505 Games explain why only Control Ultimate Edition will get free next-gen upgrades

Last week, 505 Games and Remedy announced a new Control Ultimate Edition release of the hit 2019 game, bundling together all of the existing content with free cross-gen upgrades to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. However, this comes at the cost of leaving behind anyone who already purchased the game on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

You will not be able to upgrade – free, paid of otherwise – those versions of the game. Quite a few people are understandably a bit narked about this, and so 505 Games have now tried to explain the decision:

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We spent several months exploring all of our launch options for Control Ultimate Edition and no decision was taken lightly. While it is challenging bringing any game to next gen platforms, we quickly realised it was even more difficult to upgrade our current user base to next gen with full parity across platforms with our year-old game.

Every avenue we pursued, there was some form of blocker and those blockers meant that at least one group of players ended up being left out of the upgrade for various reasons. As of today, we can’t offer an upgrade to everyone, and leaving any one group out feels unfair. We understand that is not what you want to hear.

As explanations go, that’s as clear as mud.

For those hoping to play the game on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, the two options are: play the original current-gen release via backward compatibility, or purchase the Ultimate Edition which will have next-gen enhancements and includes the content of the original release and its DLC expansions.

Outside of the free next-gen upgrade, there’s no difference in content between the upcoming Ultimate Edition and buying the current Deluxe Edition or base game with a Season Pass. The major difference is price. Though it has been on sale as low as £15.99, Control is currently sat at its RRP of £49.99, and the Season Pass for £19.99 and the Deluxe Edition for £64.99. The Ultimate Edition is not on sale until 10th September digitally for PS4 and Xbox One, and will cost £29.99 at that time.

I own the Control base game and Season Pass. Is this not the same as Control Ultimate Edition?
The objective of Control Ultimate Edition was not to release new exclusive content on the next gen platforms, but to offer the full Control gameplay experience to new Control players in a single, easy-to-find product. The PlayStation 5/Xbox Series X versions of Control contain the same content as the current gen game, though they do take full advantage of the power and features provided by these new consoles.

The upgrade path that we are offering is only possible when upgrading from the same version of the game. As we are only doing additional development on Control Ultimate Edition on the next gen platforms, we are unfortunately unable to offer an upgrade path to all existing Control players. We understand how this might upset a number of players but you will still be able to play the 2019 edition of Control and each Expansion on the new platforms.

All of this has left me scratching my head a little. Sure, there’s Microsoft’s assertion to developers that upgrades should be free and not paid DLC, and so that has ruled out the possibility that 505 might have wanted to explore of charging a nominal fee for upgrading. However, Microsoft have a number of games that will or have launched before Series X and get free cross-gen upgrades via Smart Delivery. Developers must enrol to the programme early, but the option is there to gain access to dedicated infrastructure.

While 505 Games have not described what any of the “blockers” are (meaning that they haven’t really explained much of anything, it’s possible that they might have wanted to explore of charging a nominal fee for upgrading to pay for the additional dev time required. However, Microsoft’s assertion to developers that upgrades should be free and not paid DLC probably put paid to that.

If the company wanted to offer the upgrades for free across the board, that is obviously possible, with Microsoft offering Smart Delivery cross-gen upgrades for new and existing games, and Sony accommodating similar upgrade paths without a concerted branding effort.

But basically, 505 have heard that people are a bit miffed about this, but they’re not about to U-turn like they’ve handed out a bunch of duff A-levels to people.

Source: 505 Games

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7 Comments

  1. So if they haven’t explained it, we’ll just have to assume they wanted more money but weren’t allowed to charge for an upgrade.

    On the plus side, I never paid for it. Only played it when it was on PS Now. So maybe with a PS5 version and the DLC included, I’ll give it another go. Although I might just make a point of waiting until it’s on sale.

    It was a reasonably entertaining game, but horribly broken on the PS4. What did the review here say? 9/10? With some “minor performance issues”? Those minor issues were enough to make it unplayable at times and worth about 6/10.

  2. If the original version is playable via backwards compatibility i don’t really see the issue tbh. However Remedy have created this situation by choosing to allow a free upgrade for one version only. Could they not also offer an upgrade for the standard version for a nominal fee?
    But yeah, their statement is clear as mud lol

    • If the PS5 situation is anything like the PS4 Pro, then Sony won’t allow upgrades to cost anything.

      But there’s always the loophole of including the upgrade with some other DLC. Maybe sell a costume or even just a hat that just happens to come with the PS5 upgrade included?

      Or a PSVR version? It seems Sony have no problem with people selling PSVR upgrades. Although that would run into the issue that the game performs terribly on the base PS4, so I doubt Sony would pass a PSVR version if it had to run on the PS4. (Which could turn into an issue for other games too. I’d happily pay for a PSVR upgrade to many things on the PS5, but will Sony allow it if it has to run on the PS4 too? Elite Dangerous was never allowed a VR upgrade because it didn’t meet Sony’s standards, at least on the base PS4)

    • No, because Microsoft have said no to paid upgrades, and there could be some kind of most favoured nation clause to keep things level between PS and Xbox with pricing and options. That’s why we have the divide with NBA 2K21 special edition having next-gen upgrades, but not the standard edition.

      I think they’ve dug themselves a bit of a hole.

      • You might be on to something blaming MS for it since they mention “full parity across platforms”. Could that mean Sony would allow a paid upgrade but they can’t go down that route to keep MS happy?

        And haven’t those sorts of agreements got companies into trouble before?

      • MFN clauses have got people into trouble when they reduce competition and are used for price fixing. We do know that Microsoft historically said to devs that they were either on Xbox on day one, or that they had to offer some kind of Xbox exclusive content when timed exclusivity came to an end, so they have agreements in the same region.

        So yes, my suspicion is that Microsoft’s policies have prevented 505 from charging for an upgrade. That has then led them to create a unique SKU on digital stores, and that could be difficult for them to backtrack from.

  3. Fak them

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