Will the PlayStation 5 be backwards compatible?

Time to break down exactly what the PS5's backwards compatibility could look like.

Image via Sony

One of the biggest edges Microsoft has over Sony in the current console generation is the backwards compatible capabilities of the Xbox One, something that the PlayStation 4 noticeably lacks. 

In a report from Wired earlier this year, it was confirmed the PlayStation 5 would include backwards compatibility with the PS4’s library of games, but fans should still be a little cautious with this news. Even though the feature will be there, it likely won’t be as robust as many fans would like. 

PS4 games will be playable on the newer, more powerful console from launch, which means players who want to play some older games but still want to upgrade won’t need to worry about keeping around last gen’s hardware. This also frees up Sony to release games like Death Stranding and Last of Us II less than a year before the new console launch because sales won’t be affected much with this feature in place. 

This also means those older titles will have greatly improved performance because they are going to be running on better hardware. Decreased load times, better graphics, and overall higher performance is going to further improve great games like God of War and Spider-Man, which an early presentation showed in action. 

The problem comes with the other features that won’t be included and other content that could be excluded in the shuffle to a new generation. 

There is a good chance that not every PS4 title will be playable on the PS5. This isn’t anything to worry about at the moment, but the comments made by Sony’s PR team to Famitsu are telling that the software isn’t quite ready for full compatibility yet. 

“The current design is to achieve compatibility with PlayStation 4 titles,” the statement from Sony Interactive Entertainment read, “We are trying our best to verify whether the development team can secure full compatibility. Please wait for the follow-up.”

Xbox has included several classic and cult favorite titles in its backwards compatible catalog, but that library is still limited. You can go back and pop in games like Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb, but that is a niche market, one that Sony has deemed unimportant. 

It also works in the company’s favor since its PS Now subscription service does have games from the PS1, PS2, and PS3 available for players to download and stream. And with how successful Game Pass has been for Microsoft, that is a big selling point that will likely receive a lot of attention in the coming year.

No matter what games are backwards compatible at launch, the PS5 is going to be a big seller when it comes out during the Holiday 2020 season. And if Sony does work out a way that players can just trade in their PS4s without worrying about playing their favorite games from last-gen, that would be a huge plus.