Xbox Smart Delivery explained

Xbox smart delivery
Buy once, play best version: Smart Delivery makes it possible. (Image credit: Microsoft)

At the end of the year, the next-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, are waiting for us. Everyone is talking about better graphics, shorter loading times, and new technology, but Microsoft has a feature in the back of its hand with Xbox Smart Delivery that could make all the difference. What does the term actually mean?

With the PlayStation 4, Sony has decided the current console generation for itself. But with the launch of the next-gen consoles PS5 and Xbox Series X this winter the cards will be reshuffled. While everyone is talking about raytracing and the fancy new graphics, Microsoft has a special ace up its sleeve with Xbox Smart Delivery.

What is Smart Delivery?

The next-gen consoles have a lot of power under the hood and are expected to provide an incredible leap in graphics from the current generation. Everything indicates that the hardware of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X is likely to be evenly matched. Then how do you secure the favor of the gamers?

Microsoft has a very special idea: with innovative concepts such as the Xbox Game Pass or Xbox Play Anywhere, the Redmond company has already caught up with the Xbox One on the PS4 at the beginning of the console generation. With the upcoming Xbox Series X, Microsoft continues to go the extra mile and further improve the user experience for gamers. One example is Smart Delivery - perhaps the best feature of next-gen consoles.

Xbox game pass
The Xbox Game Pass brought Microsoft back on track. (Image credit: Microsoft)

The idea behind it is as simple as it is ingenious: If you buy a version of an Xbox game that supports Smart Delivery, you automatically always get the best possible version - regardless of the hardware. This means that if you buy for example Halo Infinite or Assassin's Creed: Valhalla for Xbox One, you will automatically get the version for Xbox Series X.

If you don't plan to change direction with the release on the new console generation, you can continue to play comfortably on the current hardware and then later get the improved version for the new console without additional costs. Thanks to cross-progression, the game progress will also be saved. Isn't that great? It's no wonder that fans want this feature on PlayStation 5 too but Sony hasn't announced anything like that so far.

Which games support Smart Delivery?

According to Microsoft, the decision on whether a game supports Smart Delivery lies with the developer responsible for it. Microsoft has already confirmed that all exclusive titles from Xbox Games Studios will support the feature.

Smart Delivery has already been confirmed for the following games:

  • Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
  • Call of the Sea
  • Chorus
  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Halo Infinite
  • Hellblade 2
  • Dirt 5
  • Scarlet Nexus
  • Second Extinction
  • The Ascent
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon

But isn't that the same as backward compatibility?

No! Suppose you buy Assassin's Creed: Valhalla for Xbox One. Thanks to backward compatibility, the game is also playable on Xbox Series X, with some technical improvements.

Smart Delivery, on the other hand, ensures that you get the version that gets the most out of a game on the new console. It's like buying Valhalla in the next-gen version, except that thanks to Microsoft you won't be asked to pay a second time.

Backward compatibility is also available

In addition, the Xbox Series X is fully backward compatible with Xbox One. All games of the current generation can, therefore, be played on the new hardware without any problems. All Xbox and Xbox 360 games that have been adapted for the Xbox One in recent years, can still be used on the new console. The first point definitely goes to Microsoft.

Is Smart Delivery a gamechanger for Microsoft and the Xbox Series X? How will Sony respond in the future?

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