Best answer: At the moment, yes, you should be able to play your PS4 games on a PS5. Sony intends for the new console to be backwards compatible, but intent isn't always a guarantee and things can change before the console goes on sale.
What is backwards compatiblity and why is it so important to us?
Backwards compatibility is a process that supports older legacy games on newer generation systems. Basically, for PlayStation and Xbox, you could pop in a disc designed for an older console into your new system and it'll just work. We've seen this work between the Xbox 360 and Xbox One due to Xbox's emulation process, but it would be something new for PlayStation.
Almost everybody has favorite games that they go back to time and again. Some stories you just want to play multiple times. With backwards compatibility you will be able to continue playing your favorite games without needing to pay for a remastered copy (if one is even offered). Of course you can always pick up a remaster to support your favorite developers and enjoy the updated graphics but it should be your choice.
Why would the PS5 offer backward compatibility? The PS4 didn't
One of the key reasons PlayStation 4 was unable to offer backwards compatibility in the way Xbox One had was a distinct change in how the PlayStation 4 was built. The jump from the PS3 to the PS4 architecture did not allow backward compatibility like it will between the PS4 and PS5.
The lead console architect for the PS5, Mark Cerny, said it will be compatible because the next generation console is based, in part, on the PS4's architecture. This means the games you love for the PS4 should still be playable when the PS5 comes out at the end of this year.
Save those discs and don't shy away from building out your games library in 2020; PlayStation should be stepping into this next generation on the right foot this time.
Even the PlayStation CEO, Jim Ryan, confirmed with CNET that the new PS5 would be compatible with PS4 games.
"Whether it's backwards compatibility or the possibility of cross-generational play, we'll be able to transition that community to next-gen," he said. "It won't be a binary choice about whether you have to be either on PlayStation 4 or next-gen to continue your friendship."
PlayStation seems to be working hard to keep up with the times as other companies push to expand accessibility for their players.
Where we stand...
Most likely, yes, you can play your PS4 games on the PS5. Everything we have read, everything we have been told, says the PS5 will be backward compatible, at least with the PS4. There's no word on whether you can play PS3, PS2, or even PS1 games on the new console.
However, plans can change over the course of development and the PS5 is still a ways out before it is finalized for retail. It is our, and every PlayStation players, hope that the company will follow through.
Build your collection
Near limitless options
PlayStation 5 isn't available quite yet, but you can always prepare with a library of games you can play now and continue on the next generation of PlayStation in future years.
The exclusive of the decade
Favorite lead character, too
We came for the robot dinosaurs but stayed for one of the most unique and relatable stories told in a game this generation. Horizon Zero Dawn is an experience that nobody should miss, and thanks to backward compatibility you should still be able to play it on PS5.
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