The Xbox Series X's Smart Delivery feature is an unqualified victory for gamers. But how will it affect industry developers?
Ports serve a vital role in every console generation. They allow publishers to strengthen game libraries and generate income without developing brand-new games. That won’t change when the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 launch later this year.
According to Microsoft, Xbox’s new Smart Delivery feature might make ports more accessible than ever before. This feature will allow gamers to play both the Xbox One and enhanced Xbox Series X versions of any compatible titles they buy.
But what exactly is this new feature going to do to the porting ecosystem?
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer recently tweeted about some “enhancements” being made to Gears 5. The pictures are not super clear, but it seems like this might be our first glance at a game enhanced for Xbox Series X.
And thanks to Smart Delivery, there’s a good chance current Gears 5 owners will get to enjoy those “enhancements” on Microsoft’s dime.
But while this new “Smart Delivery” feature is great for gamers, it might not be so great for developers. We don’t know how many games will support it, but those that do will almost certainly lose sales they would normally have had from ports.
Just consider how many fewer copies of Grand Theft Auto 5 Rockstar Games would have moved if “Smart Delivery” had given everyone who owned the game on the Xbox 360 a free Xbox One download too.
On the other hand, this is a great PR strategy for those companies that do choose to get involved. The question is whether the PR boost will be worth more than the lost sales.
One unqualified benefit that the Xbox Series X will bring for consumers is a decrease in the number of shallow re-releases.
Frequently consoles have launched with a line-up that largely consists of repackaged games from the previous generation. Hopefully, with Smart Delivery, we should see more of the release schedule devoted to new IPs.
This is especially true of the Xbox Series X, which will have nothing exclusive at launch. This should mean that developers will focus on new games that run on both the current and next-gen systems.
What the actual outcome will be is unclear. Either way, it’s nice to know that the next console generation will enable us to see our games in their best-looking incarnations yet.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.
This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.
Last modified: March 6, 2020 4:02 PM UTC