Hot on the heels of Microsoft announcing the technical ability to offer upgraded versions of Xbox One games on Xbox Series X, CD Projekt Red have come in to not only confirm that Cyberpunk 2077 is coming to Xbox Series X, but that Xbox One copies will be upgraded for free.
Gamers should never be forced to purchase the same game twice or pay for upgrades. Owners of #Cyberpunk2077 for Xbox One will receive the Xbox Series X upgrade for free when available. https://t.co/nfkfFLj85w
— Cyberpunk 2077 (@CyberpunkGame) February 24, 2020
The news comes as Microsoft confirmed a number of technical details about their next-gen console, from the power of the GPU – an RDNA 2 based monster with 12 teraflops of power – to what games it will be able to play. All of their first party games, like Halo Infinite, will be cross-generational, and Smart Delivery is their system by which you can buy a game once and have multiple versions of it available to you.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer writes, “This technology is available for all developers and publishers, and they can choose to use it for titles that will be release on Xbox One first and come to the Xbox Series X later.”
CD Projekt Red are really cementing their ‘good guy’ reputation for consumer friendly business practices by immediately tapping into this with the hotly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077.
Of course, a part of that decision might come from the game’s delay to a 17th September launch date. Originally planned for 16th April, it was pushed back for the company to lavish it with more polish and refinement. With the game’s launch now coming in that uncomfortable window right before the next generation, early adopters might have decided to hold off on buying the game and wait for the next-gen release. Now there won’t be any such worries… for Xbox One owners.
Though there’s no details on what such an upgrade would bring, Cyberpunk 2077 is all set to be a new poster child for Nvidia and their RTX ray tracing technology on PC. Outside of better performance and increasing world detail, adding ray tracing to the Xbox Series X version of the game could lead to a big step forward graphically.
Perhaps this has been CD Projekt Red’s plan all along? From their latest investor call, they said they were “thinking” about the next generation of consoles. “Cyberpunk is right now heading for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Nothing has changed in regards to the plans,” continuing “We’re of course looking at the next generation all the time. We’re privy to a lot of information on what’s going on with these platforms, but frankly speaking, we have nothing to share now related to that.” So if nothing had changed, then this was what they intended, as far back as they knew what Microsoft would do?
What’s not known at this time is what Sony will do in response. At the base level the PlayStation 5 has full backward compatibility to all PlayStation 4 games, which will run at the full extent of their original design, whether developed for PS4 or later with PS4 Pro and 4K in mind. However, will Sony offer the framework for developers to offer PlayStation 5 upgrades for current generation games?
With Microsoft and CD Projekt Red pushing ahead on that, you’d have to suspect that they will follow in their footsteps, whether they initially planned to or not. All of this means that what was initially a bit of a hint or tease from Microsoft has turned into a major mic drop moment for the company, and can wrestle some of the next gen narrative away from Sony.