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Madden 21 Shows That Cross-Gen Gaming on Xbox Series X and PS5 Could be Messy


EA’s upcoming Madden NFL 21 is coming to the Xbox Series X, and owners of the game for the current-gen Xbox One will be able to upgrade to the Series X version for free, the company announced today at Microsoft’s gameplay reveal showcase. But there’s a catch: instead of using Microsoft’s Smart Delivery program to offer the free upgrade, EA will be running its own — far more limited — upgrade offer. Last week, things seemed like they were looking great for cross-generation gaming. Ubisoft had just become the largest third-party developer to announce support of the feature with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (in stark contrast to the last console generation transition). And Microsoft’s event was full of other developers supporting Smart Delivery. But now, EA’s decision has muddied the waters and possibly set a precedent for other major developers to decide not to support the feature.

At its core, EA’s deal has the same goal as Microsoft’s Smart Delivery program: to make sure that players don’t have to buy two copies of a game for the two separate consoles. But EA is adding a host of extra restrictions for its offer. Players must purchase Madden NFL 21 on Xbox One by December 31st, 2020 to be eligible to get a Series X upgrade, and they’ll only have until March 31st, 2021 to be able to upgrade their copy. Read More...