Sony says it’s still figuring out how backward compatibility will work on the PlayStation 5.
Speaking to Famitsu, a PlayStation spokesperson asked fans to wait for further details as it works the finer details.
“Currently, the dev team is putting all power on verifying whether they can secure complete compatibility. Please wait for more information,” Sony told Famitsu, as translated by Twitter user 黒凧 BlackKite (@bk2128).
In April, Sony confirmed that the PlayStation 5 will feature backward compatibility with PlayStation 4, although it didn’t reveal any specifics.
For context, the PlayStation 4 is not backward compatible with the PlayStation 3 due to the latter console’s infamously complicated cell processor. However, backward compatibility had been a staple for Sony up until that point, as both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2 could play games from their predecessors.
As a de facto backward compatibility solution, Sony uses its PlayStation Now service to stream PlayStation 3 games to PlayStation 4.
It’s unclear what, exactly, the Sony representative means by securing “complete compatibility.” Therefore, it’s possible that the PS5 will not be capable of playing all PS4 games. Alternatively, “complete” could be referring to all four generations of PlayStation consoles — the original PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
For context, the Xbox One supports backward compatibility with both the Xbox 360 and original Xbox. While not every title from these generations is currently playable on Xbox One, Microsoft was adding support for additional classic titles over time until June. The company has since shifted its backward compatibility efforts to the upcoming Project Scarlett, which it plans to have run Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox games.
Nonetheless, PS5 backward compatibility in at least a limited capacity is important to Sony. In May, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan backward compatibility is “absolutely key” in transitioning players from PS4 to PS5. Ryan noted that “the key to a platform’s success is initial momentum” and backward compatibility will help entice PS4 owners to jump over to the new console more quickly.
The PlayStation 5 will launch sometime in holiday 2020.