The publisher said on Tuesday that the latest entry in its long-running sports franchise will be released worldwide on August 28 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC via Origin and for the first time Steam, ahead of its Google Stadia release this winter.
As part of EA’s Dual Entitlement scheme, players who purchase the game for PS4 or Xbox One will be able to upgrade their copy to a next-gen version free of charge until Madden NFL 22’s release.
However, there are exceptions, as EA says “physical discs cannot currently be used to upgrade to discless consoles.”
It adds in an FAQ: “EA are actively looking at solutions to support those players who want to convert their physical copy to a digital entitlement.
“Currently no upgrade pathway exists from ‘disc to digital’ for those partners who offer a Next Generation discless console but we will continue to share any progress made in that space.”
This means that players who purchase a disc-based version of Madden NFL 21 for PS4 won’t be able to claim a free copy of the game for the recently announced PS5 Digital Edition console.
EA has chosen to implement its own next-gen game upgrade scheme rather than use Microsoft’s Smart Delivery technology, which will let players buy a game once and play it across Xbox One and Xbox Series X.
On Monday, Microsoft confirmed that both physical and digital games will support Smart Delivery, including Game Pass titles.
Sony has yet to announce whether it will offer a similar next-gen game upgrade scheme, although it has reportedly informed developers that any PS4 games submitted for certification from mid-July must also be compatible with PS5.
It’s unclear whether EA’s Dual Entitlement scheme will be used for the publisher’s other games, but VGC has contacted the company for comment and EA says it “will have more news on the next generation as we approach EA Play Live on June 18”.
EA released the Madden NFL 21 trailer at the top of this page on Tuesday and confirmed NFL MVP and Baltimore Ravens Quarterback Lamar Jackson as the game’s cover athlete.
It revealed several new features too, including the Skill Stick ball-carrier system, pass rush and tackling improvements, and user-controlled celebrations.
The game will also include Face of the Franchise: Rise to Fame, “a playable documentary career campaign where players create themselves and play through their rise to fame” from high school quarterback.
This week’s delayed EA Play Live showcase will feature a Star Wars Squadrons gameplay reveal, the new co-op title from the director of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, and could also include news on a Battlefield 3 remaster and EA Sports UFC 4.