Of course there’s a big catch to EA’s approach to free next-gen upgrades

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.

EA Sports Announces Madden NFL 21 Will Be Available on Xbox Series X [EA]

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Brett Makedonski
While you laughing, we're passing, passing away. So y'all go rest y'all souls, 'Cause I know I'ma meet you up at the crossroads. Y'all know y'all forever got love from them Bone Thugs baby...
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