EA's Madden 21 shuns Xbox Series X Smart Delivery upgrade, opting for limited-time offer

Madden NFL 21
Madden NFL 21 (Image credit: EA)

Electronic Arts has unveiled Madden NFL 21, the next entry in its leading football series, and among the latest titles committed to Xbox Series X support. Taking to Microsoft's Xbox Series X gameplay showcase, a brief trailer provides a tease of graphical advancements to come, with further details slated for its EA PLAY event, on track for June 11.

Madden NFL 21 also commits a free upgrade from Xbox One to Xbox Series X, aiming to ease the generational shift between consoles by eliminating the need to purchase the game twice.

It's a common gesture across the early Xbox Series X catalog, with Microsoft's "Smart Delivery" initiative providing a standardized system for hassle-free upgrades on Xbox Series X. It's built into Xbox Series X, automatically serving the best available version, whether using discs or digital downloads. Over one dozen Xbox Series X titles have already committed to Xbox Smart Delivery, with Cyberpunk 2077, Halo Infinite, and Assassin's Creed Valhalla among early supporters.

Xbox Series X Controller Hero

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

While Madden NFL 21 commits to free Xbox Series X upgrades, Electronic Arts never explicitly named Smart Delivery support. It appears the publisher distances itself from Microsoft's own program, instead opting for a limited-time upgrade offer, valid until March 31, 2021.

"To receive the offer, players must purchase Madden NFL 21 on Xbox One by December 31, 2020 and upgrade to Xbox Series X by March 31, 2021," the EA site reads. With Microsoft committed to holiday availability for Xbox Series X, Electronic Arts seemingly provides players with just a few months to buy the new console and secure the free next-generation upgrade.

The move spotlights Electronic Arts as the first publisher to break away from Microsoft's own Smart Delivery upgrade program, instead favoring a more restrictive, limited-time solution. With Electronic Arts currently averse to Smart Delivery, it's unlikely this is the only upcoming title from the publisher offering its own upgrade path.

Xbox Series X/S


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.

  • So EA decides to continue being EA?
  • I didn't expect to be disappointed by them once again. Why, I don't know.
  • Ea always finding a way to stub thier own feet how disappointing yet again.
  • Just boycott EA games for a few months until they see the light. The consumer actually holds the cards when it comes to things like that.
  • Will they crumble under the pressure? Other big Publishers like Ubisoft, Bethesda are doing smart delivery. Surely EA has to roll over. If they don't, I simply won't buy their games. I haven't played an EA game for awhile actually. Moved over to PES and NBA 2k series. Both was a great choice to do.
  • "Pay xsx money by this time or pay for the same game twice. Your choice " - EA
  • It's kinda irrelevant to me anyway as I have EA Access, I really hope that carries over to the Series X.