny 2
- Dirt 5
- Metal: Hellslinger
- Scarlet Nexus
- Second Extinction
- The Ascent
- Vampire: The Masquerade -- Bloodlines 2
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon
How does Smart Delivery work?
Microsoft provided a few scenarios to describe how Smart Delivery works:
"If you own Gears 5 or are loving it via Xbox Game Pass now, you can play it today on Xbox One. Then, if you pick up an Xbox Series X this holiday, all it takes is a push of a button to download it and you’ll have the Optimized version of Gears 5 - available on day one at launch with the console - at your fingertips."
"When Halo Infinite launches alongside Xbox Series X and Xbox One this holiday, you only have to buy the game once and you’ll get the best version for whichever console you own, or both. If you pick up Xbox Series X for your living room, Smart Delivery will recognize that and deliver you the Optimized version there. If you decide to move your existing Xbox One to a bedroom or the office, Smart Delivery will recognise that too and deliver that version when you’re playing on Xbox One."
"Lastly, some new and existing Xbox One titles will be optimising their games after the Xbox Series X launches. For example, if you buy Cyberpunk 2077 when it launches on 17 September, you’ll be set to explore night city on Xbox One. If you pick up Xbox Series X at launch this holiday, you can play it there too in compatibility mode picking up exactly where you left off. Then, when CD Projekt Red delivers an Xbox Series X Optimized version of Cyberpunk 2077, you’ll automatically get upgraded once it’s available at no additional cost."
Want to know more?
Check out our guide on the Xbox Series X.