Sony's next-generation game console, PlayStation 5, will be backwards compatible with "almost all" top PlayStation 4 games but ironically there may be exceptions due to the console's much faster hardware.
PS5 backwards compatibility
Microsoft has confirmed that Xbox Series X will be backwards compatible with Xbox One games as well as some games from the original Xbox and Xbox 360.
PlayStation 5 will not be as versatile. Backwards compatibility will be limited to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro titles, Sony said yesterday. PS4 and PS5 are both based on the x86 architecture whereas for example PS3 is based on an entirely different architecture, which makes it challenging to make games compatible.
Ironically, PS5 runs so much faster than PS4 that some game code "just can't handle it". Compatibility testing must therefore be done on a title-by-title basis.
- "Running PS4 and PS4 (Pro) titles at boosted frequencies has also added complexity. The boost is truly massive this time around and some game code just can't handle it. Testing has to be done on a title-by-title basis," explained Mark Cerny, lead system architect for PS5.
With that being said, Sony still expects "almost all" top PlayStation 4 titles to be playable on PlayStation 5 at launch.
- "Results are excellent, though. We recently took a look at the top-100 PlayStation 4 titles as ranked by play time and we're expecting almost all of them to be playable at launch on PlayStation 5," he added.
There may be a way to play PS3 and PS2 titles on PS5, though. Although not confirmed by Sony, we expect the company's game streaming service PlayStation Now to be available on PS5, making it possible to stream select PS3 and PS2 games from the cloud to the console.
Sony did not comment on backwards compatibility with PS4 gaming accessories.
Update 23.03.2020: Sony has released the following statement to clear up any confusion:
- "We believe that the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles will be playable on PS5. We’re expecting backward compatible titles will run at a boosted frequency on PS5 so that they can benefit from higher or more stable frame rates and potentially higher resolutions. We’re currently evaluating games on a title-by-title basis to spot any issues that need adjustment from the original software developers."
SSD storage vs. USB storage
PlayStation 5 features a built-in 825GB SSD. Like Microsoft's Xbox Series X, storage capacity on PlayStation 5 can be expanded by connecting a USB hard drive or a NVMe SSD card.
Expansion via a USB hard drive is intended for older PS4 games whereas the NVMe SSD is required for PS5 games. Unlike Microsoft, Sony has not created its own SSD expansion card. Sony said that it will start doing compatibility testing later this year to make sure that commercial SSD M2 drives perform as intended with PlayStation 5.
- "Once we've done that compatibility testing, we should be able to start letting you know which drives will physically fit and which drive samples have benchmarked appropriately high in our testing. It would be great if that happened by launch but it's likely to be a bit past it so please hold off on getting that M2 drive until you hear from us," said Mark Cerny.
Follow the link for more information about the technical specifications for PlayStation 5.