How to Upgrade PS4 Games to PS5

You can upgrade your old PS4 games to their PS5 versions, but there are a few things about that process you should know about.

PlayStation 5
Photo: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Have some old PlayStation 4 games you’ll always love? Don’t throw them out just because you have a PlayStation 5; upgrade them to experience glorious raytraced 60 FPS action (where available).

The PlayStation 5 has a ton of selling points, from haptic feedback controllers to a lightning-fast SSD. However, one of the console’s best features is its ability to play older games at resolutions and framerates that surpass the PlayStation 4. Even titles developed prior to the reveal of the PS5 can get in on the action. Now that PS5 stocks are finally catching up with demand, more gamers than ever can, as the commercials claim, “play like never before.”

Here’s a quick and dirty guide to help you get the most out of your PS4 library through the PS5’s upgrade system.

How to Upgrade Physical PS4 Games to PS5

Physical games are a dying breed. Don’t believe us? Last year, 90% of all game sales in the UK were digital. But no matter how many people prefer digital games, physical copies will always have a place in gamers’ hearts. Thankfully, there’s a fairly straightforward way to upgrade your physical PS4 games to PS5.

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In order to upgrade a physical copy of a PlayStation 4 game to PS5, simply start by inserting the disc into your PS5 (so long as it comes with a disc drive, that is). When the console reads the game disc, its icon will pop up on your home screen, complete with the game’s name and the disc format. For instance, if you inserted Immortals Fenyx Rising, you should see the PS4 icon before the title “Immortals Fenyx Rising.” If this is your first time inserting that disc, the PS5 will start copying the game. If an upgrade is available, the console will ask you if you want it. Select yes, and the PS5 will start downloading the game files.

If you delete that game due to space issues (we’ve all been there) and want to reinstall it, you will have to redownload the PS5 upgrade files. To do so, start by once again inserting the disc, which will bring up the game’s icon. Highlight it and press down on the analog stick to enter the game’s hub. There you will see several options, including “Copy,” which lets you install the PS4 version directly from the disc onto the console. But you don’t want that; you want the superior PS5 version. Press right on the analog stick to highlight the button with the three dots, and then select “View Product.”

This option will bring you to the game’s store page. Depending on the title, the store page might bring up the PS5 upgrade, which you can then download by pressing the button that says “Free,” buying the upgrade (more on that later), and then selecting “Download” once your purchase is complete. If the store page doesn’t bring up the PS5 upgrade immediately, just press the button with the three dots on the store page to bring up different versions of the game, one of which should include the PS5 upgrade.

How to Upgrade PS4 Digital Games to Digital PS5

Even though many gamers keep their discs so they can play titles on future-compatible platforms, companies are slowly learning about the power of backward compatibility. For instance, if you bought a PlayStation 4 game digitally, you can download it directly to your PlayStation 5. Better yet, if the game is eligible for a free PS5 upgrade, you can download the PS5 version instead.

If you want to upgrade a digital PS4 game to PS5, search for your PS4 game either in the PlayStation Store or your game library under the “Your Collection” tab. Once you find the game, select it to enter its hub and then select the upgrade offer, just as you would with the physical version. Then select “Download.”

What Are the Rules, Restrictions, and Costs for Upgrading a PS4 Game to PS5?

When Sony initially announced the PS5 upgrade program, the company promised that most (if not all) upgrades would be free. Why should anyone be charged again for a game they already own? True to their word, many PlayStation 4 games do indeed come with free downloads. Well, many more recent titles, at least. If you want to upgrade games such as Borderlands 3, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Horizon Forbidden West, you can do so without grabbing your wallet. However, not all games provide that option.

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Some titles, such as Death Stranding and Ghost of Tsushima, will charge gamers money for a PS5 upgrade. However, that’s partially because the PS5 doesn’t just offer the vanilla versions of those experiences. For instance, when upgrading Ghost of Tsushima, players aren’t buying just a better-looking game; they’re getting the Director’s Cut with extra DLC. On the other hand, some PS5 upgrades lock players out of content. Anyone who owns the PS4 version of Final Fantasy VII Remake can upgrade it to the PS5 version free of charge, but they will miss out on the Yufi-centric INTERmission DLC unless they buy it separately.

Before anyone installs a PS4 game onto a PS5, they should double-check to see if an upgrade is even available. Games such as Red Dead Redemption 2, Shadow of the Colossus, and Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain all receive better performance thanks to the PS5 hardware brute-forcing the experience, but they do not offer official PS5 upgrades. In other words, be sure to keep your expectations somewhat in check.