Microsoft has reportedly advised third-party publishers to offer free Xbox Series X upgrades for their games.
According to VGC, Microsoft doesn’t want publishers selling Xbox Series X upgrades as DLC, and instead encouraged them to allow players to get next-gen copies of their games for free.
Publishers and developers ultimately have the final say in this, but Microsoft is offering Smart Delivery support to any game that would take it. The platform holder is not mandating Smart Delivery, however, so publishers are still free to offer their own programmes, such as EA does with FIFA 21 and Madden 21.
Another option developers have is to offer Xbox Series X upgrades at a discount. Microsoft is allowing publishers to sell bundles that include copies for both generations, such as in the case of NBA 2K21, which offers a $100 edition that includes two copies, one for each generation of Xbox.
Microsoft is reportedly not allowing games to support Smart Delivery after launch, either. The feature needs to be implemented before either version has shipped.
The report also explains that games which support Smart Delivery are essentially treated as a single SKU within the Xbox ecosystem, whereas games that do not have separate SKUs for each generation. This matters in things like cross-generation saves and achievement compatibility, something guaranteed to transfer with Smart Delivery.