Xbox Smart Delivery wins
Like most, I completely took Smart Delivery for granted when it was announced for the Xbox Series X/S line. Okay, so your console will know which version is the best to run on your machine, and it’ll run. That’s standard, right? Wrong. Head to head, Xbox Smart Delivery wins by a mile.
As an owner of both the Xbox Series X and the PS5, I’ve gone through quite a few different scenarios with the latter. Again, on Xbox, if I own a game on Xbox One that is eligible for an upgrade, I install it on my Series X and it’s good to go. On PS5, there’s extra steps for downloading different versions, and for transferring over save files for certain games: which is also easier to do on the Xbox ecosystem.
Death Stranding: Director’s Cut, which was just released, is the most recent example. So the Death Stranding upgrade (which is $10 for existing PS4 owners) is actually a completely separate version of the game. It’s even listed alongside of the PS4 digital deluxe edition on the storefront, but it’s a different SKU. Sony owned up to this utter confusion recently in an official blog post, allowing Horizon Forbidden West an exemption as a free upgrade. “Moving forward,” however (including God of War and Gran Turismo 7), you’ll need to pony up $10.
The digital-only PS5 SKU (which is one of the only options for some people) complicates these matters further, with extra provisos for folks with PS4 discs and a digital PS5. To be fair, it’s part of the contract you bought into, getting a digital PS5. But at the same time, I don’t think many people realized that buying used PS4 copies to wring out cheaper upgrades was a pro strategy they’d really have to worry about.
At this point Sony seems to be moving forward with this system, and the foundation for Smart Delivery is already set. Hopefully Microsoft will continue on this path in the next generation. The jury is out on Sony.