PS5 could finally get classic PlayStation game support — here's how

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Sony may be developing a system to enable classic PlayStation games to be playable on the PS5, according to hints in a new patent.

The PS5 lacks the robust backwards compatibility enjoyed by the Xbox Series X and Series S, although it can play most PS4 games. Rumors this week that Sony is planning to shut down the PS3 and PS Vita digital store have further disappointed some passionate PlayStation fans, but the details in the patent might help ease those frustrations. 

The patent first was spotted by a user on Reddit, and it revolves around the ability to earn trophies via emulated games. For the unaware, trophies are PlayStation’s system-level achievement system that every game on the PS5 must include.

The abstract for the patent reads, “A trophy trigger is detected during emulation of the game by comparing a memory value of the emulated game to a predetermined value and assigning the one or more trophies to the user based on the detected trophy trigger.”

The patent has an application date of November 30 2020, so this system of awarding trophies for emulated games is clearly something that Sony is either currently looking into or has been testing in the recent past. 

It could suggest that Sony is looking to implement stronger backwards compatibility on the PS5, potentially including games from the PS1, PS2 and PS3 generations. 

While this all sounds very exciting, and it would be amazing to not have to dust off the PS2 to play some classic PlayStation games, it’s worth noting that companies such as Sony frequently file patents without any intention of actually using them. 

There is a deep catalog of PlayStation patents for products and services that have never come to fruition, and this could just be the latest. Still, even if Sony ultimately opts not to make use of this emulation trophy system, it’s encouraging to know that the tech giant is at least investigating ways of adding additional backwards compatibility to the latest PlayStation console. 

Of course, if Sony did add support for PS1, PS2 and PS3 games to the PS5, it would probably make the console even harder to get hold of. If you’re still on the hunt for a next-gen PlayStation then make sure to bookmark our guide for where to buy a PS5, which is regularly updated with the latest stock information. 

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.