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Report: Xbox ‘encouraging’ publishers to keep cross-gen game upgrades free

Third-party games aren’t required to participate in Xbox’s Smart Delivery cross-buy program to bridge the current and next-gen gap, but the console maker is reportedly urging publishers that embark on their own cross-generation promotions to offer those upgrades free of charge.

Sources on the publishing side of things shared as much with VGC, noting that Xbox is reportedly asking publishers with cross-gen games in the mix not to charge players to upgrade the Xbox One version to the Xbox Series X version. 

On top of that, those sources say that Microsoft is urging those that don’t participate in its own Smart Delivery program to offer their own cross-buy promotions, similar to what EA already has in the works with a limited-time “dual entitlement” to allow cross-generational upgrades for some digital games.

It’s a messy space to navigate on both sides of the fence given that a number of triple-A heavy-hitters are expected to arrive on both current and next-gen platforms later this year. Systems like Xbox’s Smart Delivery option aim to offset some of the uncertainty its players may have when buying new Xbox One games only months before a new console launches, but even then unknown factors like various third-party cross-buy policies or even the yet-unannounced launch dates for new consoles leave a lot of room for confusion.