What is more annoying than a new gaming console that is not backward compatible? A game company that takes advantage of that to sell you a game that you already bought so you can play it on that console. It is something that we have somewhat gotten used to, but it may be changing if Microsoft’s Smart Delivery takes hold.
CD Projekt Red announced via Twitter that it has an Xbox Series X upgrade of Cyberpunk 2077 in the works. It also said that when it’s ready, gamers who already purchased the title for Xbox One will get it for free. “Gamers should never be forced to purchase the same game twice or pay for upgrades,” the developer said. “Owners of Cyberpunk 2077 will receive the Xbox Series X upgrade for free when it is available.”
The studio took a cue from Microsoft touting its “Smart Delivery” coming with the Series X.
Smart Delivery is a feature that lets players play the best version of any game no matter what system they are using. So if you bought Gears 5 for Xbox One, you would be able to play an upgraded version on Series X.
The one caveat to this is the title has to be an in-house Xbox Game Studios title. Third-party developers are not required to make upgraded versions of their games nor give them away for free. CD Projekt Red is the first outside studio that has said that it is on board with the idea.
Other developers tend to milk their franchises for every penny by remaking them for newer hardware and selling them at full price (looking at you, Bethesda).
It’s an annoying trend that has had me rebuying games on multiple occasions. It would be nice if third-party developers got on board with Microsoft’s Smart Delivery idea. It would also be nice if other console makers like Sony and Nintendo took up the cause, too, but don’t hold your breath.
While Sony has confirmed the PS5 will be backwards compatible, it hasn’t promised to tweak past titles to run better on the new hardware. Call me a cynic, but there is just too much money to be made in reselling the same, slightly tweaked product for companies to latch on to the idea en masse. However, it is a new generation of console wars, so we’ll have to see how this plays out.