Xbox Series X Smart Delivery Could Revolutionize Buying Games

Not only can Xbox users buy a game once and play on both Xbox One and Series X, they'll be optimized for each platform with Smart Delivery.

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Regardless of platform preference, you have to recognize the strides Microsoft has made with consumer-friendly approaches to the Xbox platform. Alongside things like Xbox Game Pass and the vast library of enhanced backward compatible games, Xbox Series X will introduce Smart Delivery--you buy an Xbox game once and it'll work across the two different console generations. (Check out our full list of Xbox Series X Smart Delivery games.) Smart Delivery was revealed last month, but in talking with Xbox's director of program management Jason Ronald, we have more detail on how it works and how games will be tuned for specific console hardware specs.

Ronald explained to us, "Smart Delivery is a new technology introduced with Xbox Series X that will ensure that players are always playing the best version of the games on whatever console they're choosing to play them on." He then gave examples of how this plays out in practice, saying, "If I bought a game for Xbox One X and the developer has gone back and chose to optimize it for Xbox Series X, and if it's a Smart Delivery title, as soon as I download and boot that title on an Xbox Series X, I will get the version that's been optimized for that console."

The key thing to remember there is that games need to have Smart Delivery implemented, and as we understand, it's up to developers and/or publishers to adopt the program. It's looking promising though as we know major third-party games such as Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Dirt 5, Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2, and Chorus will feature Smart Delivery. Ronald also reiterated that every single first-party Xbox Game Studios title out and currently in the works will have Smart Delivery, playable and tuned for the Series X and any of the Xbox One consoles.

To explain what it means to have optimized versions of the same game for specific hardware, Ronald gave a scenario. "If I have another console in my house and maybe go to my friend's house, let's say they have an Xbox One S, then when you go ahead and install the game on that console, it will install the optimized version for the Xbox One S, making sure that you're getting the best experience for that device."

It may not come as a surprise considering what developers have done for games with One S and One X. In a similar fashion, Series X versions will have the top-end graphical features and performance optimizations, as developers see fit. As Ronald puts it, "At the platform level, this enables us to make game ownership across generations easy and simple for Xbox gamers."

Smart Delivery also applies to physical copies of games that utilize the feature--developers choose to include Xbox One and Series X versions on the disc in certain cases while other cases may require an additional download.

For more on Microsoft's upcoming next-gen console, check out our stories on how the Xbox Series X's SSD will make for a game-changing experience or what you can expect in next-gen graphics. We also have details on the first batch of next-gen games like Chorus, The Medium, and Assassin's Creed Valhalla.

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