It would be fair to say that the PlayStation 5 UI launched with a few quirks to it, with some of the most confusing surrounding cross-gen games, free upgrades from the PS4 and the way the console loves to install both versions of a game and suck up more of the SSD than it needs to.
Obviously Sony have been working on this for the past month and a bit, and if you’re trying to play the PS4 version of a cross-gen game, the system will now pop up a message to confirm that you’re playing the version that you mean to.
— Tidux (@Tidux) December 22, 2020
Though some people are saying on social media that this occurred previously, to the best of our knowledge and personal experience, it is a recent development.
Up until now, you had to figure things out for yourself, whether it was opening up the game’s menu and checking which console was ticked under “Game Version”, and I personally had the PS Store download both PS5 and PS4 versions of Destiny 2 when I snagged the next-gen upgrade… which was a bit of a head scratcher.
While a bit of a brute force method, the pop up will do the job when you have both PS4 and PS5 versions of a game installed. Why would you want that, though? Well, if you have a PSVR headset, you’ll need the PS4 version of a cross-gen game in order to access any VR modes available for it. No Man’s Sky is one such example, and the upcoming release of Hitman 3 will require you to boot up the PS4 version to play the exclusive PlayStation VR mode.
It’s an inelegant solution compared to Microsoft’s system on Xbox. There, a backend feature and cross-gen ownership that they branded Smart Delivery ensures that you can only download or install an appropriate version of a game. They have their own mildly confusing situation for cross-gen games when dealing with external storage. While Series X|S Optimised games can only be run from the internal SSD or an SSD expansion, there are games like Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Sea of Thieves that are merely “aware” of the new hardware’s power and can be run from a HDD.
Source: Tidux via VGC