I want to get something out of the way before I dig into Sony for the baffling decision to make the PS4 to PS5 upgrade for Horizon Forbidden West as unfriendly to consumers as possible. I am a huge Horizon Zero Dawn fan, it’s one of my all-time favorite games, and I’m genuinely excited about Horizon Forbidden West.
With that being said, what Sony is doing is extremely frustrating and disappointing. Essentially, if you want to upgrade Horizon Forbidden West from PS4 to PS5, you’ll need to purchase the Deluxe Edition priced at $80 (USD). Next-gen upgrades are not included with the Standard Edition.
Sony Won’t Offer Free Next-Gen Upgrades for Horizon Forbidden West
Unless Sony changes their mind (if they do at all), there’s no way to upgrade Horizon Forbidden West for free. It’s a decision from Sony that has left many upset as it had previously been implied that the PS4 to PS5 upgrade for Horizon Forbidden West would be free.
It makes sense too as Microsoft is in direct competition with Sony, and Microsoft offers consumers easy next-gen upgrades via Smart Delivery. When Xbox owners purchase a game with Smart Delivery, they’re able to upgrade to next-gen for free without needing to jump through a bunch of hoops to do so.
It works, and it works well.
In my opinion, next-gen upgrades on PlayStation platforms should be free not only because it helps Sony compete with Microsoft’s Smart Delivery, there’s also a serious shortage of PS5 consoles on the market right now.
And unfortunately, the shortage is unlikely to be resolved by the time Horizon Forbidden West is released on February 22, 2022. As reported back in May by outlets like Bloomberg, sources at Sony have indicated that supply is unlikely to catch up to demand by 2022.
In struggling to meet consumer demand, the least Sony could do is assure consumers that PS4 purchases will allow for free next-gen upgrades once the consumer is able to secure a PS5.
Sony also should be more open to supporting the PlayStation 4 in general as they’re much easier to acquire, and can still play amazing titles like Horizon Forbidden West. Will the game look as good on PS4? No, but it’ll still be an amazing experience, and a way to continue Aloy’s story following the events of Horizon Zero Dawn.
Even if the supply of PS5 consoles were to improve prior to the launch of Horizon Forbidden West, another thing to keep in mind is that the cost barrier is still high for many people.
Even at the lower price of $400 (USD) for the Digital Edition (as opposed to the $500 cost of the PS5 with an Ultra HD Blu-Ray Disc Drive), that’s a lot of money to drop all at once.
In a time when people have been losing work due to the pandemic, are at risk of losing their homes as they’re unable to pay rent, and having difficulty returning to work safely, spending $500 just isn’t something that’s easy to do.
Ultimately it’s up to Sony to decide whether they want to change things around and do something similar to Microsoft’s Smart Delivery. I hope they change their mind, but I’m also keeping my expectations realistic.
Unless there’s major pushback from consumers over things like Horizon Forbidden West having no free upgrade path, I don’t see Sony changing the way they do business.