Sony reneges on promise of Horizon Forbidden West free PS5 upgrade

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,217   +883
Staff member
In context: As the next-gen console wars began, developers started doing something we had not seen in previous generations. They have been making two versions of their games—one for the current breed of hardware and another for the exiting consoles. Many have offered free upgrades between platform families.

This new paradigm of creating two of the same game is understandable since both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have larger player bases. Couple that with the difficulty of getting a next-gen PS5 or XBSX, and it is also logical that they would provide a way for players without the newer systems to upgrade. However, this was bound to get muddled somewhere down the line.

On Thursday, Sony finally announced the pricing for its upcoming first-party title Horizon Forbidden West. The Standard Edition is $60 for the PlayStation 4 and $70 for the PS5. Then there is the Digital Deluxe Edition, which is $80. The most expensive version (not including the physical $260 Regalia Edition) comes with the usual perks—a digital comic book and soundtrack, some elite items and resources, and the like. It also says that it comes with both PS4 and PS5 versions of the game.

It might not seem abnormal at first, but it did cause enough confusion that Sony had to post a separate FAQ on its support website explaining how upgrading from the PS4 to PS5 would work. Under the question: "Can I upgrade my Horizon Forbidden West PS4 version to the PS5 version?" Sony states:

"To access both the PS4 and PS5 versions of Horizon Forbidden West, you need to purchase the Digital Deluxe, Collector's, or Regalla Editions. Dual entitlement does not apply to the Standard and Special Editions."

Another question—"Can I upgrade my Standard Edition to the Digital Deluxe edition of Horizon Forbidden West?"—is answered, "There are no plans for an update offer from Standard to Digital Deluxe Edition at this time."

Essentially, Sony is saying that if players purchase the Standard Edition for PS4, the only way they can upgrade is by buying the PS5 version (or Deluxe) for full price. So if they know they will eventually want to upgrade to the PS5 edition, they should purchase the Deluxe and save themselves $50.

What is confusing about this is that last year, just before the PlayStation 5 launched, Sony explicitly said that upgrades for Horizon Forbidden West would be "free." In fact, the PlayStation Blog entry that mentioned that is still posted.

"Additionally, we know that the PS4 community will transition to PS5 at different times, and we’re happy to announce PS4 versions of some of our exclusives. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Sackboy A Big Adventure, and Horizon Forbidden West will also launch on PS4. While these three games were designed to take advantage of PS5 and its unique next-gen features like the ultra-high-speed SSD and DualSense controller, PS4 owners will also be able to enjoy these experiences when they launch. The PS4 digital versions of launch games include a free upgrade on both PS5 consoles, while the PS4 disc versions of these games include a free upgrade on the PS5 with Ultra HD Blu-Ray disc drive."

Furthermore, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO and President Jim Ryan reiterated in an interview that upgrading Horizon from PS4 to PS5 would be free.

"No one should be disappointed," Ryan told The Washington Post. "The PS5 versions of those games [Horizon: Forbidden West and Spider-Man: Miles Morales] are built from the ground up to take advantage of the PS5 feature set, and we have an upgrade path for PS4 users to get the PS5 versions for free. It's about people having choice. I'm really quite pleased about the situation."

Apparently, there will be some "disappointed" to find out Sony is reneging on its word. Especially for those who may have already purchased the standard PS4 version thinking they could upgrade later. To borrow Ryan's words, the only apparent "upgrade path" from PS4 to PS5 is buying the Digital Deluxe Edition for $20 in the first place. That is not an upgrade, nor is it free.

Permalink to story.

 

SirDigby

Posts: 855   +692
TechSpot Elite
That's a real shame, many other games have a £20 or £30 deluxe 'upgrade', is it that hard to implement?
I'm getting the PS5 version anyway as I'm one of the lucky ones, and I'll probably get it on PC when it eventually comes out on there as well 5 years later, but I feel like the Devs could definitely implement an upgrade system.
 

texasrattler

Posts: 1,229   +577
Dev answer to Sony. Sony says what goes. Just like the rest of the devs who answer to Microsoft, EA and Activision. They say what can and cannot happen. Devs just make n try to fix games. They don't really have much say what goes on. They aren't the ones fitting the bill, the pubs are.
 
Last edited:

m4a4

Posts: 2,615   +3,225
TechSpot Elite
Man, Sony has reeeaaally been trying to make MS look good these past few years.

Like, how hard could it be to answer MS's "smart delivery" thing with their own, and champion it instead of looking even more greedy??

