Sony Will No Longer Offer Free Next-Gen Upgrades For Its First-Party Games

Sony Will No Longer Offer Free Next-Gen Upgrades For Its First-Party Games
Screenshot: Sony

Good news: You won’t have to pay Sony extra money to upgrade your PS4 copy of Horizon Forbidden West to a PS5 version. Bad news: Sony ain’t offering free upgrades any more after this.

Earlier this week, Sony revealed the confusing details surrounding how to pre-order Horizon Forbidden West, including nine different versions of the game. Only some more expensive variants included both the option to play on PS4 and PS5. None offered free or even a paid upgrade path from the basic PS4 version to the fancy PS5 edition. This was odd, because in the past Sony had promised that these kinds of upgrades would be free.

Now, after a lot of online pushback and criticism, Sony has reversed course and will offer a free upgrade path for the Horizon sequel. But that won’t be how things work moving forward as Sony also confirmed that it will no longer offer free next-gen upgrades after this. Instead, you’ll have to pay $US10 ($13) to upgrade digital copies of future PlayStation exclusives.

Over on the official PlayStation Blog post announcing the nine versions of Horizon Forbidden West, a new update was added last night. In this update, Jim Ryan — President & CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment — explained how the company had “missed the mark” with how it handled the rollout of pre-orders for Forbidden West. Ryan also explained that everyone who buys the open-world sequel on PS4 will now get the PS5 version for free.

But, it wasn’t all good news. In the same blog post update, Ryan revealed that free upgrades were no longer a part of Sony’s next-gen plans.

“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 $US10 ($13) 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.”

It already seemed like Sony wasn’t interested in offering free upgrades to PS5 for their older PS4 games, after the next-gen release of Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut involved only a paid upgrade option for current-gen owners. This new statement and announcement seem to solidify what appeared obvious: Sony will not let you upgrade first-party PS4 games for free anymore. This does seem to contradict earlier statement’s from Ryan himself, where he talked about players having a “choice” when it comes to buying new consoles and games. Sony isn’t removing the choice, I guess. Just charging you to make it.

To be clear this is only for cross-gen first-party games, like a new God of War or a new Uncharted. Third-party titles, like Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and Fall Guys aren’t affected by this change. Publishers can choose to offer or not offer free upgrades still.

Meanwhile, Microsoft continues to allow folks to freely move their games around various platforms. You can buy Forza on Xbox One and then play it on your Xbox Series X then play it on your PC and you don’t pay an extra penny to upgrade it or anything like that. (Smart Delivery really did end up being a great idea.)


  • So simple lack of PS5 console supply and availability gives Sony a way to farm money….. not much of a surprise.

  • Pathetic.
    Microsoft has really stepped up this generation with a focus on the customer and making it easy – Sony has been the opposite and it shows. So arrogant.

  • It’s scary how cyclical the mentality of a company can be. PS1 Sony came out swinging, making the console easy to develop for and they took that momentum into PS2. Then They thought they were invulnerable and became arrogant with the PS3. It hurt them hard in the beginning (yes they made up ground by the end, but it damaged the console sales).

    So with the PS4 they came out as ‘we’re for the players’. TBH, the PS4 wasn’t so much of an awesome Sony as it was a ‘terrible’ Microsoft message with TV TV TV. So the PS4, helped by it’s marginal power bonus, crushes the XBone and ARROGANT SONY returns..

    I just hope people don’t continue to flock to PS5 because they’re fanboys or hate MS. Companies should always be genuinely fighting for your dollar as you have choices. Yes, first party blah blah, but that argument is continually becoming tiresome as both have good first party games now and on the horizon (no pun intended), so vote with your wallet.

    • Until Microsoft overcomes the game deficit, I don’t think that’s going to change.

      But yes, Sony will have to continue to execute very well in its first party catalogue, and not have Microsoft deliver well to be able to maintain this level of arrogance.

      • We all continue to talk about Xbox’s lack of games, but Sony has hardly anything first party coming to the table for the rest of 2021, while Xbox has several.. Don’t get me wrong, the calibre of Sony games is top notch and MS still needs to prove that they can punch at that level.. (exclusing car games as I think the Forza series is definitely up there).

        • I completely agree, only talk about the game deficit as Microsoft hasn’t delivered yet.

          That being said, Sony’s game’s are starting to show a few cracks of mostly being generally quite simplistic open world action adventure games, Sony is definitely going to have to be careful going forward not to fall into its own hubris with its ‘game quality’.

    • It’s so much more than fanboys and console wars my friend.
      Love em or hate em, Sony’s success is based on strong customer satisfaction that’s stacked over three generations.
      (Obviously not everyone)

      I admit that I want as many free upgrades as possible but I also know that I’m in the group of folks who are just straight up looking for free stuff and cheaper games.

      • I’m curious which 3 generations you’re referring to (not trying to be a d*(k, I’m actually curious). I’ll admit, I’m a huge PS fan, but they’ve done some pretty shoddy stuff, even in the PS4 generation which came out strong but really faltered towards the end with indies dropping off and them relying on their sales lead rather than actually being customer centric.

        For me at the moment, the Dual Sense is the only thing that gives the PS5 any advantage, compared to Game Pass, Quick Resume and Smart Delivery being benefits of Xbox.

  • “Missed the mark”… seriously, you have a marketing, public relations and community management teams and you still try to “swing” this in front of people’s faces.

    This is not missing the mark, this is Sony drawing a greedy line in the sand that will just alienate PS4 users who can’t get a PS5. Especially since HZD was suppose to be the first PS5 only title, and they are producing a downgraded PS4 version cause THEY NO NO ONE OWNS A PS5.

  • The only thing this is doing, is ensuring i dont buy games until i get a ps5, and even then, also not buying those at launch cause of the price increase.

  • Booo. Stop being the fucking villains, Sony. Between this, fucking over devs with platform entry/support costs, actively fighting against cross-platform play/saves, and having no competitive answer to game pass no matter how hard they claim to try, Sony is doing their absolute best to drive people away from the platform.
    When are we getting access to more new xboxen? Stupid chip shortage.

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