After a few days of consistent criticism, Sony has U-turned and announce that copies of Horizon Forbidden West bought for PlayStation 4 will now receive a free upgrade to the PlayStation 5 version of the game. Additionally, they have made clear that there will be a flat $10 upgrade fee for cross-gen game upgrades going forward. This includes for games like God of War: Ragnarok and Gran Turismo 7.
Sony President and CEO Jim Ryan gave the update on the PlayStation Blog:
Thursday was to be a celebration of Horizon Forbidden West and the amazing team at Guerrilla working to deliver it on February 18, 2022. However, it’s abundantly clear that the offerings we confirmed in our pre-order kickoff missed the mark.
Last year we made a commitment to deliver free upgrades for our cross-gen launch titles, which included Horizon Forbidden West. While the pandemic’s profound impact pushed Forbidden West out of the launch window we initially envisioned, we will stand by our offer: Players who purchase Horizon Forbidden West on PlayStation 4 will be able to upgrade to the PlayStation 5 version for free.
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.
The furore over this started on Thursday as pre-orders went live and Sony revealed a number of special and collector’s editions of the game. At that time, the PlayStation 4 version was priced at $59.99, while the PlayStation 5 version was $10 dearer at $69.99, however the only way to get a cross-gen version was to purchase the £79.99 Digital Deluxe Edition. There was no way to upgrade from PS4 to PS5 if you bought the standard version, or even the “Special Edition” physical edition. Dual Entitlement was reserved for the Digital Deluxe and much fancier Collector’s and Regalla editions of the game – these came with a digital code in the box instead of a disc.
This put an awful lot of noses out of joint and was significantly different to how Sony had considered cross-gen games up until this point. For Spider-Man Miles Morales at launch, you had free upgrades, while for games like Ghost of Tsushima or Death Stranding you can pay a $10 upgrade from the PS4 to PS5. This announced plan was much closer to the likes of NBA 2K or the upcoming FIFA 22. Not the best company for Sony to be keeping in the eyes of the gaming community.
Worse, it seemed that Sony was backtracking on a commitment made last year where they said that launch window cross-gen games would have free upgrades. At the time that was expected to include Horizon Forbidden West, though the game has been delayed several times since then. Certainly, Sony weren’t keeping to the spirit of their previous pledge.
This U-turn is significant in that it backtracks all the way to a fully free upgrade, instead of a paid one that many would have found to be fairly reasonable, considering the higher RRP that Sony wants their PlayStation 5 games to hold. At the very least, it’s good to know that Sony will have simple paid upgrades in future with a simple $10 “pay the difference” upgrade plan for the next God of War and Gran Turismo 7.
Horizon Forbidden West will be coming out for PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 on February 18th 2022.
Source: PlayStation Blog