If you have a PlayStation 4, you might wonder if it’s worth it for you to upgrade to the PlayStation 5. Since the PS4 is seven years older than the PS5, there’s a big increase in power when you jump to the new console.
Let’s take a look at how the PS5 compares to the PS4 in several areas to help you decide if upgrading is right for you.
Consider the Cost of Upgrading to a PS5 First
The most important consideration when moving to a PS5 is the cost. Sony offers the PlayStation 5 in two versions: the standard PS5 and the PS5 Digital Edition. The only difference between these is that the Digital Edition lacks a disc drive, so you can’t play physical games or watch movies on discs.
The standard PS5 costs $500, while the Digital Edition is $400. That price gets you the console, one DualSense controller, and the pack-in game Astro’s Playroom. Everything else, from headsets to extra controllers, is sold separately.
Assuming the price doesn’t make the PS5 a non-starter for you, let’s look at some specific aspects of the PS4 and PS5 to help you make the decision.
How Much More Powerful Is the PS5?
In the case of performance, it matters which model of PS4 you have. The original model of the PS4 and its slim redesign are nearly identical, aside from their size. These both play games at a maximum of 1080p and 60FPS.
The PS4 Pro, which launched in 2016, is a more powerful version of the standard PS4. It’s capable of playing games in 4K (sometimes also at 60FPS) and has some extra memory to make switching between apps smoother.
Meanwhile, the PlayStation 5 features some serious upgrades over both older consoles. It has a customized SSD that loads games much faster than either PS4 model’s HDD. The PS5 plays games in 4K and is capable of displaying up to 120 frames per second, though you’ll need a compatible TV or monitor to take advantage of that.
While the PS5 can technically output games in 8K, this isn’t practically available at the moment. It would require a display that is prohibitively expensive for most people, plus almost no 8K-compatible games exist.
The PS5 also supports ray tracing, which is a feature that renders light in a more realistic way. So in the area of hardware, an upgrade to the PS5 gets you full 4K support, a fast SSD, superior graphical effects, and the potential for higher frame rates and resolutions in the future.
You’ll notice these differences more if you have an original model PS4 (compared to a PS4 Pro). Whether you can still enjoy games on the older system is up to your preferences.
What Games Are Available on the PS4 and PS5?
In the first few years after the PS5’s launch, the majority of PS5 titles have also released on PS4. Headline games like Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Horizon Forbidden West have PS4 versions that don’t lack any content. Only a few, like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Returnal, didn’t have a PS4 release.
For cross-generation titles, many developers offer free upgrades to the PS5 version if you own a PS4 game, but this isn’t consistent. Playing games made for PS5 means you’ll benefit from the faster loading of the SSD and superior graphics. In 2023 and later, expect PS4 releases to slow down as the aging hardware can’t keep up with modern games.
If there are specific PS5-only titles you want to play, or you’re ready to experience your favorites with higher performance, then the PS5 is probably worth the upgrade for you now. Keep in mind that many PS5 games are launching at $70 instead of $60, meaning that the latest titles add more to the cost of upgrading.
While games are the main draw for a gaming console, both the PS4 and PS5 offer media features, too. If you care about these, they’ll also have an effect on your decision.
At the time of writing, the PS4 has dozens of streaming apps available, including Amazon Video, Plex, Netflix, Crunchyroll, Disney+, Funimation, and Peacock. Base model PS4s can stream in up to 1080p, while the PS4 Pro supports 4K media streaming.
On PS5, you’ll find a similar collection of the most popular apps. Supported apps include Amazon Prime Video, Apple Music, Apple TV+, Crunchyroll, Hulu, MLB, NBA, Twitch, YouTube TV, and many more. Unless it’s really niche, your favorite streaming service is almost certainly on both systems.
If you use physical media, the standard PS5 features an upgrade over both PS4 models: a 4K Blu-ray drive. Obviously, you can’t use any physical discs on the PS5 Digital Edition.
Unless you’re itching to get a 4K Blu-ray player, it’s not worth upgrading to the PS5 for media alone. If you have a PS4 Pro, you can already stream in 4K.
Remember the PS5’s Backward Compatibility
As you probably know, the PS5 is backward-compatible with almost all PS4 games. This means that you can transfer your PS4 data to PS5 and enjoy the older titles, taking advantage of slightly faster load times.
However, this comes with some hurdles. The PS5’s SSD has a limited amount of storage space—about 667GB is usable—so you don’t want to fill that up with PS4 games and run out of room for PS5 games. You can connect an external hard drive to the PS5 to play PS4 games, but that’s an additional cost if you don’t already have a drive to use.
This certainly isn’t a reason to upgrade—it’s more of a perk once you’ve made the jump.
The Hidden Costs of Upgrading, and Other Concerns
While the PS5’s many benefits sound enticing, you should take a step back before making any decisions. Consider that the PS4 you already have will (hopefully) continue to work for the foreseeable future and is perfectly capable of playing great games.
Chances are that you haven’t played all the PS4 games you want to try yet, especially when there are so many excellent PS4 exclusives. While these will run slightly better on PS5, it’s not enough of a difference that you need to spend hundreds of dollars to upgrade.
Another consideration is the PS5’s size. It’s much larger than both the base PS4 and PS4 Pro, so if space is a concern, you may not be able to find a suitable location for the new console.
Upgrading also has extra costs that are easy to forget. Newer PS5 games are less likely to go on sale than years-old PS4 games. If you use your PlayStation often for media, you might want to pick up the $30 PS5 Media Remote too. These costs can bump the cost of upgrading by $100 or more—if what you have already works well for your needs, is this worth it?
After the PS5 has been out for even longer, you’ll likely be able to get a discounted console PS5 bundle that includes a game. You’ll also have more games to choose from and can enjoy discounts on titles that have been out for a while. There might even be a PS5 Pro revision.
If you’re still not sure, we’ve provided a list of questions to ask when you want to upgrade to a PS5.
Should You Upgrade From PS4 to PS5?
Now that the PS5 has been out for a few years, upgrading to the newer console makes a lot of sense. If you’re done playing through most of your PS4 library and are ready to play PS5 exclusives or enjoy the next-gen versions of your favorite series, it makes sense to upgrade. Upgrading from a base PS4 to a PS5 also brings 4K gaming, making it more of a jump than upgrading from a PS4 Pro.
The new graphical power, backward compatibility, and growing list of PS5-exclusive titles are all exciting. For now, the PS4 still offers a lot of value, but that will decrease as the older system ages.
If you decide to stick with your PS4, be sure you’re squeezing the most you can out of it.