Cyberpunk 2077 confirmed for Xbox Series X with free next-gen upgrades from Xbox One

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.

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.

Source: Twitter

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4 Comments

  1. Sony let developers offer free updates to PS4 games to take advantage of the more powerful hardware on the Pro. Surely everyone’s assuming they’ll do the same for the PS5? If it’s just a PS4 but more powerful.

    So not really much of an announcement from MS is it? And doesn’t make up for a lack of games that exclusively need that extra power.

    Of course, if you want to play your current gen games on the next hardware, then MS might have the advantage, if you believe some rumours. Or they might not. Or the advantage could be tiny.

    Plus, if Sony do the same (which seems likely), MS have just drawn attention to something 100m+ PS4 owners were assuming anyway, if they’d even thought about it. Which might not be the best plan.

    • There’s a big business difference between PS4 Pro and PS5, and Microsoft are definitely taking the lead in going beyond simple backward compatibility, undercutting the notion of remastering games even further.

      It doesn’t matter if Sony now does the same. Microsoft did it first, so they get to look more proactive and consumer friendly, Sony following up doesn’t change that. That kind of small perception matters, which is why Microsoft had to go first.

      And let’s just wait and see how many games there in the first year that conceptually need next gen beyond powering 4K60 and ray tracing.

      • Apart from the raw power, both MS and Sony are, in some ways, treating the PS5 and Series X as more of an upgrade than a new console. The only real difference between the next gen and the mid-gen upgrades are even more power and a new name (and really MS shouldn’t have bothered there, since they’re just making it confusing).

        They’ve both upgraded games for free to run better on the Pro and One X. And how many PS3/Vita games gave you an upgraded PS4 version for free?

        It’s nothing new, really, and kind of makes MS sound a bit desperate.

        And it’s not how many games in the first year need all that power. It’s what happens after that. Is the Series X ends up being a silly price, and all it does is make games that also run on the previous gen hardware look nicer, why buy it? And then if nobody’s buying it, why make exclusive games when you can have them run on both and sell more?

        It might give them a chance to shift a lot more One/One Xs though.

      • Microsoft are treating it like a continuation, a transition for one or two years (not indefinitely, as you seem to be suggesting), and they’re making it so you don’t have to think about what version of Cyberpunk to buy or if there will be an upgrade fee.

        And cross-buy is still a thing, but largely for smaller games and indies. This broadens the scope to AAA games, where there were upgrade fees around launch or just totally different versions of the game.

        We can reasonably expect Sony to do the same, but right now, they’ve not suggested anything of the sort outside of simple backward compatibility.

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