We Need to Talk About Sony’s Lack of Smart Delivery

By Thomas Newcomb

September 3, 2021

Sony’s lack of Dual Entitlement for the hotly anticipated title Horizon Forbidden West is causing grief for PS4 players.

Yesterday, Sony revealed Horizon Forbidden West’s editions as the hotly anticipated title to become available to preorder. The game is receiving five different editions and eagle-eyed fans quickly noticed that the Standard Edition and Special Edition will not include dual entitlement for both PS4 and PS5. Instead, this is being reserved for the Digital Deluxe Edition and more expensive physical editions of the title.

This is a direct contradiction to what Jim Ryan told The Washington Post last year where he said “No one should be disappointed,’ Ryan said. “The PS5 versions of those games are built from the ground up to take advantage of the PS5 feature set, and we have an upgrade path for PS4 users to get the PS5 versions for free. It’s about people having a choice. I’m really quite pleased about the situation.”

Horizon Forbidden West – Gameplay Trailer

Horizon Forbidden West – Gameplay Trailer

It is worth noticing that Horizon Forbidden West is available to preorder on PS4 for £59.99, whilst the PS5 version is more expensive at £69.99. Fans who have not upgraded to PS5 yet are left in a very frustrating situation. They can either:

  • Buy the PS4 version at launch, and possibly double dip in the future if they decide to upgrade to PS5.
  • Wait until they get a PS5 and then purchase the PS5 edition.
  • Buy a more expensive version to ensure their game will be compatible on PS5 later down the line.

None of these solutions are ideal and it is very similar to the Ghost of Tsushima debacle from last month. Sony announced a Director’s Cut which was fully priced on PS5 and included new content set on Iki Island. Owners of the PS4 version could upgrade and receive the new content for £15.99. If you wanted to upgrade to the PS5 version you could pay a more expensive £24.99. Thankfully, they did improve the system by which you upgrade save data from PS4 to PS5 versions here.

The whole process seems like a mess, particularly when compared to Xbox’s Smart Delivery program. Here, simple installing an Xbox One game on a Series console will automatically upgrade you to the highest quality version playable. Eden Marie, Engineering lead at Xbox tweeted out this- and she is completely right

Upgrading from PS4 to PS5 is not a consistent process as well. Sackboy: A Big Adventure and Spider-Man: Miles Morales both featured free upgrade paths. However, if you wanted to upgrade 2018’s Spider-Man to the PS5’s remastered edition you are required to purchase a more expensive version of Miles Morales or upgrade through that title.

All of these stories explaining lengthy and pricey upgrades to PS5 versions are constantly bad press for Sony. It highlights the advantages of their competition and if Sony simply conformed to the industry norms they maybe could avoid it.

Personally, I think Sony’s logic is they want gamers to upgrade to PS5 as quickly as possible. They produce first-party games to sell their hardware, so titles like Horizon Forbidden West are being marketed to encourage people to upgrade to PS5.

So far, this generation has been the fastest selling in Sony’s history without many major next-generation exclusives. Players are simply happy to upgrade so they can play on the most recent hardware, especially if it makes their older games perform better.

The whole debacle is going on a bit too long. The players most affected by this are those who haven’t upgraded to PS5 yet- being forced to make a decision is hardly going to motivate them to stick with Sony. Players need to be united and voice their concerns to Sony about their distaste for this business practice because ultimately, it’s a pretty bad look for them.

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Thomas Newcomb

Tom has recently joined us as part of our writing academy. Many of his favourite games are RPGs such as Persona, Mass Effect and Final Fantasy. When he isn’t levelling up his stats he can be found listening to Korean idols.

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