PlayStation was heavily criticized for its stance on backward compatibility during the PlayStation 4's lifetime. PS3 games could not run natively on PS4, meaning people couldn't just pop in a disc and play their old games. The only way to play PS3 games on PS4 was to rebuy them if they were available separately on the PlayStation Store. This has changed PS5.
PS4 games are backward compatible on PS5, much like what Microsoft has been doing for the past few years with Xbox One and Xbox 360 games. The difference here is that not all PS4 games will be playable, but it appears that only 10 PS4 games, none of which are that big, didn't make the cut. Thankfully, nearly all PlayStation 4 games are playable on PlayStation 5.
What is backward compatibility?
Backward compatibility refers to the ability of a new piece of technology to support older software or hardware. In gaming terms, backward combability is when a new console can play games designed for consoles from previous generations, i.e., the PS5 being able to play PS4 games.
This idea has been around for several console generations, though it's become a hot topic over the past few years. We obviously don't want to see our old games go to waste, and this is something that PC users don't have to worry about — almost every PC game, no matter how old, will continue to run on computers. So why should console players have to worry about it?
Going forward, we shouldn't.
Which games are backward compatible on PS5?
The PS4 has a catalogue of about 4000 games. Of those, nearly all of them should be backward compatible.
Sony recently confirmed that only the 10 following PS4 titles won't be backward compatible:
- 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
- Joe's Diner
Are backward compatible games enhanced on PS5?
PlayStation 4 games running on PlayStation 5 will take advantage of a feature called Game Boost. According to Sony, this means that players can "enjoy faster and smoother frame rates in select PS4 and PSVR games."
It's unclear which games will benefit from this or what their frame rates and resolutions may be improved to.
Can I play physical backward compatible games on the PS5 Digital Edition?
No, you cannot play any physical games on the PS5 Digital Edition because it does not have a disc drive. There is no program in place that lets you convert a physical game into a digital license, so if you want to play any physical PS4 games on PS5, you need the standard PS5 console. Otherwise you're out of luck. Only digital PS4 games can be played on the PS5 Digital Edition.
Will PS4 accessories work on PS5?
Certain PS4 accessories can be used on PS5. DualShock 4 controllers, officially licensed PS4 gamepads, PlayStation Move and PlayStation VR Aim controllers, 3.5mm and USB headsets, and PSVR will work with PS5. There are some caveats, however.
The DualShock 4 can only be used to play backward compatible PS4 games on PS5. It cannot be used to play PS5 titles that take advantage of the DualSense controller. Those with a PSVR headset will also need an adapter.
Can the PS5 Play PS1, PS2, or PS3 games?
No. PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan confirmed that the PlayStation 5 could not play PS1, PS2, or PS3 discs. However, some older games on these consoles are currently available as classics on PS4 through the PlayStation Store, so it's possible these PS4 versions could be backward compatible.
Get your hands on it as soon as it's in stock
PS5 is the place to be for exclusives like Spider-Man and Horizon Forbidden West. Get yours before they sell out. The standard PS5 boasts a disc drive so that you can play 4K Blue-ray DVDs and use your physical PS4 games through backward combability. This comes at a higher price tag than the Digital Edition.
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Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.