You were so close, EA. So close.
Madden NFL 20

On May 6, word came out that EA was planning to have a free next-gen upgrade program. Though unstated by the company, it was flatley assumed that this program would follow what companies like Microsoft and CD Projekt Red were planning. That is to say: They would allow fans to purchase a current-gen version of a game and then get a free upgrade to the next-gen version for free without any sort of a catch.

Well, there's a catch. EA's upgrade program has a catch. Because of course there's a catch here.

Instead of supporting Microsoft's built-in Smart Delivery upgrade system, EA is planning on doing their own thing. EA's own upgrade system so far only applies to the newly unveiled Madden NFL 21, but other EA titles may follow suit if they are out prior to the end of the year.

EA will allow you to get a free upgrade from the Xbox One to the Xbox Series X version of Madden, but only if you purchase Madden NFL 21 before December 31, 2020 and upgrade to the Xbox Series X by March 31, 2021. As far as we know, Microsoft's Smart Delivery system allows users to upgrade at any point without any such time limitation put in place. This is strictly an EA thing that they are doing.

The silver lining to all of this is the fact that Madden NFL 21 now makes for a total of 11 games that are confirmed to be getting free upgrades. While EA is gonna do its own thing, the other titles that are confirmed to get free next-gen upgrades will make use of the Smart Delivery system on the Xbox One. Also, keep in mind that the following list of titles will likely grow in the months ahead. The list is only for third-party titles that have so far confirmed their use of the free Smart Delivery upgrade program, except for EA.

  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (Ubisoft)
  • Call of the Sea (Raw Fury)
  • Chorus (Deep Silver)
  • Cyberpunk 2077 (CD Projekt Red)
  • DiRT 5 (Codemasters)
  • Scarlet Nexus (Bandai Namco Entertainment)
  • Second Extinction (Systemic Reaction)
  • The Ascent (Neon Giant / Curve Digital)
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 (Paradox Interactive)
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon (Sega)