VGC, which cites “publishing sources with knowledge of Microsoft’s next-gen policies,” says that Microsoft has been encouraging “companies working on cross-gen games” to offer upgrades at no additional cost. This could make use of Xbox’s Smart Delivery program, where you only need to purchase one version of a game to enjoy it across the entire Xbox hardware range.So far we’ve seen that third-party games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Cyberpunk 2077 will offer next-gen upgrades at no extra cost, but this push from Microsoft will attempt to stop other publishers and developers from charging full-price for next-gen versions of cross-gen games, or for an upgrade to be provided as a paid DLC option.
EA is offering games under a different Dual Entitlement scheme, which is making sure players who buy FIFA 21 or Madden NFL 21 on current-gen consoles will also be able to play upgraded versions on Xbox Series X and PS5 at no extra cost, should they make the jump in hardware.
Microsoft has not made free next-gen upgrades mandatory yet, so if developers don’t adopt the Smart Delivery policy, they have other options, such as selling “cross-gen bundles” of Xbox One and Xbox Series X games at a higher price point. We’ve already seen that NBA 2K21 will a cross-gen bundle option, although its standalone Xbox Series X and PS5 editions will come in at a $69.99 price point.
Jordan Oloman is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.