Electronic Arts will not upgrade consumers who buy the disc version of a PS4 game to the digital PS5 version for the time being. However, the company says it is looking for a solution for these consumers.
If you buy Madden NFL 21 in physical or digital form for the PS4, you will soon be able to upgrade the game to the PS5 version. This is what Electronic Arts calls Dual Entitlement. In the case of the disc version, the user has to put the PlayStation 4 game in the PS5 for this, after which the console will probably download the PS5 version via the internet connection. If you buy the digital PS4 version of Madden NFL 21, you can download the PS5 version via the PlayStation 5. This Dual Entitlement option also applies to players who play the game on their Xbox One and want to do so later on the Series X.
However, Sony is also going to release a console without a physical disc tray. This console will likely be cheaper than the disc tray version. EA says customers with a diskless PlayStation 5 and the physical Madden game will not be able to upgrade to the next-gen console. However, in the FAQ, EA does state that it is “actively looking for solutions” for this group of customers. It is not clear what exactly EA is thinking about. In theory, EA could provide a code with the disc version of the PS4 game, which must be entered into the PlayStation 5.
Players who purchase the digital PlayStation 4 version of Madden NFL 21 will automatically receive the upgrade to the PS5 digital version of Madden NFL 21. EA will also provide this upgrade for Xbox customers. Microsoft is rumored to be working on a cheaper version of the Xbox Series X, which will also come without a disc tray. These customers may experience the same problem as players who own a physical PS4 game from EA and purchase a PS5 without a disc tray.
Incidentally, this Dual Entitlement feature from EA is similar to what Microsoft calls Smart Delivery. This is a feature that Microsoft will include in all first-party games optimized for the Series X console, but individual developers are free to enable this in their games as well. The Xbox Series X’s Smart Delivery feature ensures that the correct version of a game is automatically downloaded and that a title does not have to be purchased twice when moving to the newer console.
Sony doesn’t seem to have any plans to support such a unified system; A spokesperson for Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Studio told a Japanese site that there is no Smart Delivery-like system and that support for a similar feature is left to the various publishers.
Madden NFL 21 is out August 28 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows. The next-gen version of Madden NFL 21 will be out “later this year,” presumably upon console release. The offer to upgrade Madden to the next-gen version will expire upon the release of Madden NFL 22.