OPINION: Is the Xbox Series X free upgrade mantra a BAD precedent for devs?

The Xbox Series X is coming soon, and not only that, but there are tons of great initiatives to make it a fantastic choice over the PS5 for your next-gen console.

With things like Xbox Game Pass and a large catalogue of titles thanks to backwards compatibility, it's a really solid option.

There's even the free upgrade system, or Smart Delivery to consider too.

However, while it might be good for us, is it good for everyone?

Is Smart Delivery the same as the free upgrade?

Yes, at least, it seems to be the case. Smart Delivery is a Microsoft scheme that means that if you buy a game, you'll be able to play it on whichever Microsoft platform you choose.

Not only that, but you'll get the best version of it for that platform. The aim seems to be a way to ensure that consumers never have to buy another version of a game they already own.

This is excellent news for those of us who might have to wait a little bit to upgrade our consoles, as it means we'll already have some next-gen games when we do upgrade.

However, it could mean that developers are losing out.

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Why is this bad for developers

While consumer-friendly ideas are important, after all, we're all consumers, it is important to keep in mind that this could mean a loss of money for some developers.

Now, this isn't an issue for most triple-A studios, many of whom who encourage crunch, overtime, and generally unhealthy practices. Not to mention the massive wages and bonuses of those at the top in favour of better pay at all levels, but it could be an issue for smaller teams.

If a tiny indie team has to use Smart Delivery, then they could well be losing out on a lot of sales. This could be the difference between staying in business or not.

Microsoft has said that every developer should allow free upgrades, but not that they have to. It'll be interesting to see how all of this plays out, and while we don't think you should spare a thought for the millionaires and billionaires, it is important to support smaller game developers.

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