Sony capped off today’s PS5 showcase live stream with numerous additional details on the PlayStation Blog. One of those details revealed that three big games positioned as PS5 exclusives will actually be headed to the current-gen PS4 as well. Horizon: Forbidden West, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and Sackboy’s Big Adventure will all be available on the PS4, reducing the lineup of true next-gen PS5 exclusives that Sony has. Players who buy the PS4 versions will get upgraded to the PS5 version at no cost to help ease the transition between consoles.
In an interview with Washington Post, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO and President Jim Ryan laid out the reasoning behind the cross-generation titles. “No one should be disappointed,” Ryan said. “The PS5 versions of those games 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.”
Still, it’s left a bad taste for some who took to heart Sony’s comments about believing in the generation leap/gap. The criticism is that titles also designed to work on PS4 are not reaching their full potential on the next-gen console. It’s also been a major criticism aimed at Microsoft’s strategy with the Xbox; a key component of the persistent console war that fanboys of both consoles continue to engage in. Ironically, this move now leaves Sony with fewer confirmed PS5 next-gen exclusives than there are Xbox Series X next-gen exclusives, thought that will likely change as we enter the first year of the console.
The fact is that there are over 112 million PS4 consoles out there right now. Even in the first full year, Sony’s install base for the PS5 won’t be anywhere close to that, so the PS4 is still an enormous community of players that need to be supported and maintained through the transition to next-gen. Digital versions will get digital upgrades, though disc versions will require the disc edition of the PS5 to get the next-gen upgrade, so consider that when making your purchase.
Here’s the full text from the PlayStation Blog post:
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.
Ryan expects that there are a good three or four years left of life in the PS4, saying it will still be an “incredibly important” part of the PlayStation ecosystem during that time. Still, there are a number of games that are (so far) only going to be headed to PS5, including Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart and Bluepoint’s Demon’s Souls remake.
Sony revealed the price and release date of the PS5 today, with the $499/$399 console available on November 12th in limited regions and November 19th in additional locations. Preorders are open now, kind of.