The Xbox Series X Smart Delivery feature is the kind of thing that sounds so obvious that every new console should have it. It also is one of the best Xbox Series X features that Sony's upcoming PS5 doesn't seem to have a complete answer for. And with each month, we learn about a new Smart Delivery game, as Ubisoft Forward revealed Watch Dogs: Legion will support the game.
It aims to solve an ever-frustrating problem in which previous-generation games get left behind once you upgrade to a new console. Instead, Smart Delivery lets you buy select Xbox One titles and automatically enjoy enhanced versions of those games for free once you make the leap to Series X.
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Xbox Series X Smart Delivery also reinforces the idea that this upcoming console is more like a PC than any before it. PC gamers have bought dozens, if not hundreds, of games in their lives, and those games have carried over across machines for decades.
Here's everything we know about Xbox Series X Smart Delivery:
Xbox Series X Smart Delivery explained
Xbox Series X Smart Delivery takes the idea of backwards compatibility and supercharges it. In Microsoft's own words: "if you purchase the Xbox One version of a supported title," and "decide to jump into the next generation with Xbox Series X, we will automatically provide the Xbox Series X version of the game at no additional cost when it becomes available."
Some games delivered via Xbox Series X Smart Delivery will be optimized for the next-gen console, and so you can buy the game on the Xbox One or Xbox One X (or play it via Game Pass) and expect possible upgrades that take advantage of the increased performance in the Xbox Series X.
Your progress and status in the game can be transferred across consoles as well, so there's no need to worry about replaying the levels you already completed. No matter which Xbox you decide to play on, on a given day, you'll still pick up at the same point in the game. And you can expect the game to make the most of that system's capabilities.
Of course, because the world of video games is spread across countless companies, Xbox Smart Delivery isn't exactly that simple. While Microsoft is doing the work to support this gamers-first shopping experience, it's up to developers to take advantage of it. Microsoft's said the Smart Delivery "technology is available for all developers," meaning the makers of your favorite games will have to agree to this for it to be added to those games.
Fortunately, the company has already committed to making all Xbox Game Studios titles compatible with Smart Delivery, and several major third-party players are already on board.
Xbox Series X Smart Delivery games list
The following is Microsoft's official list of Optimized for Xbox Series X games that will support Smart Delivery. So with each of these games, you don't need to wait for the Xbox Series X to dive in. You can start playing now on your Xbox One, and enjoy an upgraded version for free once you upgrade to Microsoft's new console.
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
- Call of the Sea
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Destiny 2
- DiRT 5
- Gears 5
- Halo Infinite
- Metal: Hellslinger
- Scarlet Nexus
- Second Extinction
- The Ascent
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
- Watch Dogs: Legion
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Xbox Series X Smart Delivery physical game support
Oh, and you don't even need to buy a digital copy of a game to get the Xbox Series X Smart Delivery perks. This is huge for folks who either want to own physical media or still get games gifted to them by friends and family. Microsoft hasn't fully explained how Smart Delivery will work for physical games, but it will likely go through one of two ways.
If you pick up a Smart Delivery physical game, it may come with a code that you can enter for your Series X. Or, once you play a game on your Xbox, that game could get "attached" to your account for future Smart Delivery to the Xbox Series X and whatever systems come next.
This model plays off the excellent Movies Anywhere model, where movies from multiple major studios (Disney, Fox, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros) can be purchased either digitally or on Blu-ray, and be available on all of the different streaming platforms (Apple TV, Prime Video, Vudu/Walmart, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, Xfinity and FandangoNow). When you buy one of those movies digitally, it gets added to your Movies Anywhere account, and with Blu-rays, you get a text-based code to enter at the Movies Anywhere website to add it to your profile.
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Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.