The short answer is – it depends. Some PS4 games offer free upgrades to the PS5 version, while others require you to purchase the PS5 edition separately.
With the launch of the PlayStation 5 in November 2020, Sony enabled forward compatibility for supporting your existing PS4 game library on the new console. This opens up questions for PS4 owners looking to transition to next-gen – can I upgrade my PS4 games to fully optimized PS5 versions? And if so, is the upgrade free?
The upgrade process and cost varies between games. In this detailed guide, I‘ll walk you through everything you need to know as a gamer about upgrading from PS4 to PS5. You‘ll learn:
- How to upgrade your PS4 discs and digital games to PS5
- Which PS4 titles offer free next-gen upgrades
- What to expect by upgrading with PS5 enhancements
- Tips for transferring save data and rebuilding your game library
Let‘s dive in!
How to Upgrade PS4 Games to PS5
The process for upgrading PS4 games depends on whether you own a physical disc copy or purchased the game digitally.
Upgrading PS4 Discs to PS5
If you want to upgrade a PS4 disc game to the PS5 version, first pop the PS4 disc into your PS5 console. From the main menu, scroll down to the “PlayStation Plus Collection” section. Find the PS4 game tile and select it to open the game hub.
Within the game hub menu, look for the option to “Upgrade to PS5 Version” if one is available. Select this upgrade offer to be taken to the PlayStation Store listing for the PS5 edition. Download it directly to your PS5 and you‘re good to go!
Upgrading PS4 Digital Games to PS5
For digital PS4 games, go to the PlayStation Store on your PS5 or use the PlayStation App to access your library. Find the PS4 game you want to upgrade either by searching or under the “Purchased” section of your library.
When you open the game page, check if there is a PS5 upgrade offer. If so, select “Upgrade to PS5 Version” and download the next-gen edition straight to your console.
That‘s all there is to it! Both physical discs and digital PS4 games can be upgraded right on your PS5 system.
List of Major PS4 Games with Free PS5 Upgrades
The most exciting upgrades are those that allow you to get the PS5 version at no extra cost. Here is a list of the major PS4 games that offer free next-gen upgrades:
|Assassin’s Creed Valhalla||Action RPG|
|Borderlands 3||Looter Shooter|
|Control Ultimate Edition||Action-Adventure|
|Cyberpunk 2077||Action RPG|
|Dead by Daylight||Multiplayer Horror|
|Destiny 2||Online FPS|
|Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition||Action-Adventure|
|Far Cry 6||Action-Adventure|
|FIFA 21||Sports Simulation|
|Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade||JRPG|
|Ghost of Tsushima Director‘s Cut||Action-Adventure|
|Horizon Forbidden West||Action RPG|
This covers most of Sony‘s big first-party games and plenty of the most popular third party titles. But it‘s not an exhaustive list, so make sure to check for upgrade options on any of your favorite PS4 games.
According to my analysis as a gaming industry expert, Sony has been very consumer-friendly with their free upgrade program for PS4 to PS5. This incentive gives players a chance to experience these titles as the developers intended – with next-gen power.
These free upgrade offers have been a huge win for users looking to transition console generations without having to re-purchase games at full price again.
Paid Upgrades When Free PS5 Versions Aren‘t Available
Unfortunately, not every PS4 game qualifies for a free upgrade to PS5. For major titles that don‘t offer a next-gen upgrade program, you‘ll have to purchase the PS5 version separately if you want to play the optimized edition.
Based on my research, here are some examples of popular PS4 games with paid upgrades for PS5:
- Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War – $10 upgrade fee
- Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time – $10 upgrade fee
- Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales – $20 upgrade from Marvel‘s Spider-Man PS4 version
- Madden NFL 22 – $10 upgrade fee
- Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate – $10 upgrade fee
- Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – $10 upgrade fee
For most paid upgrades, it seems the fee is around $10 – $20 to get the native PS5 edition. This isn‘t terrible, but can add up if you want to upgrade a large PS4 library without free options.
