More than two-thirds of physical copies of Horizon Forbidden West sold in the UK in its first weekend were for the £70 PS5 version, despite the cheaper PS4 box offering the same content for less money.
According to GfK sales data first published by GamesIndustry.biz, 68% of boxed sales during Forbidden West’s launch weekend were for the PlayStation 5 version, whereas the remaining 32% were on PlayStation 4.
However, players who purchase the PS4 version – which is priced at £59.99 in the UK, compared to £69.99 for the PS5 version – get a free PS5 upgrade.
This essentially means that 68% of players who bought physical versions of the game in the UK spent £10 more than they needed to.
The game is the UK’s second-biggest PS5 launch so far, behind launch game Spider-Man: Miles Morales which was also released on both PS4 and PS5.
The pricing anomaly is due to a U-turn made by Sony following backlash to its statement that “dual entitlement [did] not apply to the standard and Special Editions” of Horizon Forbidden West.
The news meant that players would only get a free upgrade if they purchased more expensive versions, a move that appeared to contradict SIE CEO Jim Ryan’s comments in the past about cross-gen launch window titles getting free upgrades.
It appeared that because Horizon Forbidden West had been delayed to after the launch window, Sony wasn’t including it in this offer. However, following widespread negativity by the game’s fanbase, Sony changed its mind and said players who bought the PS4 version would get a free upgrade to the PS5 version.
However, as VGC reported earlier this month, players buying the game through their PS5 console are only given the option to purchase the £69.99 / $69.99 PS5 version, even though the £59.99 / $59.99 PS4 version contained exactly the same content.
Only players who access the store via a web browser or the PS4 console are given the option to purchase the PS4 version for £59.99 / $59.99, which includes a PS5 upgrade for free.
The practice was called into question by Hoeg Law attorney Richard Hoeg, who accused Sony of demonstrating “duplicity and greed” by wilfully selling two identical products for different prices and hiding the cheaper price from PS5 owners.
“For folks not following what’s happening here, Sony is offering a PS4 version with a ‘free’ PS5 upgrade for $60 and a PS5 version with a PS4 copy included for $70,” Hoeg tweeted last week.
“Same package. Two price points. With one displayed more prominently than the other.”
“It gets worse,” he wrote in a follow-up. “The PS4 version does not appear to be offered through the store on a PS5 at all, regardless of whether or not you ask only for PS4 games.”