Xbox Smart Delivery will carry your save data over to Xbox Series X – and back again

(Image credit: 343 Industries)

Xbox Smart Delivery, Microsoft’s program for giving players next-gen versions of their current-gen Xbox One games for free, just got confirmation of a killer feature – that save data would also be carried over to the Xbox Series X, ensuring you can pick up exactly where you left off on your previous console.

In an in-depth post on Xbox Wire, Microsoft affirmed much that we already knew about Xbox Smart Delivery; namely, that players would get to play certain Xbox Series X optimized titles without having to buy a game all over again.

But it also clarified that save data would be carried over from Xbox One games, allowing players to pick up and play on both current-gen and next-gen consoles. That means they can enjoy the faster speeds and smoother gameplay of the Series X in their living room, and then finish the same level of Halo Infinite on the Xbox One stashed in their bedroom later on.

It reads: “As was the case with our current backwards compatible titles, you won’t have to worry about losing any progress either. Thanks to our commitment to compatibility across generations, you can be assured that when you purchase a game on Xbox One today, your game library, progression and entire gaming legacy moves forward with you if you jump into the next generation with Xbox Series X.”

While carrying over save data may have been presumed by some, it’s also not a given in today’s console market. Nintendo Switch Online requires a paid subscription to back up save data into the cloud, and Xbox’s show of generosity through Smart Delivery has left many of us asking what the catch might be.

This also makes a terrific case for keeping your old console around, rather than trading it in to a used game / console store, or letting it gather dust in the attic. When you can make progress in a game on the Xbox Series X, and then continue on the older hardware in a different location, it offers a huge amount of flexibility in how and where you play. 

Whenever, wherever

That’s the fan service we want for this generation of consoles – something expanded by Microsoft’s Play Anywhere initiative, which lets you access Xbox games on your gaming PC, but that only the portable home console Nintendo Switch has really perfected so far.

It’s worth noting that Smart Delivery only really affects Xbox One games that are then optimized for the Xbox Series X. Big remakes and remasters that do more than a lick of paint almost certainly wouldn’t be able to reuse save data for a substantially different game.

It should going without saying, but Microsoft also confirmed that Xbox Game Pass would make use of optimized titles on the Xbox Series X, too.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.