Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

For the early adopters of next-gen hardware

Just over two months after their release, the PS5 and Xbox Series X / S continue to be some of the most desirable gadgets in the world. While it’s still very difficult to get your hands on a new console, those lucky enough to own one can enjoy something unprecedented in modern gaming history. For the first time, next-gen console owners can take their existing library — whether it’s physical, digital, or a mix of the two — and bring it to a next-gen platform.

That gives consumers unprecedented freedom in deciding where they want to play and what performance benefits are worthwhile enough to upgrade. And technologies like cross-platform play and now even cross-generation support will allow people to still play with their friends, even if they don’t upgrade to the latest gaming hardware.

Yes, both consoles arrived within seven years of the last generation of console hardware. And while it’s likely within the first year of both consoles’ lifespan that many of the hottest titles may launch on last- and current-gen simultaneously, there’s still a good chunk of games that will be exclusive titles playable only a PS5 or Xbox Series X / S.

Besides 4K, the solid-state drives, and other spec changes, Microsoft and Sony have pledged to support close to every title in the existing console platforms’ libraries. Every Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One game currently playable on existing Xbox One hardware (minus Kinect games) will be playable on the Series X / S, while Sony is supporting a “vast majority” of PS4 games, totaling more than 4,000 titles. With both consoles early into their lifespan, it’s easy for many to return to older games to help fill the gap in between long wait periods for more titles to be added to each console’s library.

This changes the calculus a bit with regard to buying a new console. No longer do you have to abandon what you were playing on your old device and start anew. And thanks to some genuinely consumer-friendly initiatives like Xbox Smart Delivery and similar upgrade programs, plenty of the games we own now or are planning to buy in the next couple of months will not only work on the new platforms, but in most cases, they’ll also come with free upgrades from the standard PS4 and Xbox One versions. Sony also introduced the PlayStation Plus Collection, a library of PS4 games available for free with its online subscription service.

That leaves us with one big issue: how do you know what new games are coming out for which platforms and when? There’s also the painstaking process of parsing whether a game company is giving out a free next-gen upgrade of a cross-gen title, charging a little extra, or releasing a next-gen-only game.

2021 is packed full of new releases and full optimizations of cross-gen games that should further pad out what’s available to play on your new system of choice. We’ve compiled the list below to help you understand every game coming out during the first year of the PS5 and Xbox Series X / S.

This excludes games without release dates that may have been previously announced — like Elder Scrolls VI and the Fable reboot, for example — and any games that were released for either console in 2020, including launch titles. We’ve also chosen only to list release dates for games where the publisher has chosen a concrete date with both day and month.

Update November 4th, 2020, 12:35PM ET: Added that ARK: Survival Evolved recently released an Xbox Series X enhancement update that will be available to new console owners on launch day.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated Haven would be a PS5-only release and that War Thunder would be Xbox Series-only at launch. Those are incorrect; Haven is also coming to Xbox Series X and Xbox One and as part of Game Pass at launch, and War Thunder is slated for PS5 mid-November. We regret the errors.

Update January 15th, 2021, 5PM ET: Updated to add additional titles releasing in 2021 and update any games that may have been delayed into this year.