Sony Clarifies PS5 Backwards Compatability, Expects To Support "Overwhelming Majority" Of PS4 Games

Following comments that suggested the PS5 would only be compatible with about 100 PS4 games at launch, Sony has cleared the air.

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Sony recently gave more details on its upcoming PlayStation 5 console, including backwards compatibility with PS4 games, but has now taken a moment to clear up a misunderstanding. While the initial statement seemed to suggest that only about 100 PS4 games would be playable on PS5 at launch, the update explains that this was simply an example about its initial tests.

The update was issued at the top of the original PlayStation Blog post.

"A quick update on backward compatibility--With all of the amazing games in PS4’s catalog, we've devoted significant efforts to enable our fans to play their favorites on PS5. We believe that the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles will be playable on PS5.

"We're expecting backward compatible titles will run at a boosted frequency on PS5 so that they can benefit from higher or more stable frame rates and potentially higher resolutions. We're currently evaluating games on a title-by-title basis to spot any issues that need adjustment from the original software developers.

"In his presentation, Mark Cerny provided a snapshot into the Top 100 most-played PS4 titles, demonstrating how well our backward compatibility efforts are going. We have already tested hundreds of titles and are preparing to test thousands more as we move toward launch. We will provide updates on backward compatibility, along with much more PS5 news, in the months ahead. Stay tuned!"

The original post said that it had tested about 100 popular games, and Sony expected almost all of them to be playable at the PS5 launch. It also noted that it would continue the testing process and "expand the backwards compatibility coverage over time."

So the correction appears to be somewhere in the middle. The 100 popular test-cases were just for testing, and Sony has already tested hundreds more and is preparing to test somewhere in the thousands before launch. Given its successful tests so far, it expects most of those to be backwards compatible, but it isn't able to give a firm number. And it will be continuing development into the new console's life, to eventually reach the "overwhelming majority" goal.

PlayStation's console competitor Xbox Series X has been doggedly pursuing backwards compatibility this generation, and is already talking about both backwards and forwards compatibility into the next. That gives it a big advantage for players who want to hold onto their libraries, especially as it also pursues streaming and subscription services. But the race might not be so lopsided, depending on how Sony's continued testing goes. As the consoles are given more detail, we're getting a better idea of how their specs compare.

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