NFL Madden 21 announced with free upgrades from to Xbox Series X, but not Smart Delivery

EA have given us a first glimpse of NFL Madden 21, their premier American Football sports franchise, confirming that the game will be coming to Xbox Series X (duh!) and giving us a first glimpse of the game engine in action, though not any gameplay.


Yup. That was a grand total of 7 seconds of footage from EA’s next gen game engine. And did it look better than current gen? Sure, but we’re looking at refinements from the Xbox One X, with incrementally improved lighting, shadowing and more.  You’d have to expect that things like animation, the refinement of collisions and other things.

Update: EA and Microsoft have clarified their intentions with a free upgrade programme from Xbox One to Xbox Series X. This is seemingly not a part of the Smart Delivery programme, but instead a separate EA “Next Level” upgrade programme that is not cross-generational game ownership, but a limited time upgrade offer.

To redeem, you must purchase Madden NFL 21 on Xbox One by December 31, 2020 and then upgrade to Xbox Series X by March 31, 2021.

The company will discuss how this will impact other game series at EA Play Live in June.

A much bigger deal is that the game will be taking advantage of Smart Delivery to let people buy the game once and play it across Xbox One systems and Xbox Series X. There’s no upgrade fee, just a free and seamless transition between systems. The fact that the likes of EA, Ubisoft and CD Project Red are taking advantage of this is a pretty big deal, making the jump to next generation as painless as possible for prospective buyers.

Of course, we now have to expect that EA will roll this out for their other games as well. FIFA 21, their revitalised NBA Live series, NHL, and their non-sports titles as well should all be getting free enhancements in this fashion.

Last time out, for our NFL Madden 20 review, Dom wrote:

“Madden 20 provides another year’s worth of well-crafted gridiron action. It’s a shame to say goodbye to Devin Wade and the Longshot narrative, but QB1 does a decent enough – if short – job of framing your own rise to fame. The rest of the package is as slick and smooth as you’d hope. Should you upgrade? If you’re an avid fan, you probably already have. For everyone else, both Madden 18 and 19 still play a fantastic game of football.”

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  1. And then the details get revealed…

    “To receive the offer, players must purchase Madden NFL 21 on Xbox One by December 31, 2020 and upgrade to Xbox Series X by March 31, 2021”

    So not quite as generous as you might think?

    • I mean… it’s still a free upgrade, but no, it’s not as simplistically generous as Smart Delivery.

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