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How to tell whether you’re buying the right Xbox Games this Christmas

With some games suitable for the Xbox One, some for the Series X and some for both, which do you buy?

Updated: Dec 14, 2021 1:02 pm
How to tell whether you’re buying the right Xbox Games this Christmas

Sometimes, buying games can be a bit of a minefield. Especially when we’re in between two generations of consoles. And with just subtle differences on the cases of physical games, it’s not even made all that easy for us.

There are three different types of new, physical Xbox games now, spanning compatibility with Xbox One, Xbox Series X and those that can be played on both. Of course, you need to make sure you get the right one so you’re not wasting money on something that is unplayable. So here, we’re going to explain exactly what you’re looking for on the front of physical game cases.

The difference between Xbox One and Xbox Series X games

Xbox Series X Games

InkedSeries X LI

This is the most obvious one, so that helps in some way. Thankfully, games that are only compatible with Xbox Series X games with only have Xbox Series X written on them. Therefore, if you’re buying for Xbox One, just do a quick double check at the top left hand of the box, and if you’re looking at an Xbox Series X game, know that it will not play at all on an Xbox One.

Xbox One games

InkedXbox One LI

This is where it starts to get slightly blurry, because the branding for Xbox One games can look a little confusing, and very similar to the third type on this list.

Xbox One games may have Xbox One | Xbox Series X written on the top. In this order. What that means is that this is an Xbox One game that will play on Xbox Series X due to backwards compatibility. As such, you don’t need to worry that the game won’t play on both consoles, as it will, but it will have standard quality graphics and gameplay on both.

What is Smart Delivery? Xbox One and Series X

What is Smart Delivery Xbox Series X One

If you are looking for a game that will play on both Xbox One and Xbox Series X – perhaps you are looking to upgrade in the future – and you want to ensure that you are getting the best possible version of the game for both consoles, then “Smart Delivery” is the key phrase to look for. Unlike the Xbox One backwards compatibility games, these are new games that have been created with the Series X in mind, and Smart Delivery allows the best crossover if you upgrade to the next-gen console in time.

While this option should say Smart Delivery on the box, the other giveaway is that the compatibility will be listed as Xbox Series X first, then Xbox One, the opposite of the backwards compatibility version. You might also find that it says “Xbox Series X and Xbox One, content Download Required” instead.

The final hint is that you may find that this version is a little more expensive, so if you see the same game marked up by around $5/£5, this is another hint that you are looking at a Smart Delivery game.

Xbox Series S

Finally, there’s the Xbox Series S. As this is a digital-only console, you of course shouldn’t buy a physical game for the Series S at all. Instead, you can purchase download codes, or directly from the Microsoft store, and ensure that you check the specifications that it is suitable for the Series S.

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