If you’re picking up a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X|S with the expectation that FIFA 21’s next-gen upgrade would be there on day one, you’ve got another thing coming. EA have announced that FIFA 21’s next-gen version will be out for both PS5 and Xbox Series on 4th December.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still play FIFA 21 on those systems. If you buy the current generation PlayStation 4 or Xbox One versions of the game, you’ll be able to play those versions via backward compatibility until 4th December, and the download an upgraded version of the game on 4th December via EA’s Dual Entitlement scheme.
Whther you buy the physical copy or digital copy, you’ll be able to download a separate version of the game simply by visiting the respective storefront. Physical purchasers will still need to have the disc in the drive in order to play. EA will also allow you to upgrade from a disc version to a purely digital version if you’ve bought a PlayStation 5 Digital Edition or Xbox Series S. In those cases, you’ll need to contact EA support at help.ea.com to validate your purchase using your account information.
There is a divide between the two generations of the game in terms of player progression. Progress that you make in FIFA 21 Ultimate Team and Volta Football are tied to your EA account that is associated with your PSN or Microsoft account. You can take this back and forth between generations and console. However, progress made in all other modes, including Online Seasons, Co-Op Seasons, Career Mode, Pro Clubs, will be locked to the platform and generation you’re playing on.
Compared to Microsoft’s Smart Delivery, EA’s Dual Entitlement is a time-limited upgrade offer, that in the case of FIFA 21 will start on 4th December and run through to the launch of FIFA 22. Obviously that game’s release date has not been confirmed, but would be expected to arrive in the usual late-September launch window that FIFA games have traditionally targeted.
In our current gen FIFA 21 review, Aran wrote:
On the pitch, FIFA 21 is an incremental improvement over FIFA 20, but doesn’t address some of the biggest issues with defending and the high-scoring matches this leads to. With Volta still missing a certain spark and Ultimate Team not really changing much, it’s the Football Manager-inspired Career mode that takes the biggest step forward. It’s still a good football game, but it feels like the real focus is on next-gen.