The Fan-Favourite Policy Comes to an End
For a good long while, the was a standard policy for new first-party Playstation releases: if you got the PS4 version, you could upgrade it to a PS5 version when that became available. The policy existed to keep wallets open; because some players may feel inclined to wait for a “superior” PS5 release, they could be temped to hold off on a game purchase if they knew a better version was right around the corner. But because Sony makes (roughly) the same amount of money regardless of which version is bought, and players rarely ever buy multiple versions of the same product (Skyrim fans not included), this policy could ensure that day-1 sales figures could be as high as possible.
But all good things must come to an end. They tried to move forward with this policy change with the upcoming Horizon: Forbidden West, but after a massive backlash from players, they had to revert. Forbidden West will likely be the last time we see a policy like this – all further releases will follow a new scheme for upgrades.
In a blog update, Sony Interactive’s CEO clarified what the change would mean:
“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,” explained Ryan. “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.”
Is it a worse deal? Unquestionably. The new policy is still better than nothing, but players are certainly going to miss the free upgrades. At the very least, it only applied to first-party titles. Anything made by, say, Bethesda or Activision, won’t have to follow in Sony’s footsteps.