Cross-generation access will no longer be extended as a courtesy, a recent PlayStation blog post reveals. Jim Ryan, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, retracted a previous statement allowing players to upgrade first-party PlayStation 4 exclusives to their PlayStation 5 digital equivalent for free. The option now requires a $10 fee to avail.
The last (and first) cross-gen Sony PlayStation exclusive being offered for free is Horizon Forbidden West, an upcoming post-apocalyptic open world about one Aloy, a huntress living in a Brave New World overrun by machines. The sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn has Aloy exploring what has become of the American West, namely California, Utah, and Nevada.
Despite announcing last week that all upgrade paths from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5 are one-hundred percent free-of-charge, Sony shared a press release revealing nine different versions of Horizon Forbidden West, of which none included a paid or free boost between consoles. Ryan responded to fan outcry by doubling back on the announcement and making the upgrade option completely free for PlayStation 4 owners of the Guerrila game.
Unfortunately, this is the last time Sony will be offering the path as a courtesy; future first-party PlayStation titles after Horizon Forbidden West will entail a small fee to convert from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5. The good news: upgrade is at least possible. The bad news: players are expected to pay up to even use it. Third-party games are exempt from this rule, as upgrade paths are left entirely to the discretion of individual publishers.
Only PlayStation exclusives developed by Sony are affected, such as a new Marvel’s Spider-Man or a future Uncharted. As Ryan explained on Saturday, “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.”
Those hoping to move a Sony exclusive from eighth to ninth generation can only do so on compatible PlayStations, however; this means disc owners of first-party PlayStation 4 games will require a PlayStation 5 equipped with a disc drive to upgrade, while those with digital copies can avail of the option on both versions of the unit.
Sony’s PS5 is currently being offered two ways: first as a regular console with both disc drive and digital download capability, and second as only the latter. The digital edition is a lower-cost, environmental-friendly option: it’s meant to encourage users to save money and reduce non-biodegradable waste. Save data could also be transferred between consoles.
Despite being in circulation for over a year now, the PlayStation 5 still carries a rather minuscule inventory, no doubt as a consequence of the pandemic affecting transit. Horizon Forbidden West is the first Sony PlayStation exclusive to be offered in cross-gen; given obvious differences in quality and gameplay, previous releases had separate ports and consumers needed to purchase a new copy and start all over again if they wanted to continue their playthroughs on the PlayStation 5. Both consoles proffered entirely different iterations of the same games, from the tie-in downloadable content to how they were even navigated. But thanks to Horizon Forbidden West, simply upgrading (and moving save files) is finally a viable alternative.
Horizon Forbidden West is a Sony PlayStation exclusive. It comes out on PS4 and PS5 on February 18, 2022.