Madden 21 is coming to the Xbox One and the Xbox Series X this fall. That much we know. The game is also going to feature “Smart Delivery,” though there’s a catch.
Smart Delivery is Microsoft’s term for games released on the Xbox One that get a free upgrade to their Series X versions. The announcement, made by Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs that Madden 21 is Smart Delivery compliant surprised some analysts.
Electronic Arts hasn’t committed to supporting the free upgrade system and have even said they won’t be offering it on some of their future titles. In that regard, Madden 21 is breaking the mold, though only slightly.
A press release issued shortly after the Xbox 2020 event explains how Smart Delivery will work for this title. There’s a time limit:
To receive the offer, players must purchase Madden NFL 21 on Xbox One by December 31, 2020 and upgrade to Xbox Series X by March 31, 2021.
There are two point of views to this news. The first is that most people who buy the professional football sim are almost certainly going to be purchasing it before December 31. Past versions of the game released in late August. There’s no reason to think that won’t be the case here.
Whoa, what. EA put out a press release that the "smart delivery" on Madden is time-limited. This is…nuts? And also bad? https://t.co/VaMOf6idIg
— Imran Khan (@imranzomg) May 7, 2020
That gives gamers four months to decide if they want to purchase it for the Xbox One. The Series X is due out this “Holiday season” which likely means mid-to-late November. Users will then have about five months to purchase the console and get the upgrade version of Madden 21. Neither window is so short as to be called “unfair.”
The flipside of this argument is that limiting how and when Smart Delivery works is an obvious cash grab. EA wants people who are slow to pull the trigger on either or both products, to potentially dish out another $60.
There was also no mention of any time limit when EA went out of its way to highlight smart delivery being available for the title at the Xbox2020 event. Now that this has come to light, it will be interesting if the company sticks to its plan, or makes a change to the time limit for Madden 21.