As we are on the precipice of a next generation of gaming, the question on the lips of many fans of the Call of Duty franchise asks what the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X versions will bring to the franchise. With the engine for the franchise seeing an overhaul in 2019’s Modern Warfare reboot, and the work continued in the battle royale spin-off Warzone, it should be primed and ready for the boost that will come with the new hardware.
However, with the game also seeing a release on current generation consoles, knowing what you should buy if you intend to upgrade your system can get a little complicated, especially with the number of editions available for games such as Call of Duty.
In the instance of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, there will not be a free upgrade to the next generation. There will be a cost to upgrading from PS4 to PS5 and from Xbox One to Xbox Series X. The game’s FAQs provide details on the processes, but it’s not immediately clear what buying each version does for you.
To help with understanding what you will need, we have broken it down by consoles.
Digital Standard Edition – PS4
If you purchase the game’s standard edition on the Playstation Store, you will gain access to the full game on the console. Once the game has been released on PS5, you can choose to purchase an upgrade from the PS4 version of the game to the PS5 version. The fee for this upgrade has yet to be announced.
If you choose not to purchase the upgrade, the digital PS4 edition will also allow you to play the game on PS5, but you will not receive the perks of the upgrade to next-gen, such as faster frame-rates, load times and visual upgrades.
Physical Standard Edition – PS4
An upgrade to the next-gen version of the game will be available to purchase on the Playstation Store for those looking to play the game’s PS5 version. However, players will need to insert the PS4 disc version into the disc tray of the PS5 to have access to the next-gen version after an upgrade.
This means that if you are looking to purchase a disc copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War on PS4 and later want to upgrade and play it on PS5, you must purchase the PS5, which comes equipped with a disc tray. There is no option to upgrade the physical version of the game if you purchase the digital-only PS5.
Next-Gen Physical Standard Edition – PS5
Purchasing a physical copy of the game for the PS5 will allow you to play the game on the PS5 that comes with a disc drive. If you have a digital version of the console, you will not be able to use your physical edition of the game to play it.
Digital Standard Edition – Xbox One
There is currently no confirmation on whether an upgrade from the digital Xbox One version of the game to the digital Xbox Series X version will be available for fans to purchase. They currently point to the cross-gen version of the game if those looking to pre-order are unsure.
However, the Xbox One version of the game should be available to play on Xbox Series X via backward compatibility without benefitting from the console’s extra power, similar to the PS4 version on PS5.
Physical Standard Edition – Xbox One
Unfortunately, there is no option to upgrade a physical copy of the game from Xbox One to Xbox Series X. You will either need to look at purchasing the Next-Gen bundle of the game, or buy an Xbox Series X version of the game once it is released.
Next-Gen Physical Standard Edition – Xbox Series X
Purchasing a physical copy of the game for the Xbox Series X will come with two versions of the game. A copy for the Xbox Series X and a copy for the Xbox One. If you purchase this version of the game once it releases, you will have access to both generational versions of the game.
Cross-Generation Bundle and the Ultimate Edition
For those looking to make sure that they are ready for the next-generation version of the game once it launches, Activision is offering two bundles for the game.
The first is the cross-generation bundle. This is a digital copy of the game that will be made available for you on release on the current-generation and will be in your game library once you have set up your next-gen console. These bundles only work over generations of the same console. This means that purchasing the Playstation Cross-gen bundle will provide a PS4 and a PS5 copy of the game, and buying the Xbox bundle will offer an Xbox One and Xbox Series X copy. You cannot mix and match consoles if you intend to switch from Xbox to Playstation or vise versa for next-gen.
The Ultimate Edition of the game will grant the same as the cross-generation bundle, providing copies across generations, but will also include plenty of extras for players, including several exclusive skins and the battle pass bundle with 20 free tier skips.
Whichever version you buy for any platform, the game will support cross-progression across all platforms, so if you do upgrade from the current generation version of the game to next-gen, you can be sure that you can continue as you are on your new console.