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Buy Destiny on PS3 or Xbox 360 digitally, upgrade to new-gen version for free

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Destiny customers who buy the game digitally on last-generation consoles can get a free copy on the new consoles with an offer that runs from now until mid-January, according to the game's official website.

The Destiny digital upgrade covers the game itself on PlayStation Store or Xbox Games Store ($59.99), the Expansion Pass (which includes two announced expansions for $34.99) and the Digital Guardian Edition (which includes the Expansion Pass for $89.99). If you buy any of those three items on PlayStation 3, you'll be able to download the PlayStation 4 version at no additional cost. The same is valid when going from Xbox 360 to Xbox One.

In order to redeem your new-generation copies, you'll need to sign in on a PS4 or Xbox One, as the case may be, no later than Jan. 15, 2015. Once you log in, you'll have to go to the PlayStation Store or Xbox Games Store, respectively, then add the (free) content in question to your cart and "buy" it. Bungie notes that Expansion Pass content will only be available for full download once it's released. Destiny's first expansion, The Dark Below, is set for release in December.

According to Bungie, anybody who upgrades — on both the PlayStation and Xbox families of systems — will be able to keep playing on both the old consoles and new consoles. Even after you make the jump to the current generation, your PlayStation Network or Xbox Live account will retain licenses to both versions. And Bungie previously confirmed that players can transfer characters and progress from PS3 to PS4 or Xbox 360 to Xbox One.

The upshot is this: If you buy a digital version of Destiny on PS3 when it launches next week and get a PS4 this holiday season, you can keep playing your Guardian on your new console in January after you download your free PS4 copy of the game. Then you can hand down your PS3 to your sister, and she can create a Guardian of her very own.

Destiny will be available Sept. 9 on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. We're planning to start livestreaming the game once the servers go live on Monday morning, Sept. 8.