PlayStation 5 – Is the PS5 Worth the Upgrade?


So the PlayStation 5 is out now, and while many of you have already received your preorders and are playing through the newest games at the highest resolutions and frame rates available on consoles, still many of you have delayed putting one in your cart and checking out. Hesitation is normal with new tech. After all, you already have a perfectly good PS4, right? Is the PS5 really worth forking out $500 for right now?

The question of value is a tough one to answer, something that’s highly individual to each person. As a longtime PlayStation diehard, I was always going to get one (actually, two. One for my wife) anyway. It’s also kind of my job, so that factors into the sense of value I place on the new console and having it on day one. You can read my review of the console to get the lowdown on all of its features and capabilities under real world use, but if you’re still one of those who hasn’t ordered the PS5 yet, the question still remains: Is the PS5 worth the upgrade?

Despite the nuance this question entails, and without diving into your personal finances or private life, I am going to attempt to answer this question the best I can.

Is the PS5 Worth the Upgrade?

Backwards Compatibility

One of the biggest considerations for me is in backwards compatibility. In past console generations, the new console has more or less made a clean break and left the previous system behind. If you still had a lot to play on the old console and there wasn’t much you were interested in on the new one, it was okay to wait to pick it up until later.

However, the PS5 is unique in that it’s quite literally an upgrade, not a clean break product change. It will run your PS4 games better in most cases and seamlessly carry over your PS4 library without much effort. Even if there’s not much in the way of PS5 games you want right away, having a PS5 is an immediate improvement to your PS4 library (and there will almost certainly be something you’re interested in on PS5 down the line).

In this respect, upgrading to the PS5 now isn’t a waste or leaving your PS4 library behind in favor of the new console. You won’t need to juggle two consoles while you finish your old games. In fact, I’ve been using my PS5 to play a whole lot of FUSER, a PS4 rhythm game from the creators of Rock Band and Guitar Hero that just recently released. If your concern is for your PS4 library, then don’t worry. PS5 lets you take it all with you.

Launch Lineup

Right now, the launch lineup of PS5 games is rather sparse. A good number of games are cross-gen, coming to PS4 as well. Among those, many also offer free upgrades to the PS5 version for when you do decide to upgrade. There are a few limited exclusives, like the pre-installed Astro’s Playroom and Bluepoint’s Demon’s Souls remake, but for the most part, there’s nothing you need a PS5 to play right now.

demons souls gameplay

Games like Call of Duty Black Ops Cold WarSpider-Man Miles Morales, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Bugsnax, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Watch Dogs Legion are all available on PS4 too, but they play and look much, much better on PS5. A lot of these games will let you carry your save over too, but if you want to play the best versions of these games right away, it’s worth picking up the new system.

Load Times

Honestly, visuals aside, one of the biggest elements of next-gen gaming I’ve been impressed with has been the quick load times for everything. It’s staggering how much time we’ve wasted in the past on long load screens. It’s to the point that I instinctively pick up my phone while playing PS5, but never actually get the chance to look at it. Even last-gen games played via backwards compatibility benefit from faster loading times. This feature alone is worth upgrading for.

Storage Expansion and Other Optimizations

One of the only reasons I would say it’s not worth it to upgrade just yet for anyone on the fence would be Sony’s delay on elements like storage expansions, menu organization options, and improving the 3D audio capabilities. The PS5 is in its infancy right now, and numerous features and optimizations are sure to come over the next year or so. I’m personally already capped on SSD storage space, already requiring the promised storage expansion options that aren’t here yet. I’m already annoyed at how my games are pushed off the main dashboard. And the 3D audio isn’t quite as revolutionary to my ears as it was first made to seem. Of course, if you are waiting for Sony to “perfect” the console, you’ll be waiting forever.

DualSense Controller

One point strongly in favor of the upgrade? The revolutionary DualSense controller. Besides just how a game looks and performs, the DualSense actually changes how it feels to play a game. Weapons in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War each feel different thanks to the adaptive triggers and haptic feedback. Astro’s Playroom is one of the most delightful sensory experiences just based on the controller implementation alone.

dualsense face buttons

Sure, it may not impact old PS4 games much, if at all (certain games like The Last of Us Part II and God of War do have updates that make use of the DualSense), but for those cross-generation and PS5 exclusive games, it’s worth playing them on PS5 just for how they feel to play them. Yes, it’s a big enough difference to warrant a whole new console.

Verdict – Is the PS5 Worth it?

The PS5 has perhaps one of the strongest arguments for early adoption of any previous console, mostly thanks to backwards compatibility with PS4 games. There is virtually no downside to upgrading, so if you have the money to, I’d say it’s worth it to jump in and go along for the ride. You won’t be leaving behind your PS4 library, and virtually everything is an improvement over last-gen, aside from some minor elements that are sure to be fixed soon. There’s almost zero friction in moving from the PS4 to the PS5.

In my review of the PS5, I said that it is one of the most meaningful evolutions to gaming we’ve ever had. Between the faster load times, the DualSense controller, and maintaining your PSN profile over the PS ecosystem, it’s a great opportunity to be a part of the new console on the ground floor without feeling like you are leaving behind last generation to do so. It’s certainly not a necessary upgrade right away. You could easily get away with keeping your PS4 around for another year with few downsides (and Sony plans to support the PS4 for at least a couple more years) but if you’ve got the money to spend on the new console, I’d argue that the PS5 is well worth the upgrade whenever you can make it.

Are you one of the people still holding off on getting a PS5? Let us know why in the comments below. Do you already have your PS5 in hand? Tell people why it’s worth (or not worth) the upgrade in the comments.

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