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Sony just confirmed that the PS5 will not run games older than PS4

Published Sep 18th, 2020 6:50AM EDT
PS5 Backwards Compatibility
Image: Sony

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  • The biggest question about PS5 backwards compatibility has finally been answered.
  • Sony conceded that the PS5 will not run PS3, PS2, or PS1 games, as it did not have time to implement the feature. The PS5 will run 99% of the existing PS4 collection.
  • Microsoft wins the backwards compatibility battle again, as the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S can run older Xbox 360 and original Xbox games in addition to Xbox One titles.

Sony confirmed earlier this week that the PlayStation 5 will run 99% of PS4 games without addressing older hardware in the process. The new Xbox Series X and Series S can run not only all Xbox One games but also older games that were created for Xbox 360 and the original Xbox. That seemed to be a massive win for Microsoft, especially if you’re the kind of gamer who owns a considerable collection of games, or who wants to try older games on the new system. Even though there are plenty of PS4 games to play on the PS5 models, some PlayStation fans can’t be happy. Since then, Sony made it clear that there won’t be support for PS3, PS2, and PS1 games on the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition, putting an end to backward compatibility speculations.

The news came directly from PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan, who spoke with Famitsu (via GameSpot) about the next-gen console.

Ryan said the PS5 did not have enough time to implement backwards compatibility for the older systems.

“We keep in mind the engineering specialized for the PS5, as we produced the device,” Ryan said. “In the midst of that, the PS4 already has 100 million players; we thought they ought to want to play PS4 titles on the PS5 as well indeed, so we included compatibility with the PS4. While implementing that, we also focused our efforts on taking in the high-speed SSD and the new controller DualSense at the same time. So, unfortunately, we couldn’t reach the implementation of such compatibilities.”

Previously PlayStation lead systems architect Mark Cerny said the PS4 and PS5 were built on the same architecture, making PS4 games compatible with the PS5.

Ryan’s comments further cement Microsoft’s advantage when it comes backwards compatibility. If you need to play older PlayStation games, you’ll just have to hang on to your current hardware or buy an older, used PlayStation.

The PS5 launches on November 12th in the US and other markets, with retailers around the world taking preorders for the two devices as we speak. Well, that’s true on paper. In reality, the initial PS5 stock had sold out even before preorders had started, as several big retailers jumped the gun and started selling the console several hours earlier than supposed to.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.