Microsoft has been doing its best to ease the transition from Xbox One to Series X, particularly by instituting “Smart Delivery” which allows for Xbox One games to be seamlessly ported to Series X for free. Not all publishers are forced to include their games in this service however, and Electronic Arts isn’t exactly known for its generosity. They did announce that their upcoming game Madden 21 will be a part of the “Smart Delivery” process in a video featuring reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, but later clarified that this upgrade would be limited to a certain time period.
In order to qualify for this upgrade, you would have had to buy the game by the end of December 2020 and have a Series X by the end of March 2021. This would only provide a short window, and when buying a brand new console, that feels harsh. Naturally, this received some backlash, as it seems that EA was only reinforcing their stereotype as a greedy company.
Though there hasn’t been a public announcement of this changing, there was apparently supposed to be, but it was delayed along with the Madden 21 Celebration due to the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests. The “Next Level” post by EA has been updated to reflect that players will now have until the release of Madden 22 to upgrade 21 to Series X.
While this is still not an unlimited time period, it is safe to assume that by the time 22 rolls around, those who have not yet upgraded their version of 21, would prefer 22 anyway. This is not to say that everyone can afford to buy the new Madden game every year, but if you buy 21, and then eventually a Series X, you can probably also afford 22. Essentially, you will be able to upgrade the came as long as the game itself is being actively supported and updated.
There is no word yet on how updates will work for PS4/PS5 for EA or for Sony’s consoles in general. Madden 21 is expected to release this fall, but a concrete date will not be announced until the Madden 21 Celebration eventually happens and Lamar Jackson is confirmed as the cover athlete. Expect Madden in August and Next-Gen consoles in December.