Sony CEO Jim Ryan has confirmed that the upcoming PlayStation 5 will not be backwards compatible with PlayStation 1, PlayStation 2, or PlayStation 3 games. However, the next-gen platform will be compatible with 99% of PlayStation 4 games.
Ryan spoke with Famitsu following the recent PS5 showcase, in which the company finally revealed the PS5 price and release date. In the interview, Ryan was asked about backwards compatibility with older PlayStation models, something that Sony has been relatively mum about since revealing the PS5.
He said that because the PS4 has such a large install base, Sony focused on bringing as many of those titles to the PS5 as they possibly could. He also mentioned that because of the technology built into the PlayStation 5, specifically the high-speed SSD and haptics of the DualSense, they weren’t able to make PS1, PS2, and PS3 games backwards compatible on the system.
We have been building devices with a focus on PS5-specific engineering. Among them, PS4 already has 100 million players, so I thought that I would like to play PS4 titles on PS5 as well, so I introduced PS4 compatibility. While achieving that, we focused on incorporating high-speed SSDs and the new controller DualSense in parallel. So, unfortunately, compatibility with them has not been achieved.
Though it’s a bit of a bummer that those games won’t be playable on the PS5 via backwards compatibility, it makes some sense in regard to the PS3 specifically. The PS5’s SSD and the DualSense aside, the PS3 ran on Cell architecture, and even emulating it has been a tall task to say the very least.
However, PS Now does provide players a way to play PS3 games on the PS4, and it could very well be the same with the PS5. Currently, PS3 titles can only be streamed through PS Now because they are not compatible with the PS4’s architecture, something that would conceivably continue with the PlayStation 5 version of the service.
There is only a fraction of the PS3’s more than 1,400 games are on PS Now, and PlayStation 2 games are woefully underrepresented, with what is available being emulated or PS4 ports. There are no PlayStation 1 games available on PS Now.
Sony’s stance is in contrast to the strategy that Microsoft has implemented for a while now — and will be carrying into next-gen. Both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S will continue to support the platform’s legacy content and those Xbox 360 and Xbox games that were made available on the Xbox One.
Recently, it has been revealed that the Xbox Series S will only run Xbox One S versions of Xbox One and Xbox 360 games.