PlayStation boss confirms no backward compatibility beyond PS4 on PS5
If you’ve been hoping to hear Sony announce that some sort of backward compatibility would be coming to the PlayStation 5 for the company’s classic systems, SIE CEO Jim Ryan has now dashed those hopes.
In an interview with Japanese video game magazine Famitsu, and translated by Siliconera, Ryan said that Sony’s focus in designing the PS5 was on features such as the SSD and new DualSense controller, and not on support for playing games from the original PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation 3.
Which is, of course, a shame. Sony was one of the strongest supporters for console backward compatibility in the earlier days, as the PS2 played (almost) all original PlayStation games, and the PS3 could play both PS1 and PS2 games—the latter first thanks to extra hardware, and later through digital emulation.
That last part is what makes this especially tough for longtime PlayStation owners like me. I built up quite a huge library of digital PS1 and PS2 games on the PS3, and hoped that even if PS3 games wouldn’t be playable on the PS4—which no one really expected, given that console’s incredibly complex hardware—those digital purchases would move along with me. They didn’t, and now they still won’t, even though Sony already has working, official emulators for PS1, PS2, and PlayStation Portable for the PS4.
Unfortunately, where as the company once put a lot of effort into keeping the history of PlayStation playable, it seems to have changed course somewhat in recent years. The woefully awful PlayStation Classic still remains fresh in many minds, and Ryan himself had this to say about playing older games a few years back:
“When we’ve dabbled with backwards compatibility, I can say it is one of those features that is much requested, but not actually used much. That, and I was at a Gran Turismo event recently where they had PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 games, and the PS1 and the PS2 games, they looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?”Then global sales chief Jim Ryan in interview with Time magazine
Of course, things can always change. While Microsoft is often lauded for their backward compatibility efforts on the Xbox One, those efforts didn’t come right away. And, while the Xbox 360 did play a selection of original Xbox titles, the emulation could be pretty rough at times. So, hopefully, Sony will change its mind and give the PlayStation 5 at least some connection to its older siblings.
Mollie got her start in games media via the crazy world of gaming fanzines, and now works at EGM with the goal of covering all of the weird Japanese and niche releases that nobody else on staff cares about. She’s active in the gaming community on a personal level, and an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming, consumer rights, and good UI.