Whenever the time comes for a new console generation, the most talked about features tend to be those tied to an increase in graphical power and detail. Be it an increase in teraflops or attaining 60 frames per second, consoles are often regarded in terms of what makes them a potential powerhouse. That thinking flies in the face of the one key element that certain console manufacturers seek to push above all: convenience.
In the previous generation, the PlayStation 4 outperformed the Xbox One in sales and performance. When coming into the newest generation, Xbox embraced the previous generation hardware and software, while Sony insisted on moving forward and leaving the past behind them. This vision by Sony has softened in the months leading up to the release of the PlayStation 5 due to them announcing several titles that will be released alongside the PlayStation 4 as well.
When it came to the release of the Xbox Series X, Microsoft wanted not only the most powerful console on the market, but also the one best equipped to handle players transitioning from the Xbox One. To achieve this, Microsoft made certain that all Xbox One accessories would be compatible with this new system. In addition, everyone’s Xbox One games, and even some original Xbox titles, are playable on the Series X, without any fees or extra hurdles to overcome.
However, the most significant feature that the Xbox team incorporated into the Series X was Smart Delivery. This allows people who purchased certain games for Xbox One to carry over said games to the Series X, with the next-gen versions featuring significant enhancements and benefiting from the advanced hardware. Towards the end of 2020, we saw various high-profile games released that made use of this feature, such as Watch Dogs: Legion and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
Smart Delivery is meant in part to ensure gamers don’t have to worry about whether certain Xbox One games and their associated save files can be brought to the Series X. When it comes to games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, people put in multiple hours to progress their character and experience the story being told. No one wants to have to restart that process when they first turn on their new console.
Last week, Marvel’s Avengers released their next-gen upgrade for the title, bringing with it updated graphics to guarantee that the game looks and plays amazing regardless of the console in question. When it came time to transfer saves from the previous console, though, there was a clear advantage for players on the Series X.
To transfer a save file for the PS5, players were required to load up the PS4 copy of the game, download the update for the title, go through a few menus in the settings, and download that save file. At that point, players were expected to go back, start up their PS5 version of the game, and download the data which then resumes play from the last save point.
Meanwhile, transferring a save file to the Series X only requires someone to boot up Marvel’s Avengers and start playing.
This process was made much more painless for the Xbox audience of players due to Microsoft’s commitment to their connected ecosystem and the power of convenience for their new console.
Sony also had a similar issue with regards to Spider-Man Remastered. To transfer your save file from your PlayStation 4, you had to follow a similar procedure as the one mentioned above for Marvel’s Avengers.
While these situations are not all that common, there is less hassle to continue gameplay on the Series X than on the PlayStation 5, thanks in large part to Smart Delivery.
By having one’s saves be in the cloud, loading up a game like Marvel’s Avengers on the Series X would allow players to pick up right where they left off on a previous Xbox console. Smart Delivery is the pinnacle of convenience for the Xbox Series X and players have started to realize just how important it is to the everyday gamer.
Consider the evergreen struggle of people having to wait to play their favorite game. Besides the usual delay from waiting for the game to finish downloading, there’s also the persistent issue of day one patches cutting into potential play time. Xbox has made it simple to play games at one’s leisure, eliminating the need to complete various extra steps.
It’s worth noting that Smart Delivery isn’t a phased feature. No matter when a person decides to purchase the Series X, any game supporting Smart Delivery will be carried with their save files to the new console. For example, anyone picking up Halo Infinite on Xbox One will also be able to access the optimized version on the Series X. That said, as much as we can sing its praises, it’s important not to overlook the features that work in tandem with Smart Delivery.
For instance, Quick Resume allows the player to load up several games and switch between them, all while never losing their spot in an individual game. If the game being played supports Quick Resume and someone wanted to switch over to an online game of Gears 5, it’s easy enough to swap back to the original game as if nothing happened. This even works if the console is unplugged and moved to another room, preventing any loss of progress.
There’s also the built-in ability to download a game without currently owning it. In the past, pre-loading a game required the player to have pre-ordered said title first. With the Series X’s pre-loading, it’s now possible to prepare a game for launch day, meaning no delay between putting in a physical disk and starting the game.
Convenience matters, especially when it is paired with a powerful console. Smart Delivery, Quick Resume, and the ability to pre-load games before owning them are small but significant features that make a difference in people’s gaming experiences. It’s additions like these that show how dedicated Xbox is to their audience and to the notion of making gaming more pleasant than ever.