My advice would be to focus on upgrading your absolute favorite PS4 games that you want to replay. For casual games, you can just rely on backwards compatibility on PS5 rather than paying extra.
What Do PS5 Upgrades Add Over PS4 Versions?
If you do decide to upgrade select PS4 games to the PS5 editions, what enhancements and improvements can you expect?
Here are the key technical benefits based on my comparisons between PS4 and PS5 versions of cross-gen games:
- Higher Resolution – Native 4K on PS5 vs 1080p on PS4/PS4 Pro
- Better Framerates – Up to 120fps on PS5 vs 30fps or 60fps on PS4 consoles
- Faster Loading – Virtually instant thanks to PS5 SSD vs slower HDD loads on PS4
- Ray Tracing – More realistic lighting only available on PS5 hardware
- 3D Spatial Audio – Immersive sound with Tempest Engine on PS5
- DualSense Features – Advanced haptics and adaptive triggers on PS5 controller
The specifics will vary by game, but in general you can expect noticeably improved visuals, performance, loading times, and audio immersion when playing a PS5 upgraded version. For some titles like Spider-Man or Horizon Forbidden West, the differences are dramatic.
As a tech enthusiast, seeing games transformed with PS5 power is super exciting. Even if you have to pay a bit for select upgrades, next-gen enhancements like ray tracing and 4K/60fps gameplay can make it worthwhile.
Transferring PS4 Save Data to Pick Up Where You Left Off
A great benefit of upgrading your games to PS5 is carrying over your PS4 save data. This allows you to continue right where you left off with all progression intact.
Here are the different methods to transfer PS4 save files to your shiny new PS5 console:
PS Plus Cloud Storage
- Upload PS4 save files to PS Plus Cloud Storage
- Download those saves to your PS5 when playing the upgraded game
USB Drive Transfer
- Copy PS4 saves to a USB storage device
- Plug the USB drive into your PS5
- Upload saves from the drive onto your PS5 internal SSD
- Download saves when launching the PS5 version
Wi-Fi Data Transfer
- Use the built-in Wi-Fi data transfer in PS5 settings to automatically port PS4 save data over to your new console
As long as you have an active PS Plus membership, cloud storage is the most seamless method. But all three options allow you to continue your gameplay progress when upgrading to PS5.
Rebuilding Your Game Library on PS5
Beyond specific game upgrades, it‘s worth looking at the big picture – how can you effectively transition your full PS4 game library over to PS5?
Here are my tips as a gaming industry analyst on rebuilding your collection:
Audit your PS4 backlog to see which unfinished games you want to upgrade first. Prioritize your must-play titles.
Take advantage of PS4 to PS5 free upgrade offers for big first-party games when available.
Weigh the value of paid next-gen upgrades for your favorite PS4 games that don‘t have free options.
Consider re-selling PS4 discs you won‘t replay after upgrading to free up funds.
Rely on PS5 backwards compatibility for casual PS4 games. You can still enjoy faster load times without paying for upgrades.
Wait for sales on PS5 editions of cross-gen games you‘re interested in but aren‘t urgent.
Balance PS4 upgrades with trying new PS5 exclusives so you get a taste of both generations.
With smart prioritization of upgrades and leveraging backwards compatibility, transitioning your PS4 library over to PS5 is very manageable.
To wrap up, here are the key points for understanding PS4 to PS5 game upgrades:
The process for upgrading PS4 discs or digital games is simple – check for upgrade offers within your game hubs on PS5.
Many major PS4 titles offer full free upgrades, though some require paid upgrades around $10-$20.
Upgraded PS5 versions provide huge technical improvements from visuals to performance and immersion.
You can continue your gameplay progress by transferring PS4 save data to PS5.
Focus on upgrading must-play PS4 games, rely on backwards compatibility for others.
With some strategic upgrades and backwards compatibility, you‘ll have the best of both PlayStation generations available on your PS5 console.
So don‘t hesitate to explore upgrading your PS4 library to take full advantage of new next-gen features and power. PlayStation has made the transition very smooth for getting more out of your existing game collection. Have fun!