When Sony brought out system architect/Marble Madness creator Mark Cerny earlier this week to explain the PlayStation 5’s technical specifications in as deeply specific a way as is allowed by law, folk around the internet (us included) latched on to his assertion that PlayStation 4 games would be backwards compatible on a case by case basis, and that the PS5 would launch with most of the PS4’s “top 100” games working.
This is maybe not the best message to put forward, especially considering that Microsoft has been touting the Xbox Series X’s universal backwards compatibility with Xbox One games, so today Sony got out there on its official blog to clarify Cerny’s assertions and reassure PlayStation 4 owners that most of their games will still work on the PlayStation 5.
“We’ve devoted significant efforts to enable our fans to play their favorites on PS5. We believe that the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles will be playable on PS5,” reads the updated post from SIE Senior Vice President of Platform Planning and Management, Hideaki Nishino. “In his presentation, Mark Cerny provided a snapshot into the Top 100 most-played PS4 titles, demonstrating how well our backward compatibility efforts are going. We have already tested hundreds of titles and are preparing to test thousands more as we move toward launch. We will provide updates on backward compatibility, along with much more PS5 news, in the months ahead. Stay tuned!”
Nishino also says that Sony is “expecting” PlayStation 4 games to take advantage of the PlayStation 5’s higher clock speeds and beefier graphics hardware, allowing them to “benefit from higher or more stable frame rates and potentially higher resolutions.”
If you’ll remember, the PlayStation 4 is not backwards compatible with anything, due to the jump from Sony’s proprietary (and legendarily expensive/difficult to develop for) Cell architecture on the PlayStation 3, to the more standardized PC-based x86 architecture used in the PlayStation 4. Sony has long said that its PlayStation Now service, which allows for some PlayStation 3 games to be streamed to a PlayStation 4, fills the role normally handled by traditional backwards compatibility.
And speaking of the PlayStation 3, there’s still no word if its games will run on the PlayStation 5 in any native capacity, or if Sony will continue to leverage PlayStation Now as a solution for those titles. Same goes for PlayStation 2 and original PlayStation games, the former of which can only run on the PlayStation 4 through PlayStation Now, with a large selection of the latter being available for individual purchase through the PlayStation Network. That’s all fine and good for people who want to play those games for the first time, or are willing to spend the cash to digitize their existing collections, but if you’ve still got physical discs on your shelves, you’re gonna have to keep babying that PS1/PS2-compatible PlayStation 3 you’ve had for the last 14 years.
In related news, my letter writing campaign to get Microsoft to add Otogi: Myth of Demons to its stable of backwards-compatible original Xbox games continues unabated, and while I’ve received no response nor seen any indication that my efforts are working, I will continue to let Microsoft know that there are dozens of us, and that we demand to be taken seriously.