When Horizon: Forbidden West opened up pre-orders it was a little confusing, to say the least. The game had about 5 versions that could be preordered, two versions (Digital Deluxe and Special Edition) cost the same amount though only one came with an upgrade to next-gen, and most versions came with a digital version of the game to actually allow for both versions of the game. There was also no path of upgrade outlined, implying you could only upgrade through certain versions.
After a swift backlash from fans over this policy, it looks like Sony and Guerilla games will be backtracking on this policy and allow for players to upgrade even if they did not get the version’s marked to allow this. In a PlayStation Blog post from President & CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment Jim Ryan, he explained how the company “missed the mark” on how they rolled out pre-orders, and that everybody that buys the game on PS4 will be able to upgrade to PS5 free of charge.
While this is a welcome change of policy, in this case, moving forward the company stated that its free upgrades were no longer part of Sony’s plans. Jim Ryan stated as part of this blog:
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.
This policy change already seemed to be part of the plan as several recent games have only offered paid options to upgrade, including the upcoming Death Stranding: Director’s Cut though you also get the additional content as part of the upgrade.
This policy will only directly affect first-party games for Sony, such as the upcoming God of War. Third-party studios such as Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, or CD Project Red will not be affected by this policy as they can choose how they choose to offer a next-gen pathway.