Game Guides

How to Upgrade From PS4 to PS5 – Everything You Need to Know

Some tips for those looking to make the upgrade.

by Kenny Keelan

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With the release of the PlayStation 5 on the horizon, some people are wondering how to go about making the move into the next console generation but as backwards compatibility seems to be available for most games right from the start and some developers are offering game upgrades right from the system’s launch, the choice of how to make the jump from PS4 to PS5 may be harder than ever. We’ve got just the thing, though, as this guide looks to break down all of the information you’ll need to help make your choices to dive deep into the new console generation.

All the Games that Have Free Upgrades

As it stands, right now, some developers are trying to incentivize players to move to the PlayStation 5 by offering free upgrades of the PlayStation 4 version of some of their games. As of this writing, all of the games that are currently available for a free upgrade are:

  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  • Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & The Secret Fairy
  • Borderlands 3
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (Must own Cross-Gen Edition or Ultimate Edition on PS4 to get free upgrade to PS5 version. Standard edition owners can pay an extra $10 for the upgrade to the PS5 version)
  • Control (Free upgrade for anyone who owns the Ultimate Edition on PS4. If you have the original release from 2019, you are not eligible for a free upgrade)
  • Cyberpunk 2077 (PS4 version includes free upgrade patch to PS5 version at launch, additional free PS5 upgrades promised via a patch in 2021)
  • Dead By Daylight
  • Destiny 2 
  • DiRT 5
  • DOOM Eternal 
  • Far Cry 6
  • FIFA 21 (PS4 version includes a free upgrade to PS5 version at launch for one year)
  • Grand Theft Auto V 
  • Hitman 3 (Free upgrade to the PS5 version for PS4 digital owners only)
  • Horizon Forbidden West
  • Immortals: Fenyx Rising
  • Kena: Bridge Of Spirits
  • Little Nightmares II
  • Madden NFL 21 (Free upgrade to the PS5 version of Madden NFL 21 up until the point of Madden NFL 22)
  • Maneater
  • Marvel’s Avengers 
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales (Free upgrade to PS5 version ONLY if the Ultimate Edition is purchased)
  • Monster Boy and The Cursed Kingdom
  • Mortal Kombat 11
  • NBA 2K21 (Free upgrade to the PS5 version if you purchase the Mamba Forever Edition of the game on PS4)
  • Outriders
  • Planet Coaster: Console Edition
  • Puyo Puyo Tetris 2
  • Rainbow Six Siege
  • Riders Republic
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure
  • Subnautica/Subnautica: Below Zero (Free upgrade to the PS5 version in 2021 for owners of the PS4 version)
  • The Elder Scrolls Online
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Watch Dogs Legion
  • WRC 9
  • Yakuza: Like A Dragon

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Console Versions

It would look like the only real difference between the PlayStation 5 and its Digital Edition are the presence of an optical drive, meaning that you cannot play any kind of physical media on the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition. If you don’t have too many physical copies of games and you have a sizeable SSD you load your digital games onto, the Digital Edition may be for you; the same goes for those who would use the PlayStation 5 primarily as a streaming box.

Otherwise, generally, you’re going to want to get the regular PlayStation 5. There is a price difference between the two, too, so be aware of that when you make your choice between the systems.

How PS4 Games Work on the PS5

Probably one of the biggest questions raised when Sony started talking about backwards compatibility with PlayStation 4 games is how exactly it would work with the PlayStation 4 beyond simply being playable. As of this article’s writing, almost all games available on the PlayStation 4 will be compatible with the PlayStation 5 and will work as they should, whether through the digital or physical versions. Much like playing games on the PS4 Pro, PlayStation 4 games that weren’t optimized for the PS4 are able to engage with a “boost mode” where general performance and appearance are boosted. Games that were optimized for use with the PS4 Pro will appear as they would on the PS4 Pro. It should also be noted that Boost Mode can be disabled, much like old iterations of this on older consoles, in case it causes issues with the games in question.

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Some developers are updating their games to have optimizations specific to use with the PlayStation 5, meaning that there will be four ways to experience PlayStation 4 games on the PlayStation 5: there will be the base experience, the boosted experience, the PS4 Pro-like experience, and the PlayStation 5 optimized experience for your PlayStation 4 games. PlayStation 5 optimization, though, seems to be happening in a very limited fashion.

Should You Sell Your PS4 Console?

Right now, if it wasn’t for the fact that everyone is having literally the same idea, I would strongly suggest that you trade up to the PlayStation 5 the moment you can but I don’t think the demand for a PlayStation 4 will be enough to mitigate the saturation of people looking to sell their PlayStation 4 to make money towards getting a PlayStation 5. I mean, this really depends on what private selling is like in your area – something I strongly suggest you exercise caution with – but with stuff like eBay, the market is going to be generally overflowing with used PlayStation 4 systems, no doubt.

If a local game store has some kind of trade up option, I would suggest you take advantage of that as it would give you the best chance at making the process smooth and without complication. It would seem that the console is all you really need to worry about, though, as most peripherals and USB read accessories are also compatible with the PlayStation 5.

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Transferring Your Saves and Games from PS4 to PS5

Like I said earlier, your physical copies of your PS4 games will be able to be played right from the moment you turn your PlayStation 5 on. Transferring your digital copies and your game saves can be done either through a digital cloud backup or through a physical media backup, such as a thumb drive or an external SSD. If you’ve already been saving your games and saves to an external drive, you’re supposed to be able to move it directly to the PlayStation 5 and it would work much the same.

It would seem that Sony has made a very strong case for incentivizing players to upgrade to their new PlayStation 5 system but hasn’t made it appear that Sony will be forgetting the PlayStation 4 once the launch period has passed. It would appear that no matter how you decide to move forward, there’s all kinds of great options for you should you want to purchase a PlayStation 5.

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