As the console wars continue to rage Sony’s PlayStation 5 may have just lost its edge, in terms of backward compatibility, even after claiming 99% compatibility to a majority of PS4 titles.
It has already been extensively discussed in previous articles that the Xbox Series X and even the Xbox Series S will boast extensive yet unique backward compatibility features that will cater to games even going back to the original Xbox 360 all the way up to the Xbox One. These boast quad-HD resolution upscaling in addition to a plethora of other optimization features aimed at cashing in on the nostalgia of playing classic Xbox titles.
PlayStation answered right back when news of 99% backward compatibility for PlayStation 4 titles broke out all over the internet. While the 99% claim in itself is a promising rebuttal to Xbox’s feature, the missing 1% left Sony fans wondering whether or not classic games from older Playstation console, from the original PlayStation all the way to the PlayStation 3 would also be playable on PlayStation 5.
The answer to this is no.
PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan mentioned in an interview with Famitsu that Sony has missed out on the implementation deadline for ensuring backward compatibility. Apart from this, however, a major reason as to why the PlayStation backward compatibility fell short is due to the architecture implemented during the development of the PS3. Backward compatibility on the earlier PS3 SKUs was done by actually integrating the PS2’s “Emotion Engine” hardware into the console. This, however, was removed in later revisions of the PS3 in a move to cut costs.
Another reason seen behind the limited backward compatibility feature of the PS5 is that the development team behind Sony’s next-gen console primarily focused on utilizing high-speed SSDs which will lessen loading times and lags and was also focused on the innovative DualSense controller.
Ryan himself is admittedly not a huge fan of the backward compatibility feature. During an interview with Time Magazine in 2017, Jim gave commented about the feature on about a Gran Turismo event that he attended which featured iterations of the old Gran Turismo from PS1 all the way to PS4. Here, Ryan said that the older titles “looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?”
While nostalgic fans will not see the majority of the PlayStation Classics in PS5, a number of PS3 titles and even PS2 and PS1 titles are available all over the PlayStation Store, PlayStation Plus and even PlayStation Now. That said, while this is obviously better than nothing, this falls vastly short from the bar set by Microsoft with the Xbox One and upcoming Xbox Series S and X consoles.
What’s next for PlayStation 5? The discussion of Sony’s latest console has been surrounded primarily by the titles coming to the consoles and also to the upcoming PlayStation Plus Collection which will grant PS5 owners exclusive access to iconic PS4 titles. While this steers away from the backward compatibility debates that have been raging over the recent month, Sony still hopes to upset the Xbox’s Series S and Series X during their release.