PlayStation Spider-Man Upgrade Snub Sets a Troubling Precedent
- Sony has confirmed PS4 owners of Marvel’s Spider-Man will need to pay for an upgrade to the remastered PS5 version.
- The news once again highlights the lack of clarity in the gaming giant’s backward compatibility messaging.
- Spider-Man: Remastered may be illustrative of what to expect from PS5 versions of other major first-party PS4 titles.
In a statement shared with the folks over at Kotaku, PlayStation has confirmed there is no free upgrade path for owners of Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4 to the remastered PS5 edition.
Instead, Sony is offering different paths, all of which include a monetary component. We’ll hand over to the statement itself, which incidentally set the stage for some sweet revenge for Xbox:
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered is an enhanced version of Marvel’s Spider-Man, and is included as part of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition for the PlayStation 5. In addition, players who purchase Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales on PlayStation 4 can upgrade at no additional cost to the PS5 version of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and can take advantage of a paid-upgrade to download Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered.
There are no plans currently to offer Marvel’ s-Spider-Man: Remastered as a standalone. Players with a copy of Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4 can purchase Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition to experience Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered on PS5. Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4 also will be backwards compatible on PS5.
PlayStation’s Confusing Backward Compatibility Messaging
This feeds into Sony’s confusing messaging surrounding PS5 backward compatibility that, less than two months away from the console’s launch, remains in many aspects a mystery.
Most recently, Sony Interactive Entertainment chief Jim Ryan explained plans to support backward compatibility for 99% of PS4 titles. A reassuring figure, though we still don’t know if Sony plans to support all of these at launch, nor has it offered any clarity about the practicalities, specifically whether inserting a PS4 disc into the new console will suffice.
Furthermore, Sony recently announced the PlayStation Plus Collection, an anthology of sorts bundling a selection of the most popular PS4 games playable on PS5 at launch.
While the Collection does indicate that games such as Bloodborne, God of War, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End will work on PS5, it raises questions. Chiefly, we don’t know whether their playability on PS5 will be exclusive to the Plus Collection or extend to existing disc and digital copies. I doubt we’ll see Sony gate-keeping such high profile titles from backward compatibility, but the messaging doesn’t make this abundantly clear.
Sony stopped short of sharing details about any potential performance improvements the PS5 hardware may offer to these games.
On this front, all we have to go on is an update to a PlayStation Blog post dating back to March. It notes that Sony expects backward compatible titles to run at a boosted frequency on PS5, benefiting from higher or more stable frame rates and possibly higher resolutions.
Other First-Party PS4 Games
And what of other major first-party PS4 games such as Horizon Zero Dawn, Ghost of Tsushima, and The Last of Us Part II, glaringly absent from the PS5’s Plus Collection? Will these work out of the box? Will Sony paywall next-gen versions with enhancements like Spider-Man Remastered?
Suppose Spider-Man serves as any measure of what to expect, it’s conceivable Sony may attach a premium to PS5 versions of these games. Especially if PlayStation re-releases them as ‘remastered’ next-gen versions that feature enhancements that take advantage of the PS5’s hardware.
Sony’s sketchy Spider-Man policy sets a worrying precedent that may bleed into other games from its acclaimed roster of first-party PS4 exclusives.
In contrast to Microsoft’s clear Smart Delivery policy, there’s a sense Sony is making all this unnecessarily convoluted.
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