Sony has clarified how backward compatibility will work on its next-generation gaming console, the PlayStation 5.
In an update to its blog post about the PS5’s specs from earlier this week, Sony mentioned that it “believe[s] that the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles will be playable on PS5.”
Prior to this statement, there had been some confusion as to the nature of backward compatibility on PS5. When the PS5 was first unveiled, Sony confirmed that the system will play PS4 games. PlayStation boss Jim Ryan later emphasized the importance of easing consumers into the next-generation in part through backward compatibility.
However, during his breakdown of the PS5 specs earlier this week, lead system architect Mark Cerny stated that about 100 of the PS4’s most-played games will run on the next-gen console at launch. It wasn’t clear, however, exactly which games he was referring to or if there would be additional backward compatible titles. This mixed messaging — which was part of already tech jargon-heavy presentation — didn’t go over well with fans.
The PS5 will not have any PS1, PS2, PS3 backwards compatibility and ONLY about 100 PS4 games will work at launch…#PlayStation5 pic.twitter.com/l1QealkAg0
— KOFI (@PressStartKofi) March 18, 2020
I was hoping for a bit more backwards compatibility than this. I guess too much to ask for. =/ https://t.co/JtY1jHXY7J
— Joe Vargas (@AngryJoeShow) March 18, 2020
You mean the whole "100 games" thing? That's just yet another result of their confounding marketing plan
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) March 19, 2020
Even after this blog post, some games media noted that the messaging is still not entirely clear.
They don't say how many games will be playable at LAUNCH, presumably because they don't know yet.
When they talk about the changes we'll get from "boosted" games, the language is: "We believe" "We're expecting" "Potentially"
— Blessing Adeoye Jr. (@BlessingJr) March 20, 2020
It really is something that they can’t just put out two sentences explaining this better.
— Imran Khan (@imranzomg) March 20, 2020
What the above tweets are referring to is the fact that Sony’s blog post update mentions that Sony is “expecting” backward compatible tiles “will run at a boosted frequency on PS5 so that they can benefit from higher or more stable frame rates and potentially higher resolutions.” However, as mentioned in these tweets, Sony’s wording makes it seem that it still hasn’t determined exactly how backward compatibility will work with respect to full games catalogue and any PS5 enhancements.
Altogether, Sony says it’s “already tested hundreds of titles” and is “preparing to test thousands more” moving into launch. The company says it will “provide updates on backward compatibility, along with much more PS5 news, in the months ahead.”
Sony’s stance on PS5 backward compatibility is particularly confusing considering how clear Microsoft has been regarding the feature on its own next-gen console, the Xbox Series X. According to Microsoft, “all” Xbox One games will be playable on Xbox Series X, as well as every current Xbox 360 and original Xbox title that is backward compatible on Xbox One.
In any event, there is still much to be revealed about both the PS5 and Xbox Series X in the months to come, including price, launch lineup and release date. On the latter front, both companies maintain that the consoles are releasing this holiday, although it remains to be seen whether plans will be changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There’s also no word yet on if the PlayStation 5 will be compatible with PS1, PS2 and Ps3 games.