Control’s Free Next-Gen Upgrade Comes With a Catch

The free part is greatly exaggerated.

With the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X a few months away (three months, in the case of the Xbox Series X), several developers and publishers are looking for ways to incentivize moving into the next generation by allowing people who own games on older systems to upgrade to next-gen versions for free. As it turns out, Remedy’s Control is among games taking advantage of systems like Xbox’s Smart Delivery to give people access to the game they’ve bought regardless of what system they’re playing on, but the game is unusually restricted.

The studio has confirmed that any such upgrade will only apply to the game’s “Ultimate Edition,” which is a definitive edition including all the game’s post-launch content that will be coming to PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. The Steam version will be coming out in just a couple weeks on August 27, with Epic Games Store, PS4, and Xbox One following digitally on September 10. Physical PS4 and Xbox One copies will launch sometime near the end of 2020, which is when Control: Ultimate Edition will also be coming to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X digitally. Physical copies for next-gen consoles will follow in 2021. The reason for this drawn out launch is said to be due to the coronavirus pandemic interfering with distribution of physical copies for each platform.

In a Q&A about the Ultimate Edition, Remedy states that buying the Ultimate Edition on PS4 or Xbox One will get you access to the PS5 and Xbox Series X versions, but the same won’t be afforded to anyone who owns the original version that launched last year.

Will Control Ultimate Edition give me access to Control on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5?
We will offer a free next-gen digital upgrade for those who buy Control Ultimate Edition on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. For more information on eligibility, stay tuned to our website and community channels.

What if I purchased the original version of Control previously?
The free upgrade path to Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 version of Control is only available for Control Ultimate Edition.

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So if you already own Control on a current-gen console and were hoping to just slide right into the next-gen version, it unfortunately won’t be that simple. From the looks of it, the base game of Control won’t be coming to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, which means that the Ultimate Edition is probably the only option anyone’s going to have on those platforms. That probably deals with some backend stuff that prevents two different SKUs of what are actually the same product being considered the same/compatible for upgrade, but also means that anyone who bought the original game and upgraded would be getting all the DLC content for free through a kind of workaround.

While Control’s next-gen upgrade requires you to jump through a few hoops, most games going about this are fairly straightforward. Sony hasn’t been making it a huge deal for its PlayStation 5 marketing (not yet, at least), but Microsoft has made Smart Delivery and backwards compatibility a pretty notable pillar in its sales pitch, with several of its first-party games coming to Xbox Series X in the next year.