Backward (In)Compatible: PlayStation 5 Will Not Support PS3, PS2, or PS1 Games

Posted on September 18, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in PlayStation with 20 Comments

Sony confirmed this week that its upcoming PlayStation 5 console will not provide backward compatibility with PS3, PS2, or PS1 games.

“We keep in mind the engineering specialized for the PS5, as we produced the device,” Interactive Entertainment’s CEO Jim Ryan told a Japanese video game publication when asked about backward compatibility. “In the midst of that, the [PlayStation 4] 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 DualSense controller at the same time. So, unfortunately, we couldn’t reach the implementation of such compatibilities.”

Sony had previously said that the PS5 would be “99 percent” compatible with PS4 titles. And that the PS4 didn’t support older PlayStation games when it originally launched.

Sony’s strategy—pushing its customers to the new console if they want to play new games—stands in sharp contrast to Microsoft’s: The software giant is ensuring that the Xbox Series S and X are 100 percent backward compatible with any game titles that work on Xbox One today, and that includes games across every Xbox console generation, including the original version and the Xbox 360. Furthermore, backward compatible games titles will look and play better on newer consoles.

It will be interesting to see whether this difference factors into a sizable number of buying decisions this holiday season.

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