Xbox Smart Delivery system explained: How it works and upcoming titles listed

Every game we know offering generational upgrades explained.

Xbox Smart Delivery is a Microsoft-led initiative launching alongside the Xbox Series X in 2020.

With Xbox continuing to support multiple devices as it enters a new generation of consoles, the Smart Delivery system is designed to assure owners the games they own will follow along with them - and will run the best they can.

There has only been a small selection of Smart Delivery games confirmed by Microsoft so far, though you can expect more to be announced around the launch of the system.

On this page:

We know several other things about Microsoft's new console - including Xbox Series X specs, the Xbox Series X controller details and the Xbox Series X console design.

What is Xbox Smart Delivery and how does the Smart Delivery system work?

To quote Microsoft, Smart Delivery allows you to "play the best version of the games you own for your console, across generations".

What this means is - whether you own an Xbox One, Xbox One X or Xbox Series X, if it's Smart Delivery supported, the same game will work across all three - and will have a version specific to that console to run at its best.

For example, if you own a version of a Smart Delivery game on Xbox One, when you buy an Xbox Series X, it'll come with console-specific improvements at no extra cost.

Furthermore, you don't have to do anything for Smart Delivery to work - the console will figure out which version you need and install it automatically.

This is similar, but ultimately different, to standard Xbox backwards compatibility. Though Microsoft is aiming to support every Xbox One game on Xbox Series X, with every game benefiting from the improved hardware (from potentially higher framerates and resolutions to faster load times) Smart Delivery titles will have versions specific to each platform, making the most out of that hardware.

xbox_series_x_games_halo_infinite_9
Halo Infinite is one of several confirmed Xbox Smart Delivery games.

Xbox Smart Delivery physical support and other things you should know about the system

As well as the above explainer, here are other things to know about how Xbox Smart Delivery works:

xbox_smart_delivery_box_art
Some games, such as Far Cry 6, will confirm Xbox Smart Delivery support on the box.
  • Xbox Smart Delivery works across both digital and physical versions of supported games. For a physical version, in some (if not likely all) cases you'll need an internet connection to download the console-specific version when you insert the disc, especially since some Smart Delivery titles (such as Gears 5 and Destiny 2) are available ahead of Xbox Series X launch.
  • For newer Smart Delivery titles, it should confirm support on the box art, showing it'll work across multiple Xbox consoles.
  • Whether you are getting a physical or digital Xbox Smart Delivery game, only the version for that platform you are playing on will be downloaded, saving on hard drive space.
  • Game saves and Achievements will carry over between platforms, so you can continue your progress right where you left off. (Gears 5, a game released in late 2019, was mentioned as an example of a game you can play now and receive Day 1 Xbox Series X improvements through Smart Delivery.)
  • Select games on Xbox Game Pass will also support Smart Delivery - you don't need to purchase the game separately for the system to work.
  • Smart Delivery works 'backwards', too - if you buy a game on Xbox Series X that's Smart Delivery supported and still own an Xbox One (to use, say, in a spare room), you'll be able to play that game there with a version specific to that console.
  • While those improvements are entirely dependant on the developer and will differ from game-to-game, all near future first-party Xbox Game Studios titles coming to both Xbox One and Xbox Series X, such as Halo Infinite, will also be "optimised" for the next gen console.
xbox_series_x_games_list_1
  • Xbox Smart Delivery game upgrades will be free, and it's reported Microsoft is discouraging developers from charging from cross-gen upgrades through Smart Delivery or other means, according to VGC - so even if a game doesn't opt for Smart Delivery specifically, it's likely you won't be charged for any next-gen upgrades if an Xbox Series X version is also available.

Confirmed Xbox Smart Delivery titles at a glance

Here is, in brief, a list of confirmed Xbox Smart Delivery games:

  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Gears Tactics
  • Sea of Thieves
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • Tell Me Why
  • The Outer Worlds
  • Grounded
  • Far Cry 6
  • Watch Dogs: Legion
  • Marvel's Avengers
  • Halo Infinite
  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Assassin's Creed Valhalla
  • Destiny 2
  • DiRT 5
  • Scarlet Nexus
  • Chorus
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon
  • The Ascent
  • Call of the Sea
  • Gears 5
  • Second Extinction
  • Metal: Hellslinger

Interested in learning more about Microsoft's next console? Learn everything you need to know - from confirmed Xbox Series X specs and features and the console design, size, dimensions and ports and controller, through to Xbox Series X games, including those which support Xbox Smart Delivery. The Xbox Series X will also support the ongoing library of Xbox Game Pass games.


