Backwards compatibility is going to be a big part of the upcoming PS5 (opens in new tab) and Xbox Series X (opens in new tab) battle, and the good news is that both parties are clearly on board. We know the Xbox Series X will run almost every Xbox One game around, but Sony has been a bit more cagey about the PS5’s abilities only stating it “believes” that the “overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles will be playable on PS5”.
But if popular streamer Lance McDonald is correct, it looks like the PS5 will run any PS4 game. It just might not run them well.
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In a deleted tweet captured by ResetEra, the streamer wrote: “There’s been some confusion about this in the past and I can clear it up now. The PlayStation 5 can run all PlayStation 4 games without per-game whitelisting. Sony continue [sic.] to test titles but the system will not prevent you from launching untested games.”
Assuming it remains that way at launch — a big assumption for reasons I’ll get on to in a minute — that would be quite a big deal. Sony would essentially be letting people find out for themselves if the games work as expected without any additional patching. It’s in stark contrast to how the Xbox One currently handles Xbox 360 games: only pre-approved games that are certified to work can be played.
McDonald justified deleting the reveal with another tweet… which is now also deleted. “I deleted a tweet out of respect for the platform holder, feel free to interpret that however you like.”
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PS5 backward compatibility: A work in progress
So will this be how backwards compatibility works on PS5 when it launches later this year? That’s how it appears at the moment, assuming McDonald isn’t just pulling our collective leg, but given the PS5 isn’t out yet, it’s also possible that this is just how things are on pre-release hardware. Which would make sense, given Sony has said that it’s in the process of testing thousands of games.
It’s entirely possible that Sony will decide to lock down the PS5 to only run whitelisted games upon release, and there are pros and cons to this approach. In the pros column, you’re (virtually) guaranteed that anything you start won’t have a game-breaking bug 30 hours in.
In the cons column, of course, is the fact that Sony and its partners would get to dictate what games will work and which ones won’t. And while Sony has stated that “almost all” of the top 100 PS4 titles by play time will be available at launch, your favorite niche indie game may well not be – even if it works flawlessly.
Time will tell. We still don’t have a PS5 release date in sight, but we expect to find that out in the near future along with the possible price and pre-order info.