Microsoft has allegedly told video game developers not to charge players for upgrading current-gen games to next-gen versions.
The move appears to be aimed at propelling Microsoft’s Smart Delivery system for the Xbox Series X, which will grant players free next-gen upgrades, according to a report from Video Games Chronicle.
The report also alleges that Microsoft is leaving the door open for publishers and developers to employ other mechanisms, such as Electronic Arts (EA)’s Dual Entitlement scheme, to give upgrades.
In a statement to Video Games Chronicle, a Microsoft spokesperson said that “developers and publishers ultimately decide how they deliver their games, and we work with them to provide the best possible experience based on their needs”.
Aside from free digital upgrades from Smart Delivery and Dual Entitlement, the report also notes that developers have the option to sell a next-gen version at a discount instead on the Microsoft Store, or offering “cross-gen bundles” that include two versions of the game. It also noted that Microsoft told developers next-gen upgrades cannot be sold as DLC packs.
NBA 2K21’s Kobe Bryant edition has adopted the bundle scheme, and will sell both versions for USD$100. The regular edition will cost $60 on current-gen and $70 on next-gen – which may become the new norm.
“If you pick up Xbox Series X for your living room, Smart Delivery will recognise that and deliver you the Optimized version there,” explained Microsoft last month. “If you decide to move your existing Xbox One to a bedroom or the office, Smart Delivery will recognise that too and deliver that version when you’re playing on Xbox One.”