Can I play my PS4 games on PS5?

PlayStation 4 and pile of games
PlayStation 4 and pile of games (Image credit: Android Central)

Best answer: Yes, you can play almost all of your PS4 games on a PS5. You can't, however, play anything from older generations like PS3 and PS2.

What is backward compatibility and why is it so important?

Backward 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 is 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 backward compatibility, you can 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.

PS5 is backward compatible for most titles

Both the standard PS5 and Digital Edition are backward compatible with the vast majority of PS4 games and some PS4 and PSVR games play on the PS5 with faster speeds and smoother frame rates. Only the following 10 PS4 titles aren't backward compatible on PS5:

  • DWVR
  • 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

Sony has also introduced a new PS Plus Collection, which gives PS Plus subscribers the ability to download some PS4 titles for free. The service, which launched with the new console, is similar to the Xbox Game Pass. The initial list of included games spans a wide range of genres with some huge hits such as God of War, Persona 5, and Resident Evil 7 : Biohazard.

Publishers of PS4 games also have the option to upgrade their titles to turn them into digital PS5 games. On the flipside, some of the games releasing for the PS5 also have PS4 versions so you can play them even if you haven't upgraded your console yet.

Why does the PS5 offer backward compatibility when the PS4 didn't?

One of the key reasons the PS4 was unable to offer backward compatibility in the way Xbox One had was a distinct change in how the PS4 was built. The jump from the PS3 to the PS4 architecture did not allow backward compatibility like it does between the PS4 and PS5.

The lead console architect for the PS5, Mark Cerny, said it is compatible because the next-generation console is based, in part, on the PS4's architecture. This means the games you love for the PS4 are still playable on the PS5.

Save those discs and don't shy away from building out your games library in 2020; PlayStation is stepping into this next generation on the right foot this time.

Kelly Peirce