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Yet another PS4 to PS5 upgrade is needlessly confusing on Sony’s console

Key hero artwork from A Plague Tale: Innocence
(Image credit: Asobo Studio)

A free next-gen upgrade for A Plague Tale: Innocence released on PS5 and Xbox Series X on July 6, but once again the process hasn’t been smooth sailing for PlayStation 5 owners when it comes to transferring existing save data.

On Xbox Series X, those who already own A Plague Tale: Innocence on Xbox One or who had previously downloaded the game from Xbox Game Pass can enjoy automatic cross-progression when the game is updated, which means players’ save data will carry over. 

On PS5, though, it’s a different story. For those who own the PS4 version of the game, you need to make sure the latest patch for the PlayStation 4 has been downloaded, upload your save file to the cloud (if it hasn’t done so automatically), and then download the save on your PS5 console before starting the game. Otherwise, you’ll have to start from scratch.

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This isn’t the first time the PS5 has asked players to jump through extra hoops to carry PS4 save data across, but it's still just as frustrating when you compare it to the experience on Xbox, where things are completely seamless thanks to Smart Delivery.

There are multiple examples of the PS5 failing to allow players to transfer PS4 save data over smoothly to a PlayStation 5 version. Sometimes save data fails to carry across at all, like in Doom Eternal, where PS5 players have no choice but to start from the beginning, or the process of getting your PS4 save data on PS5 requires a step-by-step guide, like in Marvel’s Avengers, which isn’t ideal.  

Missed delivery

The lack of Smart Delivery on PS5 also means that those who have sold their PS4 copy of a game like A Plague Tale: Innocence or didn’t upload their save file into the cloud might have to start afresh. 

The PS5 version of A Plague Tale: Innocence is one of the free games for PS Plus members this month, but it’s also resulted in some users seeing the PS Plus version as their copy, despite trying to upgrade from their PS4 version. The worry is that should they stop subscribing to PS Plus, their copy of A Plague Tale: Innocence will no longer be accessible.

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PS5 owners also run into issues previously in ensuring they were downloading the right version of a game, with the distinction between the PS4 and PS5 copy of a game not always clear. 

Thankfully, Sony has now added a warning to PS5 that will let players now their launching the PS4 version of cross-gen games.

Smart Delivery on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S might have seemed like a buzzword or marketing spiel at the beginning, then, but it's clear Microsoft's system for upgrading games to next-gen is superior than Sony's hotchpotch method. Hopefully Sony can iron out some of these issues in the future, as it really shouldn't be this complicated to update a game and carry on playing from where you left off. 

Adam Vjestica

Adam is a Senior Gaming Writer at TechRadar. A law graduate with an exceptional track record in content creation and online engagement, Adam has penned scintillating copy for various technology sites and also established his very own award-nominated video games website. He’s previously worked at Nintendo of Europe as a Content Marketing Editor and once played Halo 5: Guardians for over 51 hours for charity. (He’s still recovering to this day.)