PS4 vs PS5: should you upgrade in 2023?

Are you still standing firm with your PlayStation 4? Take a closer look at the PS4 vs PS5 to decide whether you should upgrade your Sony gaming console.

PS4 vs PS5? On the surface, it seems like a ridiculous question. Of course you should upgrade to the latest technology, whatever it happens to be. In reality, though, the question is much more nuanced. Because beyond the simple technological advancement of Sony’s PlayStation 5, what are the actual reasons to upgrade – and do those reasons actually make your gameplay experience better?

You might look at the PS4 vs PS5 issue much like the question of whether or not to upgrade from a 4K to an 8K TV. Yes, the newer PS5 is more advanced, but is that alone a good enough reason? Plenty of folks are still having a great time with 1080p screens, after all, so “most advanced” doesn’t always equate to “better”.

We’ve named the Sony PlayStation5 as the best gaming console, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Here’s a look at the big questions you should consider when deciding whether or not to upgrade this year.

PS4 vs PS5: Games

At the end of the day, this is the most important factor: does the PS5 fundamentally offer more and/or better games? The answer, at least to the former, is inescapably yes. Many of the best PS5 games are only available on the more advanced console. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and Final Fantasy 16, for example, are both PlayStation 5-exclusive – you simply can’t play them on a PS4. On the flip side, because the PS5 is backward-compatible, most of the best PS4 games can be played on the new console. 

That said, the majority of PlayStation’s killer apps are also available on the PlayStation 4. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles MoralesHorizon Forbidden WestGod of War Ragnarok… the lion’s share of great games are still at your fingertips on the PS4. And they’re cheaper than their PS5 iterations, too.

Of course, the PlayStation 5 versions are souped-up (significantly, in some cases) and can offer a superior experience. Though they do come with a higher price tag, which is the case with most releases – so you can expect to pay more for your PS5 games.

PS4 vs PS5: Tech and performance

It goes without saying that the PS5 has better specs than the PS4 and PS4 Pro, so comparisons of GPU and memory are a bit redundant. How do those specs translate to tangible performance?

The most obvious differentiator is that the PS5 is powerful enough for true 4K gaming, sometimes with blistering frame rates of up to 120fps – both of which make an incredible difference to both the look and experience of games. It’s also capable of advanced features like ray-tracing, though for our money that isn’t a big enough game-changer in and of itself to warrant an upgrade.

Another crucial factor is storage; the PlayStation 4 and Pro both have 1TB HDD options, which eclipse the 825GB of the (non-Digital) PS5. However, the PlayStation 5’s drive is a much zippier NVMe SSD affair – which can boot up games in seconds, even when pushing around hefty 4K assets.

PS4 vs PS5: Price

This time the clear winner is in the other direction, with a PS4 being the cheaper option. A PlayStation 5 is going to cost you $500 (£480) or $400 (£390) for the Digital version – check out our guide on the PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition for more differences. And be aware that Sony isn’t afraid of jacking up the price in certain regions (due to “inflation”).

The PlayStation 4 can be hard to find in stores these days, though the PS4 Pro is currently around $250 at GameStop in the US and the PS4 Slim is £260 at John Lewis in the UK. You’re going to find them in abundance on the second-hand market, though, and at considerably lower prices than the PS5.

Here are some of the best PS5 prices:

Here are some of the best PS4 prices:

PS4 vs PS5: Conclusion

There’s no doubt that the PS5 is the more advanced gaming console, but is it enough to warrant an upgrade? If you don’t have a 4K display and you don’t want to play the new Spider-Man or Final Fantasy, arguably not.

However, more and more blockbusters – Uncharted 5, for example – are going to be PlayStation 5-only. So if you want the latest and most complete library of games, playable at the highest resolution and frame rates, with the fastest and most flexible storage, it may be time to look at the PS5. Just be prepared to fork out a lot of cash!