PS5 Backwards Compatibility: Sony Boss Says 99% Of PS4 Games Will Work

The PS5 will be able to run the vast majority of PS4 games, according to Sony Interactive Entertainment president Jim Ryan.

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Following the PS5 showcase event, we finally know the price and release date of the PlayStation 5. The system will launch on November 12 in a handful of major regions alongside a modest lineup of new games. However, you'll be able to play various PlayStation 4 games on the system at launch, and it sounds like the PlayStation 5's backwards compatibility capabilities will run deeper than we initially thought.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan said that backwards compatibility has been tested with "thousands" of games, and that most of them work. In fact, the figure he gives is "99 percent," meaning that it will be rare for a PS4 game to not work on Sony's new console.

Sony initially confirmed that the PS5 will be able to run most of the "top 100" PS4 games, but later said that the system will support an "overwhelming majority" of PS4 games. 99% is certainly an overwhelming majority. This will extend to both digital and physical releases.

Unfortunately, Sony has confirmed that the PS5 will not be able to run games from the PS1, PS2, or PS3--so only games from those consoles that later received PS4 ports will work on the new system. It's also not clear what the 1% of games that won't work on the system is comprised of, which means that there might be an element of trial-and-error for new system owners in figuring out if all their games will carry over.

It's a different approach from that of Microsoft with the Xbox Series X. That console supports all Xbox One games that don't use Kinect, as well as any previous generations of Xbox games that were already backward compatible on Xbox One. The Xbox One didn't start off with backward compatibility but added it via a software update midway through the console's lifespan. It then began offering free Xbox 360 and Xbox games each month in the Games With Gold program.

Ryan also told The Washington Post that he expects the PS4's life span to continue for another "three or four years," and that the system will continue to be supported. "Many will transition to PS5, we hope if we do our job well, but tens of millions will still be engaged with the PS4," Ryan said.

Sony has also announced the PS Plus exclusive Plus Collection, which gives subscribers on PS5 access to a back catalog of some of the PS4's best first-party games, including Bloodborne, God of War, Uncharted 4, and more. Some of the included titles are from third-party companies as well, but these do tend to be a little older, such as Mortal Kombat X, which was included over of the newer Mortal Kombat 11.

If you're looking to secure a preorder of the new Sony console, consider consulting our PS5 preorder guide. Stock is coming in and out of most major retailers, so you'll have to keep a keen eye out if you're interested in trying the new system as soon as it launches. The company has apologized for how it handled initial preorder waves. Retailers are going to be receiving more over the next few days. There will also be other opportunities to buy the system before the end of 2020.

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