PlayStation Backward Compatibility Could Finally Be On The Way

PlayStation Backward Compatibility Could Finally Be On The Way

Written by 

Tom Chapman


17th Jan 2022 10:21

We've asked for it for years, and now, a backwards-compatible PlayStation could finally be on the way. Although the new-gen console wars might've died down a bit since the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series first locked horns in 2020, Sony is accused of sitting on its laurels while Microsoft gobbles up every studio possible.

Aside from a growing library of developers and the might of Game Pass, another big win for Xbox has always been its backward compatibility. The PS5 has backward compatibility for almost every PS4 game, but now, the library could be opened up to more retro titles.

Is PlayStation Introducing Backward Compatability?

A new PS5 patent hints that backward compatibility is finally coming to the gaming giant. Playing the OG Crash Bandicoot is all well and good with the souped-up N. Sane Trilogy, but just like if you prefer a more triangular Lara Croft, some of us crave the sharp angles of mid-'90s PlayStation games.

As spotted by Shaun McIlroy on Twitter, the patent pretty much confirms backward compatibility will allow the PS5 to work with older consoles. Adding fuel to the fire, the patent seems to have been filed by PS5 Lead System Architect Mark Cerny. 

Putting things in simpler terms, the patent reveals how an update can make a more powerful PlayStation compatible with previous models. For those questioning why it's not simply a case of sticking in a PS3 copy of Uncharted in your PS5, it's because the console's higher speeds mean data could be pulled from the disc too fast and lead to a buggy playthrough.

What Does Backward Compatability Mean For PlayStation?

Looking at the bigger picture, the patent also says the following: "The system may be an embedded system, mobile phone, personal computer, tablet computer, portable game device, workstation, game console, and the like." If this is the case, Sony's backward compatibility could extend far beyond the PS5.  

Opening up the doors to speculation, it means the already-impressive PS4 library could be joined by the PS3, record-breaking PS2, and even the PS1. Talk about being fashionably late to the party. It's true that Sony does offer some older games through the likes of PlayStation Now, but putting it into context, there are just 21 PS2 games on the subscription service.

Cynics will moan that most of the big games have been given suitable PS4 upgrades - meaning they're playable on PS5 - but it's only the surface of fan-favourites we're missing out on. There's an ever-growing list of games that are in danger of being lost to the ages due to a lack of consoles these days. 

Cloud Gaming like PlayStation Now is a short-term fix, but with it not being available in all regions, backward compatibility is a universally asked for feature. You only have to look at the popularity of Microsoft making almost every Xbox game ever made playable on the Series X/S to see that there's still a ravenous fan base that wants to play the oldies like they were originally intended.


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