Free PS5 Game Upgrade Gets Clearest Hint, Thanks to an EA Executive

Publisher EA has offered the clearest indication yet that Sony is planning a cross-generation PlayStation 5 free upgrade feature.

Sony has remained unusually quiet in the build-up to the next-gen PlayStation 5 (PS5) launch as gamers await more information on cross-gen game purchases.| Source: YouTube/PlayStation

  • EA’s most recent earnings call sheds light on the publisher’s next-generation plans.
  • CFO and COO Blake Jorgensen points towards free upgrades to next-gen versions of current-gen games.
  • This could be the clearest sign yet that Sony is planning a similar features to Xbox’s Smart Delivery.

Publisher Electronic Arts (EA) has offered the clearest indication yet that Sony is planning a free cross-generation game upgrade for the PlayStation 5 (PS5) in a feature similar to Xbox’s Smart Delivery technology.

EA Earnings Call

In the company’s most recent earnings call with shareholders and investors, EA touched on its next-generation plans, which include free next-gen upgrades to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X for several of its upcoming current-gen games.

The move would see EA match similar policies adopted by the likes of Ubisoft and CD Projekt Red. They’ve confirmed both Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Cyberpunk 2077 as the first confirmed titles that will make use of Xbox’s Smart Delivery feature.

Smart Delivery is set to be one of the cornerstones of Microsoft’s next-gen strategy to ease the generational transition. It allows players to buy a game once and play it on both the existing Xbox One and Xbox Series X due for release at the end of 2020. Xbox will make the upgrade to the next-gen version available at no extra cost.

Speaking about financial forecasts for the year ahead, EA CFO and COO Blake Jorgensen explains during prepared remarks:

Note that this year the phasing includes the effect of revenue recognition from the games we are launching for the current generation of consoles that can also be upgraded for free for the next generation.

First Sign of Free PS5 Upgrades

The use of the plural ‘consoles’ is particularly interesting as this suggests that EA isn’t limiting its strategy to Xbox’s Smart Delivery. EA could be referencing a PlayStation 5 feature that Sony has yet to announce.

Source: Sony Interactive Entertainment

It’s worth noting that short of further clarification, EA could be referencing the backward compatibility functionality of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 as much as Smart Delivery-style free upgrades to next-gen versions of games.

With Microsoft’s next-gen Inside Xbox scheduled for tomorrow, we might not have to wait long for clarification.

Last modified: September 23, 2020 1:54 PM

Thomas Bardwell: UK-based writer covering the video game industry. Email me | Bug me on Twitter