Xbox Smart Delivery titles in detail, from dates to trailers

Here is more detailed view of every confirmed Xbox Smart Delivery game so far:

Forza Horizon 4 - The Xbox Series X optimised version launches 2020, complete with 4K and 60 frames per second performance and improved load times. Here's a look at the PC tech by Digital Foundry as a taste of what might be possible:

Gears Tactics - Coming to console after a launch on PC in mid-2020, this features 4K and 60 frames per second performance. Here's a look at the PC tech by Digital Foundry as a taste of what might be possible:

Sea of Thieves - Launching holiday 2020, Rare's multiplayer pirate adventure will take advantage of Xbox Series X hardware. Here's a look at the PC tech by Digital Foundry as a taste of what might be possible:

Ori and the Will of the Wisps - This will boast 4K visuals and a 120 frame rate on Xbox Series X when it launches in late 2020:

Tell Me Why - Life is Strange studio Dontnod's Xbox and PC exclusive episodic adventure series - which debuts on August 27th, followed by Chapters on September 3rd and September 10th - will have Xbox Series X enhancements.

Outer Worlds - The 2019 Obsidian Entertainment role-playing game, due to receive its first story expansion Peril on Gorgon in September, will also receive Xbox Series X enhancements:

Grounded - From first-party studio Obsidian Entertainment comes a multiplayer adventure debuting in Xbox Game preview on July 28th, and will be later optimised for Xbox Series X:

Far Cry 6 - Coming to current, next-gen consoles and PC on February 18th, 2021, this open-world sequel features Breaking Bad and The Mandalorian's Giancarlo Esposito as its antagonist Anton Castillo, a brutal dictator who rules over the game's Cuban-influenced setting.

Watch Dogs: Legion - Launching first on current-gen consoles and PC on October 29th, there will be a next-gen version when new consoles arrive.

Marvel's Avengers - Following the release of the Square Enix adventure on PS4 and Xbox One on September 4th, there will be a free next-gen upgrade, which includes the transfer of game progress and same-generation crossplay. There will also be a number of performance improvements, including "extremely fast load times, boosted resolution and fidelity, improved texturing and armour destruction, ray tracing, and more", according to Square Enix.

Halo Infinite was announced alongside (what was then called) Project Scarlett during E3 2019, offering up a cutscene-heavy trailer. There a few other details aside from it being a "spiritual reboot" - but it will be a cross-generation title, launching also on PC and Xbox One, and will be available in 2020.

Cyberpunk 2077 - Due out in November, there will be a patch at launch with light next gen improvements, followed by a more substantial one later to make better use of the enhanced hardware. For Xbox One owners, an Xbox Series X version for free "when available" as part of the same purchase.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla - The latest entry in Ubisoft's long-running series, which is teased to reshape the series' brand of RPG storytelling. This is also another non-Microsoft 'Smart Delivery' game, giving you a Series X version with an Xbox One version purchase.

Destiny 2 - The free-to-play shooter from Bungie will support 60FPS and 4K when it releases on next-gen consoles. Purchases from the Xbox One version will carry over to the Xbox Series X version for free, and it'll be possible to play with Xbox One players with intergenerational crossplay. No date for the Xbox Series X version has been set. Until then, the new expansion, Beyond Light, launches in November:

Dirt 5 - the latest in the long-running rally driving series from Codemasters, and will have Smart Delivery support with the Xbox One version , and up to 120FPS support on Xbox Series X:

Scarlet Nexus - A Japanese action game developed by Bandai Namco, with Smart Delivery support with the Xbox One version:

Chorus - A story driven, single-player space shooter published by Deep Silver. With Smart Delivery with the Xbox One version and ray tracing support on Xbox Series X, it's dated for 2021:

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 is a sequel to a fan-favourite published by Paradox. It offers Smart Delivery support with the Xbox One version:

Yakuza - Like a Dragon - This is an Xbox Series X launch title, also coming to Xbox One and Windows 10 with Smart Delivery support.

The Ascent - This co-op supported shooter from Curve Digital will have Smart Delivery support with the Xbox One version:

Call of the Sea - A first-person adventure mystery published by Raw Fury, this is coming to Xbox One with Smart Delivery support in 2020, and will be available on Xbox Game Pass.

Gears 5 will have a number of Xbox Series X upgrades available on the system's launch, available free as part of Microsoft's Smart Delivery initiative. "The developers worked with Epic Games in getting UE4 operating on Series X, then simply upped all of the internal quality presets to the equivalent of PC's ultra, adding improved contact shadows and UE4's brand-new (software-based) ray traced screen-space global illumination," wrote Digital Foundry in a report on the upgrade.

Second Extinction - A three-player co-op shooter in a world overrun by mutated dinosaurs, offering Smart Delivery support with the Xbox One version:

Metal: Hellsinger - Developers by The Outsiders (the studio co-founded by former Battlefield 3 lead designer and Payday 2 director David Goldfarb), Metal: Hellsinger is a rhythm FPS that's coming to PC, Xbox One, PS4, and next-gen consoles in 2021.

It's very likely more Xbox Smart Delivery games will be announced in the coming weeks and months, including those from first-party studios.

Until then, you can read our list of all confirmed Xbox Series X games, as well as Xbox Series X specs, Xbox SSD storage, the Xbox Series X console design and the Xbox Series X controller.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

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About the author

Matthew Reynolds

Matthew Reynolds

Guides Editor

Matthew edits guides and other helpful things at Eurogamer.net. When not doing that, he's out and about playing Pokémon Go or continuing to amass his amiibo collection.

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