I would love to see Sony fans call them out on this and actually do something, but I don't have much faith in that happening (and it seems Sony doesn't either lol).
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 669   +509
So have folks already paid ?? - with the delay -if so then should put Kick starter edition in the title
 

brucek

Posts: 942   +1,363
We'll never know, but my bet is Sony actually loses money on not offering a $10 on-demand path. They are going to face expenses simply from answering the phone from the extremely pissed off purchasers who saw the earlier articles, relied on them, and found out later they were untrue; and then more so in managing whatever further bad press, customer complaints, small claims, or other retaliations are taken across the many jurisdictions Sony operates in.

Who's the genius who thought this was in Sony's interest and what did he or she think Sony stood to gain from it?




 

DukeJukem

Posts: 258   +276
"Horizon: Forbidden West and Spider-Man: Miles Morales] are built from the ground up to take advantage of the PS5 feature set."

yea I doubt that.
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 3,869   +1,920
Dev answer to Sony. Sony says what goes. Just like the rest of the devs who answer to Microsoft, EA and Activision. They say what can and cannot happen. Devs just make n try to fix games. They don't really have much say what goes on. They aren't the ones fitting the bill, the pubs are.
These are Sony games, which makes it even more of a scummy thing to do.
EA are the ones not doing this. Times have changed - for now.
 

bviktor

Posts: 545   +886
I don't quite understand why the PS5 is so darn popular, I really don't. As the other fella here said, they DO make MS look good. On the Xbox, you get cloud saves FOR FREE, and the Game Pass is just too good, especially with that Gold -> Game Pass semi-conversion trick for 3 years. The games you get with PS Plus are mediocre at best, there's maybe one notable title a year. Cloud backup is the only reason I'm still a subscriber, there's just no other value.
 

Mjswooosh

Posts: 65   +84
You've failed when you have to post an FAQ so people know how to buy your game.

Reminds me of EA's Anthem fiasco.

Mind boggling. 🤷‍♂️😅
 

Mjswooosh

Posts: 65   +84
I don't quite understand why the PS5 is so darn popular, I really don't. As the other fella here said, they DO make MS look good. On the Xbox, you get cloud saves FOR FREE, and the Game Pass is just too good, especially with that Gold -> Game Pass semi-conversion trick for 3 years. The games you get with PS Plus are mediocre at best, there's maybe one notable title a year. Cloud backup is the only reason I'm still a subscriber, there's just no other value.
100% agree.

The answer is largely momentum, brand awareness/perception (aka "Consumer Mindshare").

Xbox made massive strides with the 360 in this area and then Mattrick's crew pissed it all away with the debut of the One. It took Phil's crew 8 years to regain that lost consumer trust & point the ship in the right direction again.

The PS5 is thus far arguably riding on the coattails of the global phenomenon that was the PS4 & benefitting from their competitor losing their way. Simply put, more people immediately think of "Playstation" than "Xbox" when it comes to gaming.

But, every generation is different. And riding on the massive success of the prior gen will only take them so far. Sooner or later that anticipation of great exclusives needs to give rise to actual releases. Miles Morales, Demons Souls remake, Ratchet & Clank, and Returnal are great but simply not enough to carry the momentum much longer. They need to get other big releases out the door.

Meanwhile, Xbox has really turned it around on the back of Game Pass and that coupled with a stronger hardware design & anticipation of a strong exclusive lineup is finally picking up where the 360 left off. And as you noted, the Xbox ecosystem is arguably stronger with a better QoL feature design.

Personally, I've owned every Playstation & still think they arguably have had the best exclusives over the past two generations...but I find myself far more invested in the Xbox ecosystem at this point & that is where I do most of my gaming. I look at Playstation as my "Exclusives Box" and only sporadically pay for PS+ while I consider Xbox Live Gold to be an automatic monthly expense like Netflix. I'm even starting to think this way about Game Pass despite my massive backlog. It's just too good of a value to deny and I find myself discovering and playing games several times per week I would never try if I had to buy them separately.
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 1,740   +1,791
TechSpot Elite
I don't quite understand why the PS5 is so darn popular, I really don't
I can actually help with that because I have some first-hand experience.
Years ago, I was stationed in Okinawa and I travel a fair bit for business now.

Many countries like the US, kinda, and favor Asian\European goods. In fact, only Levi Bluejeans are Americas #1 seller in most of the world.

