Sony is making this complicated
2018’s Spider-Man is headed to the PlayStation 5, but buying it won’t be straightforward. Sony has confirmed to Kotaku that Spider-Man Remastered — the updated PS5 version — won’t be sold as a standalone title or offered as a free upgrade for existing Spider-Man owners. Instead, the only way to buy it will be as part of the $69.99 Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition bundle, which couples the PS5 version of the upcoming spinoff with Spider-Man Remastered. (Miles Morales typically costs $49.99 on its own.)
The issue is, as with several other cross-generational games, there are actually two versions of Spider-Man: the regular PS4 version that’s been around since 2018 and a new edition of the game called Spider-Man Remastered, which will feature specific next-gen improvements to take advantage of the PlayStation 5, like faster load times and ray tracing. (The games are separate enough that you apparently won’t be able to transfer save files between them.)
Some developers — like CD Projekt Red or Ubisoft — are allowing players to upgrade to the next-gen versions of their games for free. Others, like 2K Games or Control publisher 505 Games, are charging players for their next-gen-optimized versions.
The confusion (both for Sony and in general) is the fact that the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X and S are still both backwards compatible — which means that for players unwilling (or in the case of Spider-Man, unable) to shell out to buy the game again for next-gen, you’ll still be able to play the current-gen versions of those games on your new console.
The difference is that backwards compatible titles will lack the enhancements and improvements of the next-gen versions. The best example of this is Cyberpunk 2077, which will support the Xbox Series X and PS5 through backwards compatibility to the Xbox One / PS4 when it launches, but it will release a free next-gen version for existing owners later on.
Sony is compounding this issue by offering free upgrades for some cases, and paid ones in others. Buy Spider-Man: Miles Morales for the PlayStation 4, and you will get a free upgrade to the PS5 version. Already own the original? You’ll have to rebuy it again on PS5, assuming you want the remaster’s graphical and performance improvements. And then, as an added insult to injury, it seems that the only way to buy that remastered edition will be through the pricey $70 bundle.
As such, there remain three ways to play Spider-Man on a PS5:
- Buy Spider-Man on PlayStation 4, which will run as a standard, backwards compatible version of the game on a PlayStation 5 (currently sold as a “complete edition” bundled with DLC for $39.99 on the PS Store). It’ll lack the PS5-specific enhancements of the remastered edition, though.
- Buy Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales on the PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 (which includes a free upgrade to Miles Morales on the PS5) for $49.99. You’ll then have the option to pay the extra $20 to upgrade to the Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition to get Spider-Man Remastered — but you’ll still have to own Spider-Man: Miles Morales to start.
- Buy Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition ($69.99), which includes the PS5 version of Miles Morales and Spider-Man Remastered.
It seems that Sony wants to make sure that it’s matching Microsoft for next-gen console confusion.