New consoles from Sony and Microsoft are just around the corner and most of us here are very excited for the same. But many of us also own current-gen consoles and it’s always a question of how the transition takes place. Obviously these consoles will get games for the foreseeable future but it’s more or less implied that most titles will have enhanced versions for the newer consoles.
Pertaining to this, Microsoft has come out and announced a smart delivery system. Essentially what it does is make sure games automatically have the right version downloaded for the given console, across generations. Xbox now has multiple consoles in the last generation with the new Series X incoming, so what you essentially have is multiple tiers of performance. Smart Delivery also seems to be Xbox’s message to the community that games will be optimized for best performance for their respective consoles and won’t be held back for the sake of uniformity.
Below are a few different scenarios in which Smart Delivery will work across generations with the games and consoles you own now and those you may own in the future. Smart Delivery will ensure that only the best version of the game will be installed on your hard drive, so you don’t have to manage your storage space:
- If you own Gears 5 or are loving it via Xbox Game Pass now, you can play it today on Xbox One. Then, if you pick up an Xbox Series X this holiday, all it takes is a push of a button to download it and you’ll have the Optimized version of Gears 5 – available on day 1 at launch with the console – at your fingertips.
- When Halo Infinite launches alongside Xbox Series X and Xbox One this holiday, you only have to buy the game once and you’ll get the best version for whichever console you own, or both. If you pick up Xbox Series X for your living room, Smart Delivery will recognize that and deliver you the Optimized version there. If you decide to move your existing Xbox One to a bedroom or the office, Smart Delivery will recognize that too and deliver that version when you’re playing on Xbox One.
- Lastly, some new and existing Xbox One titles will be Optimizing their games after the Xbox Series X launches. 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.
– Will Tuttle, Xbox Wire
But Don’t we Have That Already?
Well yes, both the Xbox One and the Xbox One X get different versions in many games, most of them are termed “enhanced” for the One X, and even the downloads for the respective versions are automated.
The announcement mostly seems to indicate that the current Xbox consoles are here to stay and will be supported for the foreseeable future.
For more context here, the upcoming Xbox Series X is going to be a big leap in terms of power, but that will come at a price and in all probability a hefty one. Many players might not want to take that plunge and that’s fine because mid-gen refreshes like the Xbox One X and the PS4 Pro exist, that a lot of people already own. This gives these companies incentive to keep supporting the older consoles while also bringing enhanced versions for the newer ones.
Microsoft (Even Sony for that matter) makes little money from the actual console sale, most of it comes from the live services they offer like Xbox Gold and the Xbox Games Pass. This again makes the current Xbox consoles very critical to the ecosystem.
The endpoint being mid gen console refreshes might play a pivotal role in the upcoming generation as well, as it gives people a lower bar of entry. The Xbox One X puts out six teraflops of GPU performance and that’s good enough to keep it going for a few years, even a rumored cheaper Xbox codenamed Lockhart is set to release in the coming future and it will apparently be very close to the One X in performance.
Also Smart Delivery addresses how published titles won’t have different copies, one that might be meant for older consoles and one for the newer ones. Players can just buy the game for Xbox and play it on any of the consoles (not including 360). This also makes upgrading easy as your library can easily transfer. This was a nuance with the Xbox 360/PS3 era, glad it’s addressed now.