Home Gaming PSA: Your new PS5 is going to download PS4 versions of cross-gen games first

PSA: Your new PS5 is going to download PS4 versions of cross-gen games first

3 min read

Happy PlayStation 5 week! In a few hours many of you will be going hands-on with the PS5 at long last, which happens to be a marvel of engineering and baffling decisions in the software department. While I still need to do my full review of the PlayStation 5, I’m still keen to see what Sony’s first-party output is going to be like over the next few years on that device.

But when it comes to third-party games? For now, I’ll stick to the Xbox Series X as the PS5 has an incredibly aggravating setup when it comes to downloading games. People who got their consoles last week have all reported numerous times when the PS5 downloaded the PS4 version of a game instead of the shinier next-gen version, even when they’d specifically selected the upgrade.

I’m still trying to figure out why the console even does this, but here’s a prime example for you: Code for Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War arrived, I started the download and found out that I’d have to grab the game again after the PS5 gave priority to the PS4 version. If you’re on a capped internet account and you’re dreading downloading over 400GB of pew pew pew in a single day, then this is you right now:

So what’s the real difference between versions? Beyond the obvious graphical dip in quality, the PS4 version of Cold War also doesn’t have any of the fancy DualSense haptic feedback to wow your hands with, which is a big draw for the PS5. Activision’s response so far has been to post a workaround instructing players to click the “three dots” icon and choose the PS5 full version of Cold War so that you can go and commit war crimes with a buffer version of Robert Redford.

I only found this out after I’d grabbed the PS4 version overnight, but I at least thought it would help with any other games I had in my library that I wanted to try out the PS5 versions of. I was wrong, very wrong, as my Dirt 5 download also defaulted to the PS4 version despite me making certain that I had earmarked the PS5 version for download.

Naturally, I’ve sent Sony a short video detailing my frustrations:

Curiously, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales hasn’t involved me shredding my throat raw in pure unfiltered despair to a point that Linkin Park would sue me for infringing on their copyright. There’s a lot to love about the PS5 console that I’ll cover in my review this week, but its software has so far left me divided.

The user interface has some of the coolest features with genuine forward-thinking, while other features such as the buggered download priority that favours last-gen over new-gen is giving me a proper headache. Compare that Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and its Smart Delivery system that just works and automatically gives you the best version of a game, and the PS5 is lagging behind in the latest console war pissing contest on this front.

The point of all this text? Be prepared for a few chunky downloads this week until Sony can offer a fix.

Last Updated: November 17, 2020

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