One of the cooler parts of the PlayStation 5 is the ability to play any PlayStation 4 game on it. It’s given players a huge library of games to choose from and play on their console while we wait for developers to start developing for it. Another perk has been that the majority of next-gen upgrades for those PS4 games have been free. Games such as Yakuza: Like A Dragon, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, and Final Fantasy VII Remake all required no additional charge to get next-gen perks. Even the upcoming Horizon Forbidden West will feature a free next-gen upgrade for players who purchase the standard or special editions. Unfortunately, it appears that will be the last of its kind.
In a PlayStation Blog Jim Ryan, President, and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, announced that moving forward these next-gen upgrades will no longer be a free upgrade if they were developed by PlayStation. Games such as God of War: Ragnarok and Gran Turismo 7, originally PS5 exclusives, will be available on both consoles but anyone who purchases the PS4 version will have to pay the $10 fee to get a next-gen upgrade.
Last year we made a commitment to deliver free upgrades for our cross-gen launch titles, which included Horizon Forbidden West. While the pandemic’s profound impact pushed Forbidden West out of the launch window we initially envisioned, we will stand by our offer: Players who purchase Horizon Forbidden West on PlayStation 4 will be able to upgrade to the PlayStation 5 version for free.
I also want to confirm today that moving forward, PlayStation first-party exclusive cross-gen titles (newly releasing on PS4 & PS5)–both digital and physical*–will offer a $10 USD digital upgrade option from PS4 to PS5. This will apply to the next God of War and Gran Turismo 7, and any other exclusive cross-gen PS4 & PS5 title published by Sony Interactive Entertainment.
This is unfortunate news, but there is a little bit of logic to it. PS5 games developed by Sony are going to cost $70 while PS4 games still cost the original $60 price tag from the last generation. Since every PS4 game can be played on a PS5 there is nothing stopping someone from buying the PS4 version of a new game and then upgrading the game to give themselves a $10 discount. By requiring that players pay the $10 fee they’re essentially telling them that they must pay the full price of the game.
While the move logically makes sense, that doesn’t mean it’s one that anyone has to be happy about. The $70 barrier is already touchy for a lot of people, and right now it’s only Sony that is pushing it as a constant. They’re determined to make $70 games the new norm and some fans are not going to get on board with that. However, with PS5’s still selling incredibly well it doesn’t seem like their policy decisions are hurting them right now.