Published on March 22, 2023
Updated on March 22, 2023

Xbox One / Xbox Series X vs. Xbox Series X Only Games

Microsoft decided to adopt a super confusing model for their latest generation of Xbox consoles. Not only the name Series X / Series S keeps up the tradition of Xbox model names that make no sense, it also makes it hard for users to search for Xbox Series X games, as well as understand the concept of “Smart Delivery” for new Xbox players.

You may have noticed a lot of Xbox games out there, showing a “Xbox One / Xbox Series X” tag at the top, while the same exact game may have a “Xbox Series X” version:

So what’s different between these two versions?

  • The Xbox One / Xbox Series X version, contains the Xbox One version of the game on the disc, and the Xbox Series X version through a Smart Delivery download.
  • The Xbox Series X version, contains the Xbox Series X version of the game on the disc, and does not include the Xbox One version of the game in any form. The disc will be unplayable on an Xbox One device (even an Xbox One X), and you will be unable to download the Xbox One version instead.
  • Regardless of whether you insert the disc on an Xbox One, or an Xbox Series X console, any updated files will be downloaded through the internet of course.
  • In most cases the version that can be played on both Xbox One & Xbox Series X consoles will be more sought after, so if you only own an Xbox Series X, it may make sense to grab the Xbox Series X-only version of the game.

Warning! Some games, even though they have the label of “Xbox One | Xbox Series X” in the front, will not actually grant you a Series X version of the game (or a discount to upgrade).

A good example of this, is FIFA 21 & FIFA 22. Even though both of them have the dual label on the Xbox One variant, only FIFA 21 will grant you the Series X version, while FIFA 22 is a separate release.

Sadly, the only way to figure this out, is by looking at the back of the box:

FIFA 21 (left) offers a Series X version of the game, while FIFA 22 (right) doesn’t.

Last but not least, most Xbox One games that offer a Series X version as well, will have the Series X sticker on the top right of the game case.

At the end of the day, the Xbox One / Xbox Series X version, is the exact same as a PS4 game that offers a free PS5 upgrade:

But that’s not all, since there are also games that release with a separate Xbox One and Xbox Series X version:

This is more in line with what we’ve seen from Sony, where PS4 and PS5 versions always have their own distinct branding.

However, in these cases you will only be able to play each version in its own respective console (or of course, you can play the Xbox One version on your Series X | S), you won’t be entitled to the other version, and you won’t get a discount for it either!

Are Xbox Series X Games Better Than Xbox One?

Of course!

Every time you see Series X as a separate option, it means that the Series X version can take advantage of the huge performance gap between the two platforms, and a totally separate version of the game will be installed.

That also means the two separate versions of the same game, will also have separate achievement lists.

Some games may allow you to transfer a part of your progress or even all of it, but that doesn’t always mean you will get the Series X achievements, for any Xbox One achievements you have.

It doesn’t work like the “auto-pop” that most PS4 to PS5 games implement.

And to be honest, that’s better!

So many PlayStation trophy hunters have to complete a game on PS4 in order to get the PS5 achievements as well, forcing them to play a downgraded version of a game, and that’s just lame…

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Babalon, Mother of Abominations

16-hours / day in front of the screen entrepreneur, of which 6+ are spent on gaming. MMOs, CCGs, RPGs and many more, Steam-addict & achievement-w***e. Currently wasting life on BDO & Gacha Games.


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