Rumoured Xbox Series X guidelines ban publishers from selling next-gen upgrades as paid DLC
Developer guidelines, purportedly straight from Microsoft, appear to ban developers and publishers from charging gamers for next-generation upgrade DLC on the Xbox Series X. This news comes hot on the heels of 2K's decision to sell a separate next-gen version of NBA 2K21.
According to the purported guidelines, publishers will not be able to charge for "upgrade DLC," whether or not it leverages Microsoft's Smart Delivery system. This means that any next-gen enhancements, such as the supposed improvements to Cyberpunk 2077 that CD Projekt Red is working on, will necessarily be free.
Publishers are free, however, to charge for separate physical release. This seems reasonable, considering that the remaster and remake markets depend on physical re-releases. The decision, if genuine, seems to be pro-consumer in nature.
The spiraling costs of video game development mean that publishers are likely seeking to find new revenue streams: "next-gen DLC" would've been an ideal opportunity. However, if publishers were allowed to do this, it would likely have left a poor taste in Xbox Series X owners' mouths, since they'd have to pay extra to get an actual ninth-generation experience.
We fully expect a whole host of eighth-generation titles to make their way over to ninth-gen, including Grand Theft Auto V. While there certainly will be a number of people looking to double-dip, Microsoft's decision means that this would be voluntarily: you won't have to pay twice for DLC that makes a game look better on Series X.