Xbox Series X ControllerSource: Microsoft

Microsoft continues to drop new Xbox Series X details, providing further insight into its next-generation hardware, alongside the games headed to the system. The latest in AMD architectures helps bring sizeable performance boosts to gameplay, while a new solid-state storage setup promises drastic cuts to load times. It also couples that power with a new feature dubbed "Smart Delivery," which aims to streamline the shift into the next generation.

The philosophy of Smart Deliver is simple: buy your Xbox games once for versions of Xbox One and Xbox Series X. With platform holders blurring the lines into the next hardware milestone, one license provides access on current devices, with a free upgrade Xbox Series X versions.

Xbox Series X Smart Delivery: Everything we know (so far)

Halo Infinite Master Chief Microsoft launches Xbox Series X alongside Halo Infinite, with confirmed Smart Delivery support.Source: Microsoft

While next-generation consoles traditionally result in harsh splits from former hardware, both Microsoft and Sony are taking a reworked approach into 2020. The Xbox Series X further advocates cross-generation features, spearheaded by backward compatibility and an accompanying new technology dubbed "Smart Delivery."

Microsoft positions Smart Delivery as a solution to help players receive the best available versions of games, scaling from Xbox One to Xbox Series X. Titles that support Smart Delivery will provide free graphical upgrades on Xbox Series X, without the requirement to buy a new version of the game. For example, that means if you buy Halo Infinite for Xbox One at launch, an upgraded Xbox Series X version awaits for the upcoming Xbox flagship at no additional cost.

The one-time purchase eliminates the need to buy multiple versions of games across generations, as formerly seen with Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Microsoft will provide the option of Smart Delivery to all developers and publishers, although games aren't mandated to support the feature. But as the next Xbox console approaches, consumers can take comfort in knowing some games will automatically remain at the forefront when you decide to upgrade.

Buy games once, and play them on Xbox One AND Xbox Series X.

It also remains unclear how the Xbox One and Xbox Series X will implement Smart Delivery. With Xbox increasingly favoring digital game distribution, Microsoft hasn't clarified whether both digital and physical discs will support the feature — or whether it'll be tied to a digital account license.

Smart Delivery expands on Microsoft's current Xbox One X philosophy, which saw some past titles upgraded with free visual enhancements. The 4K assets were automatically downloaded when an Xbox One X was detected, ensuring the best experience on the console. Smart Delivery brings the concept to a broader spectrum of devices, easing the transition for supported titles.

List of Xbox Smart Delivery games so far

Cyberpunk 2077 CD PROJEKT RED, the minds behind Cyberpunk 2077, were among the first to pledge support for Xbox Smart Delivery.Source: CD PROJEKT RED

Smart Delivery is offered to developers as an optional addition to Xbox Series X titles, meaning not all will support the feature. Microsoft already pledged support for the upcoming Xbox Game Studios titles spanning Xbox One and Xbox Series X, including Halo Infinite and Gears 5. Upcoming Microsoft titles like Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 and Everwild may also support Smart Delivery if launched as cross-generation titles. Various third-party developers have also pledged support, boosted by the recent Xbox Series X games showcase in May.

We wrapped up the confirmed list of Xbox Series X Smart Delivery games so far below.

Various major third-party publishers such as Ubisoft have also committed to free next-generation upgrades throughout additional titles, although with further details still to come. Expect new Smart Delivery games to be announced during the months ahead, as Microsoft targets its holiday 2020 launch window for Xbox Series X.

What do Smart Delivery upgrades bring to Xbox Series X?

Destiny 2 Destiny 2 developer, Bungie, has committed to Smart Delivery, including a 60 FPS upgrade on Xbox Series X.Source: Activision

Xbox One titles that support Smart Delivery will also be "Xbox Series X Optimized," flaunting Microsoft's tagline denoting games designed to leverage the console's hardware. These titles will pack bespoke upgrades when running on the next-generation console, with potential gains in visual fidelity and gameplay performance.

Xbox Series X upgrades can include 4K resolution, 120 FPS, and ray tracing.

While the possible changes for Xbox Series X are endless, the current lineup appears to focus on several fields on interest. Native 4K resolution will become increasingly common, following several titles on Xbox One X that fell below, or utilized visual trickery to achieve, the baseline. Some Xbox Series X releases have also committed to embracing 120Hz support, with improved framerates boosting fluidity.

The Xbox Series X library also features other possible enhancements, including improved textures, high dynamic range (HDR) support, and ray tracing for more accurate lighting and shadows. The onboard solid-state drive (SSD) is also a secret weapon, slicing load times and improving asset streaming for more complex worlds.

However, Xbox Series X benefits will differ between upcoming games. For the latest on specific Xbox Series X upgrades, don't miss our list of Xbox Series X Optimized games with their confirmed resolutions and framerates.

How does Xbox Smart Delivery work?

Microsoft hasn't provided firm details on how Smart Delivery will exactly function, with Xbox Series X yet to hit the market. However, the promise of convenience suggests a smooth implementation, with a single disc or digital license automatically unlocking the correct version of the game, based on your console.

After purchasing an Xbox One title with Smart Delivery like Halo Infinite, players will presumably be able to download the game on Xbox Series X for free, or insert their disc, accessing the Xbox Series X version. The system also works in reverse, if you use an Xbox Series X, and head back to Xbox One.

Does Xbox Smart Delivery support physical discs and digital?

Marvel's Avengers Marvel's Avengers hits Xbox Series X on launch day, coupled with Smart Delivery upgrades.Source: Square Enix

Yes, Microsoft grants Smart Delivery to all versions of supported Xbox One and Xbox Series X games. Past cross-platform initiatives like Xbox Play Anywhere were restricted to virtual licenses, but Smart Delivery benefits translate between physical disc-based games and digital downloads.

While Microsoft (and rivals in the space) continue to push toward the convenience of online distribution, the Xbox Series X hasn't embraced an exclusively all-digital future. The Xbox Series X ships with a 4K Blu-ray disc drive, even if rumors suggest a disc-less variant is also in the works. While digital titles will witness a seamless upgrade via Xbox Live, disc-based copies will automatically adapt once inserted into the console.

Does Xbox Smart Delivery also transfer game saves?

Titles that utilize Xbox Smart Delivery will also feature cross-generation saves, ensuring your progression moves between consoles via cloud storage. That allows Xbox One owners to start adventures on the existing console family, picking up where they left off with Xbox Series X.

While Xbox Smart Delivery helps enable multiple versions of games, they're still the same fundamental experience. Your game saves and earned Xbox Achievements will transcend generations, both forward and back, with a graphical boost to pair.

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