Now add in the large number of American nerdlings we have that go out of their way to ignore American companies, while also ignoring the sins of overseas companies that they act like is their mommy, and you have some seriously misdirected company support.

Think of it. How many damn Tomb Raider and Monster Hunter clones can Sony make\publish?
 
Last edited:

Inthenstus

Posts: 62   +73
TechSpot Elite
I don't quite understand why the PS5 is so darn popular, I really don't. As the other fella here said, they DO make MS look good. On the Xbox, you get cloud saves FOR FREE, and the Game Pass is just too good, especially with that Gold -> Game Pass semi-conversion trick for 3 years. The games you get with PS Plus are mediocre at best, there's maybe one notable title a year. Cloud backup is the only reason I'm still a subscriber, there's just no other value.

It’s ugly as ****. The worst console I’ve seen, it’s MASSIVE.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,615   +3,225
TechSpot Elite
Blog was updated; they backtracked. The upgrade is free now.

Sony shouldn't need a public flogging to do what they already promised, but whatever.
Looks like they actually will for this game. Maybe enough people did actually cancel preorders (or the like) for them to see how dumb this move was.

And it looks like they're going to (mostly) commit to better first-party upgrade paths
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.

— Jim Ryan, President & CEO, Sony Interactive Entertainment

*To upgrade an eligible PS4 game on disc to the digital PS5 version, you will need a PS5 console with a disc drive. PS4 game discs can’t be used with the PlayStation®5 Digital Edition.
Man, they really want their extra for PS5. But at least they finally seem to be answering MS's solution with something...
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,073   +3,925
TechSpot Elite
These are Sony games, which makes it even more of a scummy thing to do.
EA are the ones not doing this. Times have changed - for now.
EA are just as scummy as they ever were if not more now. For example, the same thing is happening for FIFA 22, the standard edition won't have dual entitlement, just the ultimate edition.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,851   +4,522
Who buys games at these prices? I mean if it doesn't end up being given away on Plus it will still come down substantially over time.
consoomers have to consoom, after all. Anyone with a brain will wait a year or two until the game is $15 on sale, given it's single player.
I can actually help with that because I have some first-hand experience.
Years ago, I was stationed in Okinawa and I travel a fair bit for business now.

Many countries like the US, kinda, and favor Asian\European goods. In fact, only Levi Bluejeans are Americas #1 seller in most of the world.

Now add in the large number of American nerdlings we have that go out of their way to ignore American companies, while also ignoring the sins of overseas companies that they act like is their mommy, and you have some seriously misdirected company support.

Think of it. How many damn Tomb Raider and Monster Hunter clones can Sony make\publish?
I'm pretty sure the reason PS sells so well is due tot he momentum built up around the last 4 consoles and their strong software libraries over "OMG its japanese uwu". Before the PS3's software library finally got fixed it was getting ROFLstomped by the xbox 360. Even though the PS4 had the weakest library of the 4, MS obliterated their own chances with the xbox one's disastrous launch.
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 1,740   +1,791
TechSpot Elite
I'm pretty sure the reason PS sells so well is due tot he momentum built up around the last 4 consoles and their strong software libraries over "OMG its japanese uwu".
Like I said, I don't see that it was so much "OMG it's Japanese uwu" as much as it was "OMG it's not Microsoft."

Before the PS3's software library finally got fixed it was getting ROFLstomped by the xbox 360
Really? I honestly would have though it was the other way around. I thought the 360 got stomped early because of the Red Ring issue, and it came on strong a few years later.
 

Kosmoz

Posts: 462   +814
Now lets see if this news of Sony's change will make it into another article, or just the negative press sell here in techspot...
 

Rdmetz

Posts: 340   +163
Who buys games at these prices? I mean if it doesn't end up being given away on Plus it will still come down substantially over time.

I buy em day 1 beat em and then sell them most of Sonys games are only worth a playthrough or at most a platinum trophy then you move on most of them in a week or some just a weekend (looking at you ratchet and clank rift apart) by doing it this way I never really spend more than a rental and get roughly the same experience.

Normally I'd own the digital version so having a "physical copy" isn't something I would miss.

Sony won't get any more of my money than I can possibly give them. No ps+, psnow, or any thing else I can avoid.

And the minute the system is of no use it goes as well.

My ps5 was paid for almost in full ($350) from selling my ps4 pro and I'll do the same as soon as a upgrade to the ps5 is available.

Sony has some good one and done movie like experiences but outside of that I think everything they do is pretty scummy so I won't support them any more than I have to.