The Xbox Series X (opens in new tab) Smart Delivery (opens in new tab) feature is the ace up Microsoft's sleeve when it comes to taking on the PS5 (opens in new tab) this holiday season, allowing players to essentially get a free upgrade of titles they already own on the current console generation within the Xbox ecosystem.
Games sporting the Smart Delivery badge will download the optimal version of the title depending on which Microsoft system it's being played on, so you can fork out for Cyberpunk 2077 on the Xbox One (opens in new tab), then enjoy the Xbox Series X optimised version without having to buy the game again for the next-gen console.
It's a fantastic feature that will undoubtedly save gamers a hefty sum of cash, and now we've discovered even more titbits about Smart Delivery that makes Microsoft's look like the place to be when November rolls around.
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Not only will Microsoft's family of consoles allow you to automatically download and play the best version of the game for the machine you're playing on, but the company has confirmed that your save data will migrate across machines too, meaning you can take a break from playing something on the Xbox One X (opens in new tab) and then pick it up again over on the Xbox Series X, right where you left off, but with all of the the bonuses the next-gen console provides.
But the best part is that you can go back and forth between console generations with that same save data - so if you get a new Xbox Series X which gets pride of place in the living room, but you hang on to your current-gen console and demote it to a bedroom, you can flit between them depending on household traffic and who's hogging the main TV. Smart delivery will ensure you're always playing the version of the game optimised for the console you're using, so you'll always be getting the best possible experience.
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As well as outlining those two scenario, Microsoft touched on the fact that some new and existing Xbox One titles will be optimised after the Xbox Series X launches, using the example of Cyberpunk 2077:
"For example, if you buy Cyberpunk 2077 when it launches on September 17, 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."
Microsoft has Sony on the ropes with Smart Delivery - especially now that we know more about how consumer-friendly the entire ecosystem that is being established across its consoles.
When the holiday season rolls around, gamers are going to be facing a tough choice, but by offering such tremendous value with free upgrades, Microsoft may just come out on top.