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PlayStation 5 Won’t Be Backwards Compatible With Consoles Before PS4

PlayStation 5 Won’t Be Backwards Compatible With Consoles Before PS4

While Microsoft has made a relatively big deal out of the Xbox Series X's backwards compatibility capabilities - the new console is said to support thousands of games from across Xbox's console history on day one - Sony has been rather less open about the PlayStation 5's ability to play older titles.

We know that the PS5 will support some PlayStation 4 games - and the company's Mark Cerny has said that it'll run the "overwhelming majority" of PS4 games, eventually. (It may even run them all, according to a rumour from last month.) Now, I don't know about you, but I'd quite like it if I could finally clear away my PS3, as I have my Xbox 360, comfortable in the knowledge that a good number of my favourite PS3 games will also run on the PS5.

Alas, that seems to not be the case. While Sony itself hasn't yet confirmed that the PlayStation 5 will only be backwards compatible with PlayStation 4 games, and not those from earlier consoles, details on Ubisoft's website have revealed that it's PS4 games, and only PS4 games, that will run on the new system.

The two PlayStation 5 models arriving later in 2020 / Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment
The two PlayStation 5 models arriving later in 2020 / Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment
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Under the FAQ category for 'Transitioning PS4 Titles to Next-Gen Versions' on Ubisoft's support pages, the official information - relating to Ubisoft games, obviously - currently reads as follows:

"PlayStation offer a number of features designed to help you move from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5.

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"PlayStation 4 players will be able to join multiplayer games with PlayStation 5 players."

But, as screencapped by a few people, the page originally had some additional information on it. Ars Technica is one of several sites that has published this extra detail, now removed from Ubisoft's page. It reads as follows:

"PlayStation 4 players will be able to join multiplayer games with PlayStation 5 players. Backwards compatibility will be available for supported PlayStation 4 titles, but will not be possible for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, or PlayStation games."

The original PlayStation 3 was backwards-compatible with PS1 and PS2 games / Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment, Evan Amos
The original PlayStation 3 was backwards-compatible with PS1 and PS2 games / Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment, Evan Amos
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Bummer, huh? I understand, as I'm sure many of us do, that it's not easy to make a new console run everything that came before it - but it's not like Sony doesn't have precedent here. The PlayStation 2 ran games for the original PlayStation, and the PlayStation 3 originally did the same for PS2 and PS1 discs. It was disappointing when the PS4 launched with no backwards compatibility (I still have my PS3 set up next to the PS4, as a result), but I know a lot of us were hoping that the PlayStation 5 could offer better options than its predecessor.

It's especially disappointing given that Ubisoft's own CEO, Yves Guillemot, said earlier in 2020 that the PlayStation 5 would be "running almost all the back catalogue of the previous consoles". Hopes were definitely hgh that the PS5 would go some way to competing with the Series X's approach to being the one-system solution to back-catalogue gaming (without the need to repurchase games, digitally), but those hopes feel pretty dashed right now.

I don't expect this will put anyone who's already set on buying a PS5 off from doing so, swerving their purchase intent towards the Series X. But NGL, guys, my console-storage situation would really have benefitted from the all-in-one mega-box option.

Featured Image Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment

Topics: PlayStation 5, Xbox, sony, PS2, PS3, Playstation, PS1, Playstation 4

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Mike Diver

Head of Content at GAMINGbible. Former gigs include VICE Gaming, BBC Music, BBC Gaming Show. Author of 'Indie Games: The Complete Introduction to Indie Gaming' (2016), 'How to Be a Professional Gamer' (2016), 'Retro Gaming: A Byte-Sized History of Video Games' (2019). Contact: [email protected]