The PS5’s backwards compatibility might not be as good as people expect


There’s little more than a month left for Sony to launch its new PlayStation console, and it’s clear that excitement for the PS5 is sky-high, with many people struggling to pre-order the console, and stock expected to be scarce on launch day.

The PS5 is also in a better position than rival Xbox Series X, as Sony has been the clear winner this generation, with the PS4 outselling the Xbox One by many millions (it’s now one of the best-selling consoles of all time).

Those running a PS4 can be expected to pick up a PS5 at some point too, and this is due to the fact that things are a little different this generation than the previous one. This is because Sony and Microsoft are not making a clean break with the launch of new consoles, as both the PS5 and Xbox Series X will run last-gen games thanks to backwards compatibility.

And Sony recently talked backwards compatibility on the PlayStation Blog, once again saying that the console will be backwards compatible with 99 % of all PS4 games, which total more than 4,000. Sony specifically mentioned recent blockbusters like The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima, which should run perfectly well on the new machine. Actually, Ghost of Tsushima will feature enhancements like even better load times and 60 frames per second gameplay according to game creators Sucker Punch.

However, some might be annoyed by the fact that a few PS4 games won’t be backwards compatible on PS5.

These are the following (via GameSpot): Afro Samurai 2 Revenge of Kuma Volume One, TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2, Just Deal With It!, Shadow Complex Remastered, Robinson: The Journey, We Sing, Hitman Go: Definitive Edition, Shadwen, Joe’s Diner and DWVR.

This will be something of a bummer for owners of any of these games, who will have to keep their PS4 around in order to play them. This by itself is obviously not a deal breaker of course, as some games out of the thousands available for PS4 were bound not to work on Sony’s newest, shiniest console.

More troubling, though, is Sony’s statement that “some PS4 games may exhibit errors or unexpected behavior when played on PS5 consoles”.

The key here is how many are “some”. One hundred? One thousand? We do not know at this point, but the thing is that the PS4 and PS5’s hardware is different enough for there to be problems with quite a few games.

Also, testing thousands of games thoroughly takes quite a while. In his presentation in March, Sony architect Mark Cerny originally mentioned that the 100 most popular PS4 games would be backwards compatible on PS5. Sony later rectified this to say 99 % of all games would be compatible.

But obviously getting backwards compatibility right takes time, as Microsoft proved with the Xbox One. Originally announced at E3 2015, Microsoft spent years making Xbox 360 games backwards compatible on the Xbox One, and after years of testing managed to make slightly more than one quarter of the Xbox 360 catalog run on the Xbox One, which by the way will also work on the Xbox Series X (the console will also run the entire library of Xbox One games at launch).

Backwards compatibility is a tricky business then, so I sincerely hope that the number of PS4 games which don’t run so well on PS5 will be few. It would be wise, then, to wait until the PS5 is out on the street and reports of how well it runs PS4 games are out. If there are glitches then it might well be a good idea to wait until Sony irons out backwards compatibility, something we will be telling you about as the PS5’s launch date draws closer.

PS5 console (Sony)