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Can I upgrade to the PS5 for free? Here‘s what you need to know

Hey friend! If you‘re a PS4 owner wondering whether you can upgrade to the powerful new PS5 console for free, I‘ve got you covered. I‘m Mike, a gaming and tech expert who has researched PS4 to PS5 upgrades extensively. In this detailed guide, I‘ll walk you through all the ins and outs so you can upgrade affordably and keep your game library intact. Let‘s dive in!

The short answer

Not all PS4 games enable free PS5 upgrades, but many of Sony‘s biggest first-party titles do. Popular games like God of War, Spider-Man, Horizon Forbidden West, and Gran Turismo 7 offer free next-gen updates if you own them on PS4 already. But there are some catches depending on physical vs digital ownership. Keep reading for the full scoop!

What does a PS4 to PS5 upgrade actually do?

Upgrading gives you the superior PS5 version of the game to play on your new console. The PS5 edition is optimized to take full advantage of the more powerful PS5 hardware. You‘ll benefit from:

  • Lightning fast load times – Games load in seconds thanks to the PS5‘s ultra-high speed SSD. No more getting up to grab a snack while levels load!

  • Higher 4K resolutions – Crisp, sharp visuals make games look better than ever on 4K TVs. The PS5 GPU pushes up to native 4K on many titles.

  • Higher 60fps frame rates – Buttery smooth animation for super responsive gameplay. Some games even support 120fps modes!

  • 3D audio – Super immersive spatial sound when using headphones on PS5. You‘ll hear pinpoint sounds from all directions.

  • DualSense coolness – The amazing PS5 controller adds tactile feedback and dynamic trigger resistance tailored to each game.

So upgrading can massively improve your experience replaying a favorite PS4 game on shiny new PS5 hardware. But not all upgrade paths are straightforward…

Free upgrades for PlayStation Hits games

The good news is many of Sony‘s biggest first party games offer free PS5 upgrades if you own them on PS4 already. We‘re talking killer exclusives like:

  • God of War
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Uncharted 4
  • The Last of Us Remastered
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Days Gone

Sony also confirms that all of their upcoming major releases will include free next-gen upgrades for PS4 owners. So future exclusives like Horizon Forbidden West and Gran Turismo 7 can be upgraded free.

To claim your free upgrade, you simply need to:

  1. Install any latest patches on the PS4 version
  2. Visit the game page on the PS Store and "claim" the PS5 upgrade
  3. Download the upgraded PS5 version
  4. Optionally transfer PS4 saved data to PS5

Then you can blast through these epic games again on PS5 while enjoying 4K visuals, lightning load times, and buttery smooth frame rates up to 60fps or beyond. Free upgrades are a huge perk for PlayStation loyalists.

The disc vs digital dilemma

Here‘s the catch with free upgrades – the fine print varies for physical disc vs digital PS4 game owners.

For upgraded digital titles, you can play the PS5 version anytime without needing the original PS4 game installed. It‘s tied to your PSN account.

But if you own the disc version of a PS4 game, you‘ll need to insert the disc every time you want to download or play its PS5 upgrade. Bummer!

So digital owners get more convenience out of free upgrades. But discs still work if you don‘t mind swapping them.

Paid upgrades are common for third-party games

While Sony rolls out free upgrades for its flagship games, most third-party publishers like 2K, Activision, and Ubisoft have opted for paid next-gen upgrades. These usually cost $10-$30 extra to upgrade PS4 games to PS5.

Some examples requiring paid upgrades include:

  • Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War ($10 to upgrade)
  • Borderlands 3 ($10 next-gen upgrade)
  • Control Ultimate Edition ($30 for PS5 edition)
  • FIFA 21 ($27 to upgrade to next-gen)

Similar to free upgrades, you purchase the PS5 upgrade on the PlayStation Store then download the shiny new native PS5 version. Paid upgrades enable publishers to monetize gamers transitioning consoles.

Dual entitlement – get both PS4 and PS5 games in one purchase

To simplify upgrades, some new releases come in Dual Entitlement bundles that include both the PS4 and PS5 versions of a game. Examples include:

  • Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War
  • Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla
  • Far Cry 6
  • Marvel‘s Avengers

When you buy these digitally, you immediately own copies on both PS4 and PS5. This lets you play on either console with the same purchase. It‘s super convenient for gaming across generations.

Backwards compatibility still works too!

Here‘s one more bit of good news – all your PS4 games are backwards compatible on PS5 even without upgrading them. Pop in any PS4 disc or access your downloaded PS4 games and they‘ll run just fine on PS5.

Backwards compatible PS4 titles benefit from the PS5‘s speedy SSD and beefier CPU/GPU. So you‘ll see faster load times and smoother performance when playing non-upgraded games this way.

Of course buying PS4 games on disc requires you grab the standard PS5 with disc drive. The PS5 Digital Edition omits the drive so it only plays digital games.

How to upgrade like a pro

Now that you know the upgrade landscape, here are my pro tips for making the leap affordably while keeping your progress:

  • Claim any free PS5 upgrades right away so you "lock them in" permanently on your account.

  • Back up your PS4 save data on external USB or to PlayStation Plus cloud storage. Then you can transfer progress to PS5.

  • If buying disc-based PS4 games, go for the standard PS5 with 4K Blu-ray drive. This lets you upgrade discs later.

  • For maximum convenience, buy digital copies or Dual Entitlement combos that include both PS4 and PS5.

  • Consider if paid upgrades are "worth it" versus just playing the PS4 version via backwards compatibility.

  • Use external drives or cloud storage to manage PS5 SSD space when juggling both PS4 and PS5 games.

  • Look for holiday PS5 bundles that pack in upgraded PS4 hits like Horizon Forbidden West at a discount.

The verdict – well worth upgrading!

Given the huge technical leap the PS5 represents, upgrading your favorite PS4 games is extremely worthwhile. Their load times, visuals, performance, and immersion improve enormously.

Sony‘s commitment to providing current PlayStation owners with a largely frictionless (and even free) upgrade path is commendable. With smart purchasing and data management, you can cost-effectively transition your PS4 library to PS5.

Just be sure to research each game‘s exact upgrade terms. I hope this guide gave you clarity on the process and pitfalls to avoid! Let me know if you have any other PS4 to PS5 upgrade questions. Enjoy that ultra-smooth next-gen gaming!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.