Sony has told PlayStation 4 game developers that any new titles submitted for certification must also be compatible with PlayStation 5, beginning 13th July.
This means all PS4 games received by Sony for testing after the middle of that month are technically forwards compatible - playable on Sony's next-gen console - though it is up to each game's developer to ensure this is the case.
Developer documentation - released on PlayStation's internal Partner website and seen by Eurogamer - details an option developers must check to state their game has been tested for compatibility with PS5 hardware. This option was added at the end of April in a new version of Sony's PS4 software developer kit.
Sony has told developers it will contact them individually with details on how to test PS5 compatibility, in the order of their various projects' release.
Further documentation sheds light on what "compatibility" means. A game will be deemed compatible with PlayStation 5 only if its submission code runs without issues on Sony's next-gen machine, and provides the same features on PS5 as it does on PS4.
So, for example, a developer couldn't flag their game as PS5 compatible but not provide support for a certain mode on next-gen hardware.
These developer notes also detail Sony's rules for patches to existing games and remasters of previously-released titles.
If a game was originally submitted to Sony before 13th July 2020, any new patch or remaster after that date would not require PS5 compatibility, but it would be "strongly recommended".
If a game was originally submitted to Sony after 13th July 2020, any future patch or remaster to that game would need to keep PS5 compatibility. Once a game is PS5 compatible, it must stay so.
It's worth emphasising that all of this applies to games submitted to Sony after 13th July, which is not the same as anything released after that date. Submissions are generally made well in advance of release to ensure Sony's certification team can approve the game in time.
This is good news, and makes sense. It's good to bridge the current gen into the new one. And hopefully there won't be too many hiccups with backwards compatibility. Not bad I say. What say you, SW?