Technology

Call of Duty’s PS5 and Xbox Series X upgrades explained: how to avoid paying twice

Activision has finally unveiled this year’s Call of Duty title — Black Ops Cold War. It will launch on November 13th, and Activision is making a big deal about how it’s a cross-gen title for both PS5 and PS4, and Xbox One and Xbox Series X, in addition to PC.

But if you plan to upgrade to PS5 or Xbox Series X this holiday season, your purchase decision gets a little complicated.

Currently, there are ten versions of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War — and you’re actually going to have to pay extra for the higher frame rate and faster load times that PS5 and Xbox Series X can offer. Unlike PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, you can’t just wait for a free patch. Next-gen console upgrades will be locked behind a paywall.

To help make sure you avoid buying the wrong version and having to accidentally pay twice for the same game, here’s how the next-gen pricing for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will work.

Just pick the phrases that describe you below, and I’ll help you figure it out:

I’LL BE PLAYING ON PLAYSTATION

  • I want a disc that will play on my PS4 first: You’ll pay $60 for the “Physical Standard Edition,” and you can buy a PS5 upgrade from the PlayStation Store for $10 later — if and only if you wind up buying a PS5 with a disc drive, because you will need to keep the PS4 disc in while you play. Plus, you’ll miss out on preorder bonuses.
  • I want to play digitally on PS4, and I’m not sure I’m getting a PS5: $60 buys you the “Digital Standard Edition” and you can still upgrade for $10 if you change your mind.
  • I want a disc that will play on a PS5: The “Next-Gen Physical Standard Edition” costs $70; again, you’ll need to buy the pricier PS5 with a disc drive.
  • I already know I’m getting a PS5 but not sure I’m paying for a disc drive: The “Cross-Gen Bundle” costs $70. No worries about discs or upgrades, it comes with both PS4 and PS5 digital copies. But it doesn’t come with a disc.
  • I want goodies, not discs: The “Ultimate Edition” costs $90, gives you both PS4 and PS5 digital copies, plus the battle pass and the “Land/Sea/Air Pack” with three operator skins, three weapon blueprints, and three vehicle skins.

I’LL BE PLAYING ON XBOX

  • I want a disc that will play on my Xbox One: You should probably shell out $70 for the next-gen Xbox Series X disc, aka “Physical Standard Xbox Series X edition,” because the cheaper $60 Xbox One disc can’t get Series X upgrades at all. Both discs will play on both the Xbox One and Xbox Series X, but only the next-gen disc has the upgrades. Neither disc gives you preorder bonuses.
  • I want to play digitally on Xbox One: $60 buys you the “Digital Standard Edition” and you can upgrade digitally for $10.
  • I already know I’m getting a next-gen Xbox, but isn’t a discless Xbox Series S coming as well? With the $70 digital-only “Cross-Gen Bundle,” you don’t have to worry about discs or upgrades. It comes with both current and next-gen copies of the game.
  • I want goodies, not discs: The “Ultimate Edition” costs $90, gives you both Xbox and Xbox Series X digital copies, plus the battle pass and the “Land/Sea/Air Pack” with three operator skins, three weapon blueprints, and three vehicle skins.

I’LL BE PLAYING ON WINDOWS

  • I want a disc that will play on my PC: Tough luck, you can only buy it digitally from Battle.net. They’re not making physical PC discs.
  • I want to pay less for fewer goodies: The $60 “Standard Edition” just comes with early access to the open beta plus a couple of weapon blueprints.
  • I want to pay more for more goodies: The $90 “Ultimate Edition” adds the battle pass and the “Land/Sea/Air Pack” with three operator skins, three weapon blueprints, and three vehicle skins.

At this moment, there appears to be no way to pay just $60 for a digital next-gen copy for the PS5 or Xbox Series X. Perhaps that’s Activision trying to normalize $70 as the price for next-gen titles?

NBA 2K21 also costs $70 on next-gen consoles, and its cross-gen bundle costs even more at $100. But other game developers have promised free next-gen upgrades for their games, including Cyberpunk 2077, Hitman 3, Destiny 2, and Madden 21. And while Remedy Entertainment won’t be offering a next-gen upgrade for the original version of Control, the game’s $40 Ultimate Edition will come with a free next-gen digital upgrade as well.