Xbox Reportedly Blocking Publishers From Charging for Xbox Series X Upgrades

A handful of Xbox One games will receive free upgrades via Smart Delivery on the Xbox Series X. [...]

A handful of Xbox One games will receive free upgrades via Smart Delivery on the Xbox Series X. For those planning to purchase new games in the months leading up to the release of Microsoft's next console, it's definitely a nice perk. It seems, however, that this might be an act of goodwill on the part of Xbox, rather than the publishers. According to a report from VideoGamesChronicle, Microsoft is encouraging publishers to avoid charging consumers for the upgrades. Publishers are not being forced to adopt the Smart Delivery option, so they can choose other methods, such as EA's Dual Entitlement program.

Xbox Series X's Smart Delivery service has 14 confirmed titles that will support it. These titles range from third party offerings like Cyberpunk 2077 and Assassin's Creed Valhalla, to Microsoft published games like Halo Infinite and Gears 5.

It's certainly interesting to see some of the challenges posed by the next console generation, and the ways in which video game companies are adapting to them. With a number of major games releasing later this year on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, giving players free upgrades for those games is an excellent way to encourage consumers to buy them now, rather than waiting. That should also help increase the longevity of those games, making them more appealing to newcomers.

Of course, while this might not come at a cost to consumers, it isn't free for developers and publishers. 2K Games has received some blowback from fans for charging extra for the next-gen versions of NBA 2K21. While fans are clearly upset at the idea of paying extra for a next-gen upgrade, the reality is that those costs have to come from somewhere, and the cost of video game development has only increased over the last few years. NBA 2K21 will not support Smart Delivery, but the company will offer bundles that feature both versions of the game.

Time will tell whether or not these upgrades will prove to be worth it for publishers and video game companies. However, if upgrades allow publishers to sell the same software to owners of various platforms, those extra development costs could actually pay off in the long run.

What do you think of Xbox's Smart Delivery Service? Should developers charge for the upgraded versions of games? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk about all things gaming!