Sony’s PS4 to PS5 game path is a mess

Sony’s PS4 to PS5 game path is a mess

Guerrilla Games’ upcoming cross-generational release will now receive a free upgrade. That needn’t have been news this past weekend, given that it was confirmed by Sony back in September 2020 and later reaffirmed by PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan. And still Horizon Forbidden West made headlines, as the company revealed that players who purchased the Standard or Special editions of Forbidden West on PS4 would have no path to upgrade to a PS5 edition in the future – necessitating a second purchase of the game should you wish to continue playing into the next generation. If players wanted to guarantee access to the PS4 and PS5 version of the game, they’d need to purchase the Digital Deluxe, Collector’s, or Regalla editions – the least expensive of these options being $80/£80 and the most expensive $260/£229.

It’s taken Sony 10 months to outline an upgrade path between PS4 and PS5 with any clarity or consistency. The platform holder has confirmed that, moving forward, it will now charge $10 to upgrade from PS4 to PS5 editions of first-party exclusive cross-gen titles, a shift from the scattershot approach that has marred the first year of the PlayStation 5. Horizon Forbidden West will be exempt from this new policy when it launches February 22, 2022 – a concession born out of controversy.

Sony has since walked this policy back after receiving widespread criticism. “It’s abundantly clear that the offerings we confirmed in our pre-order kickoff missed the mark,” Jim Ryan explained, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment. “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.”

Suffice to say, this has been a mess that could – and should – have been easily avoided. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened either. Sony’s decision to make select PS5 exclusives available on PS4 was met with confusion, following the platform holder’s attempts to vigorously differentiate the PlayStation 5 from the Xbox Series X on the road to release – taking aim at Microsoft’s policy of supporting backwards compatibility and a more open console ecosystem. Ryan’s statement to GiBiz from last May that “we have always said that we believe in generations” seems absurd now, in light of Horizon Forbidden West and God of War Ragnarok crossing the generational divide and the persisting rumors that Gran Turismo 7 will do the same.

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