Moving to next-generation consoles was supposed to be much easier this time around. Microsoft is trying its best to ensure that’s the case through efforts like cross-gen exclusives and Smart Delivery. The latter ensures you can buy a game once for Xbox One, Xbox Series X, or Xbox Series S, and play it on any of those consoles.
If a game supports Smart Delivery, you could go back and forth between your living room Series X and bedroom Xbox One and keep playing with the same save data.
Sony’s next-gen shift is far messier. It’s not doing itself or gamers any favors due to its unclear messaging on several fronts.
The latest bugbear for many is Sony’s treatment of cross-saves and cross-progression. It emerged last week that gamers can’t carry forward Marvel’s Spider-Man PS4 saves to the PS5 remaster (or get a free upgrade to that version).
Yakuza: Like A Dragon has the same cross-save issue. If you start it on PS4 in November and you want to play on PS5 when it hits that console March, you’ll have to start over.
Reports suggest other PS4 games with a free PS5 upgrade won’t allow save porting either.
As Washington Post reporter Gene Park wrote on Twitter Monday:
Hearing a lot from different devs that PS4 saves won’t work on PS5. Xbox Series X seems to bring your old save files with you.
He removed that tweet and later clarified :
Deleted this tweet because i noticed it was quickly getting interpreted as any confirmation about how save states will work for PS4 to PS5. it’s not strictly about [backward compatibility], it’s about PS5 upgrades like Spider-Man: Miles, Yakuza.
Given that we’re less than two months from next-generation consoles arriving on our doorsteps, Sony and publishers have to do a much better job explaining which games support cross-saves. Even then, the situation is messy.
If you pick up Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla on release day on PS4 and you get a PS5 for Christmas, would you really want to start over just a few weeks later?
Cross-saves alone probably won’t be enough to convince Xbox One or PS4 owners to jump to the other side of the tracks for the next generation. Most gamers have probably made their minds up.
But the lack of clarity from Sony is jarring, especially when Microsoft’s is more straightforward, offering enticing options like Game Pass.