This felt inevitable
When you hear “big catch” and Madden in the same sentence, you immediately assume someone dialed up “Da Bomb” and streaked 80 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. Not this time. This time, it’s another reminder that things are never as easy as they should be.
Earlier this week, EA mentioned in a shareholders call that it’s offering free next-gen upgrades on PS5 and Xbox Series X. That seemed to be confirmation that EA is a partner that’s partaking in Xbox’s Smart Delivery program and PlayStation’s inevitable spin on the same idea. Instead, EA has its own setup.
EA’s approach to next-gen upgrades is contingent upon buying both the console and the game in a timely manner. Here are the qualifications EA lays out in its Xbox Series X announcement post: “To receive the offer, players much purchase Madden NFL 21 on Xbox One by December 31, 2020 and upgrade to Xbox Series X by March 31, 2021.”
Whereas Smart Delivery runs in perpetuity, free upgrades no matter when you buy the hardware and software, EA makes it contingent upon being an early-ish adopter. To make use of this offer, a consumer has to buy both Madden 21 and an Xbox Series X within (approximately) four months of their respective releases. Free upgrades are good and it’d be great if they became the norm — but EA’s approach is a stark reminder that third-party publishers’ involvement might be a lot more caveat-filled and unattractive than how Microsoft and Sony handle it.