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FIFA 21 to offer free Xbox Series X upgrade in lieu of Smart Delivery

FIFA 21
FIFA 21 (Image credit: Electronic Arts)

What you need to know

  • FIFA 21 is headed to Xbox One and PlayStation 4, with free upgrades to Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 to follow.
  • As previously unveiled for Madden NFL 21, the publisher will serve free upgrades through its limited-time "dual entitlement" promotion, over Microsoft's own Smart Delivery initiative.

Electronic Arts has unveiled FIFA 21, the latest annual installment of its leading soccer series, scheduled for release this October. The game accompanies Madden NFL 21 as the publisher's early sports titles headed to the next-generation, with various enhancements planned for Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. The reveal stressed reduced load times, a new deferred lighting system, and heightened visual fidelity among fundamental advancements in the pipeline.

FIFA 21 also joins Madden NFL 21 in delivering a free next-generation upgrade, moving from Xbox One to Xbox Series X, or PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5. The promotion comes packaged as "dual entitlement," with players manually claiming their free upgrade upon the release of next-generation hardware.

FIFA 21 buyers looking to play upon release will welcome the initiative, securing superior versions once next-gen consoles hit store shelves this holiday.

Xbox Series X Controller Hero

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

But Electronic Arts has also previously received backlash for its next-generation approach, distanced from Microsoft's standardized "Xbox Smart Delivery" system. Titles like Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Cyberpunk 2077, and Destiny 2 have committed to this integrated practice, automatically providing the best available version of games for your console. That contrasts Electronic Arts' limited-time offer, which recently extended to the release of FIFA 22 or Madden NFL 22. Sony hasn't announced a program similar to Smart Delivery at this time.

Electronic Arts is currently the only publisher to announce an upgrade alternative to Xbox Smart Delivery, but likely not the last. It previously expanded on the creation of its dual entitlement program, and in the case of Madden, it sees the two generations as wholly separate experiences. But its proposed system undeniably has the potential to confuse consumers during that transition.

The upgrade will still be welcomed for any budget-weary buyer, ensuring a lasting purchase — if you can upgrade during the early months of the console. With that, Electronic Arts also pledges cross-generation progression, provided you stay within the respective Xbox and PlayStation families.

Xbox Series X/S

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Matt Brown is Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.

6 Comments
  • Is smart delivery working only for digital titles or for physical copies as well?
  • Works for both physical and digital titles! We have a full explainer available right here: https://www.windowscentral.com/xbox-series-x-smart-delivery
  • Smart delivery is an odd title. I get that it only installs the bits you need, and for that the name makes sense. But for its other proposition, ie buy once play anywhere, I think it does not fit at all. Incidentally, Sony will likely also have to do this too. Can you imagine the backlash if it doesn't?
  • They better allow an option to play in an emty stadium
  • I think sonys issue will be that games are exclusive to the ps5. All xbox games coming out will be on the one, one x and one sx
  • I wonder if Sony will allow this as well. I haven't read anything on it yet.