Sony has issued an update to clarify its stance on backwards compatibility for the PlayStation 5, saying the upcoming console will support an “overwhelming majority” of the 4,000-plus existing PS4 titles. Prior to the update, Sony’s Mark Cerny, the system architect for the PS5 who detailed its full hardware specifications in a live-streamed presentation on Wednesday, said the console would support “almost all” of the top 100 PS4 titles.
“A quick update on backward compatibility — With all of the amazing games in PS4’s catalog, we’ve devoted significant efforts to enable our fans to play their favorites on PS5,” Sony writes in the update text, which it posted at the top of its tech specs announcement post from two days ago. “We believe that the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles will be playable on PS5.”
Sony also says those older titles may run better on the newer system, too. “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,” the company adds. “We’re currently evaluating games on a title-by-title basis to spot any issues that need adjustment from the original software developers.”
Sony says Cerny “provided a snapshot into the Top 100 most-played PS4 titles” simply as demonstration of the company’s current backwards compatibility efforts. “We have already tested hundreds of titles and are preparing to test thousands more as we move toward launch,” the company says. “We will provide updates on backward compatibility, along with much more PS5 news, in the months ahead.”
This should hopefully clear up some confusion as to the extent of Sony’s backwards compatibility commitment. Some fans were concerned the PS5 would not have the same level of last-gen compatibility as Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox Series X. Considering the heated competition between the two devices — fans of both are already vigorously debating which is going to be the better purchase and more successful platform — Xbox fans started taking a bit of a victory lap with regard to the Series X’s support for older games.
That said, Microsoft is still quite far ahead in terms of broader backlog support due to its many years of backward compatibility work. While the PS5 and Xbox Series X sound as if they’ll both support the previous generation of hardware, Microsoft’s Xbox chief Phil Spencer said last month that Xbox Series X would support “four generations of Xbox,” meaning from the original system all the way through to the latest hardware.
“Our commitment to compatibility means existing Xbox One games, including backward-compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games, look and play better than ever before,” Spencer wrote in a blog post. “Your favorite games, including titles in Xbox Game Pass, benefit from steadier framerates, faster load times and improved resolution and visual fidelity — all with no developer work required. Your Xbox One gaming accessories also come forward with you.”
Instead of taking this route, Sony has opted instead for supporting older games through its PlayStation Now cloud gaming service. That said, those worried the PS5 wouldn’t be able to play PS4 discs, or that their digital libraries wouldn’t be able to move with them, should be able to rest easy now.