PlayStation 5 OS now warns users if they are about to start the PS4 version of a game

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,912   +762
Staff member
Why it matters: With the PlayStation 5's ability to play PlayStation 4 games, it has become confusing for players to know whether they are playing the PS4 or PS5 version of cross-generational games such as Spider-Man Miles Morales. The functionality is seamless enough that users are unaware when the console is operating in compatibility mode.

In the latest update for the PlayStation 5's system software, Sony has added a pop-up warning informing players when they are about to run a PlayStation 4 game when an upgraded PS5 version is available. The box appears with options to either play the PS4 title or switch to the next-gen update (screenshot below).

One would think it should be easy to know whether you downloaded a game for PS4 or the PS5, but cross-generational bundles and Ultimate Editions muddle the issue because they contain both versions. An example of this is Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

Eurogamer reports that many customers who bought the CoD Ultimate Edition discovered that they were playing the PlayStation 4 version of the game once they installed it. This happens when users select "download all" instead of specifically choosing the PS5 version. It seems to be a mild downside to publishers offering free PS5 upgrades when they buy the game for PlayStation 4.

The new warning should help the situation, but there are some issues with its implementation. For one, selecting the option to play the PS5 version usually results in the game having to be re-downloaded and installed. For those with slow internet speeds, this could be a real pain.

It also means that users now have two versions of the same game taking up precious hard drive space. Deleting the PS4 copy is not hard, but it does create another step in the process of playing a single title.

Microsoft's Smart Delivery system is one thing it got right for the Xbox Series X|S. Smart Delivery ensures that players on any Xbox platform get the best version their system can handle by checking which console requested the download.

It does not seem to be a complicated system to implement. Even the most basic of websites run a browser check before serving up content. So we will probably see something similar in a future update for the PS5. In the meantime, players will have to make do with the warning notice or be sure that the correct version of a game installs in the first place.

Permalink to story.



Posts: 25   +34
Does anyone remember when you just hooked a console to a TV, put in a game, and played it? Maybe they should bring that back...



Posts: 763   +674
It's quite possible you'd want the PS4 version if it meant you was getting better performance but yeah PS5 would be the obvious default.


Posts: 241   +253
TechSpot Elite
There is a good, but rarely applicable reason a user may want PS4 version - PSVR mode, which is only available in PS4 titles. But this only concerns No Man's Sky and Hitman 3 - I don't think there are any other titles with both a PS5 version and PSVR support right now. So why not just default to PS5 version unless the game has PSVR support?

It's yet another small quirk in the console's UI. I've had PS5 for a week now and it's a nice machine with some very good titles, but the UX is a bit lacking. Xbox feels more intuitive and easier to use. Get it together, Sony, it's not that hard.


Posts: 235   +132
This is exactly how my IT Engineer job works - Make the guys supporting the endpoint fix the problem, not the root cause created by the server team.


Posts: 1,161   +796
I hope the save game transfers between the two versions, otherwise the loss of progress will suck.