Sony Interactive Entertainment had categorically stated that first-party games will be exclusive to PlayStation 5 by flaunting that next-generation games can only be playable on next-generation hardware. Sony has now surprisingly announced that games previously set for PS5 will be releasing for PS4 as well.
Horizon Forbidden West, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and Sackboy: A Big Adventure, the latter two being launch titles, were all confirmed earlier today for PS4 with free next-generation upgrades to PS5. Demon’s Souls, another launch offering, may possibly land on PS4 as well once an alleged timed exclusivity period ends. Seeing how Horizon Forbidden West has been slated for 2021 or 2022 by some accounts, the newly announced (and much-anticipated) God of War: Ragnarok sequel could also be cross-generation.
Speaking with Washington Post in a recent interview, Sony CEO Jim Ryan stated that PlayStation 4 will continue to be “supported” for at least three or four years. He also reaffirmed support for current-generation players in another interview with Games Industry by noting how the “PS4 community…is going to be incredibly important to us for many years to come” and how “we intend to keep that going and to love and respect the PS4 community” while moving at the same time “into a world of game experiences that are only possible on PS5.”
Ryan was most probably pointing out that PS4 still has a couple of years at minimum before bowing out of the ten-year console lifecycle. Those who were anxiously waiting for their exclusive PS5 experience though are naturally pondering over the broken messaging. If there are not going to be PS5-only exclusives, should they stick to their PS4 consoles until prices drop?
Microsoft is following a similar approach and one which was openly communicated with the community where cross-generation support for Xbox One will continue for two more years. Hence, Sony could be planning to support PS4 with cross-generation first-party games for the same period if not more.
One thing to consider is that Sony might have been marketing PS5 out of context. That there will be some first-party games that can only run on PS5. Hence, the bit about next-generation games being playable only on next-generation hardware. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart from Insomniac Games is a good example in that regard. Its gameplay mechanics allow players to open portals to pull in entire levels and worlds within seconds, something that can only be possible with the lightning-fast solid-state drive of PS5.
In any case, Sony Interactive Entertainment needs to provide clarification on the matter and soon since PlayStation 5 launches worldwide on November 12, 2020.