PS5 Backwards Compatibility - Will PlayStation 5 Play PS4 Games? (2023)

PS5 Backwards Compatibility - Will PlayStation 5 Play PS4 Games? (1)

Let’s talk PS5 backwards compatibility.

As soon as the PS4 launched in 2013, my PS3 was put aside and has been gathering dust ever since.

Without backwards compatibility, playing some of my favorite PS3 games was too much hassle. It meant disconnecting and moving my PS4 from the small stand underneath my TV. Taking half the stuff out of the cupboard under the stairs to find the PS3, and then setting it up. Consequently, the only PS3 games I’ve played since 2013 have been remasters that have been released digitally on the PlayStation Store.

As time has gone on, I don’t see PS4 backwards compatibility as a big thing. I don’t miss the games in my PS3 collection. They’ve been replaced by some fantastic titles that push the power of Sony’s latest console, and play and look a lot better than most PS3 games.

(Video) How To Play PS4 Games On PS5

However, the difference between the PS3 and PS4 was worlds apart, with a new architecture that is 10 times more powerful than its last console, and far less complex to work with. Quite simply, playing PS3 games on PS4 is akin to playing Nintendo DS games on a Nintendo Switch – why would anyone want to do that? With the PS5, however, the upgrade will be much more subtle, and PS4 games should stand the test of time in terms of performance and visuals.

PS5 Backwards Compatibility – PS4 Games On New Console?

The latest piece of evidence that we will be able to play older games on PlayStation 5 comes from a new patent filed by Sony Japan.

On the Hokanko Japanese blog, which discovered the filing, they provide the following translation (via Google translate) on the finer details.

“The aim is to make the applications designed for the previous consoles (legacy device) run perfectly on the most powerful hardware, and is focused on eliminating the synchronization errors between the new consoles and the behavior of the previous ones (PS4, PS3, PS2 and PSX). For example, if the CPU of the new console is faster than the previous one, data could be overwritten prematurely, even if they were still being used by another component.

Thanks to the new system, PS5 would be able to imitate the behavior of the previous consoles, so that the information that arrives at the different processors is returned in response to the “calls” of the games. The processor is able to detect the needs of each application and behave as if it were the original “brain” of each machine, cheating the software. This technology does not prevent PS5 could also have additional processors to have compatibility with machines whose architecture is difficult to replicate, as in the case of PS2.”

(Video) Exploring PS5 - Backwards Compatibility

More Evidence Of Backwards Compatible Games On PS5

Further evidence comes from a report released on Sony IR Day. In one of the slides shown at the presentation is the sentence: “Aim to mitigate the impact of platform lifecycle compared to past cycle and stabilize profit structure.” There’s a graph that appears alongside the slide showing how profits drop at the beginning of each console cycle.

This is believed to be because there’s a large chunk of games players are currently still enjoying in their existing library of games. And by purchasing a new console at release in the past these games haven’t carried over. By making the PS5 backwards compatible with PS4 games, players will be able to continue playing their existing games with ease.

This should made more easier than past consoles due to the much smaller jump in technology between PS4 and PS5 compared to PS3 and PS4. It’s rumored that Sony will be utilizing the existing architecture of its current console.

PS5 Backwards Compatible With PS4 Games Patent Surfaces

In a new patent registered by Sony a while back, and updated on October 2, 2018, it looks like that we’ll get backwards compatibility with PS4 games. It also appears that could extend to PS3, PS2 and PSOne games. Check out the wording from the patent, which is titled “Remastering by emulation”.

Each asset such as a texture called for by legacy software such as a legacy computer game software has a unique identifier associated with it. The unique identifier can be rendered by imposing a hash on the asset, and then the asset stored with its identifier in a data structure. An artist remasters the textures for presentation on a higher resolution display than envisioned in the original software, and stores them back in the data structure with their identifiers. The original software is then played on the higher resolution display, with asset (such as texture) calls being intercepted, identified, and the data structure entered to retrieve the remastered asset having a matching identifier. The remastered asset is then inserted on the fly into the game presentation.

The last sentence seems to suggest that the numerous remasters of PS3 games that we’ve seen on PS4 won’t be happening on PS5.

(Video) Why You Should NOT Buy A PlayStation 5 in 2023... (3 years later)

PS5 backwards compatibility is looking a little more likely after a US patent was updated by Sony Interactive Entertainment America. Updated on February 13, it clearly states: “Backward compatibility testing of software in a mode that disrupts timing.”

This isn’t confirmation that the PS5 will be able to play PS4 games, but it could be an indication that Sony is conducting some kind of backwards compatibility testing.

Will PS5 Play PS4 Games?

Another patent was filed in 2015, a couple of years after the launch of PS4 and was updated in 2018.

PS5 Backwards Compatibility - Will PlayStation 5 Play PS4 Games? (4)

Despite it being there in plain writing, this conflicts with the views of SIEE’s Jim Ryan, who made it clear that the company had no plans to change its stance on the feature back in 2017.

Though he admits, it’s a much-requested feature from fans, he believes that it’s a feature that wouldn’t actually be used that much. Speaking to Time magazine, Ryan said:

(Video) Quirks of PlayStation Backwards Compatibility

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,” Ryan told Time. “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?

PS5 Survey Asks About Backwards Compatibility

Until the big reveal, we’ll just have to wait to see whether our shiny new PS5 can play PS4 games! In a recent PS5 survey, a company working on gathering market data for Sony, asked consumers what they’re hopes were for the PS5 specifications and overall look of the PS5. We suspect it won’t be long before we find out all the details.

What Do Analysts Say About Playing PS4 Games On PS5?

NPD analyst Mat Piscatella also reckons that we’ll be able to play PS4 games on PS5. In an interview with Gaming Bolt, he stated: “I’d be surprised if the PS5 were not backwards compatible with PS4 content, and Sony already has a streaming solution in market with PlayStation Now. It wouldn’t surprise me if both PlayStation 5 and the next Xbox took this type of approach, although I’m sure they’d do so in slightly different ways with different messaging.”

PS5 Digital Only Games?

Though we’re yet to hear anything of substance about the PS5 from Sony, it’s clear we’re moving quickly towards an era where physical discs will become a distant memory. The PlayStation 5 could be the first console that takes that step, with players downloading all titles from the PlayStation Store. I’d expect to see much larger hard-drives and extra cloud storage space to accommodate the new era of digital gaming, and I’m certain that PS5 backwards compatibility will be a thing.

PS5 Backwards Compatibility - Will PlayStation 5 Play PS4 Games? (5)

Right now, I buy all my PS4 games digitally because it’s convenient, but also because I firmly believe that all digital titles that you download now on PS4 will be backwards compatible on PS5. With an era of fantastic games, such as Horizon Zero Dawn, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and brilliant multiplayer experiences, players will want to dip back into those games. Sony would be foolish not to let them.

Of course, PS5 backwards compatibility comes with its downsides for Sony. They’ll want players to buy the new games to make more profit. However, I believe Sony will make the PS5 backwards compatibility feature part of its PlayStation Plus subscription.

(Video) PS5 - Transferring Data From Your PS4 Console

Right now, we don’t even know PS5 release date, yet alone any of its new features, but backwards compatibility is a certainty. The only thing we do know for certain is some of the developers working on PS5 games.

Do you want to be able to play PS4 games on PS5? Let us know in the comments below.


PS5 Backwards Compatibility - Will PlayStation 5 Play PS4 Games? ›

PS5 Backwards Compatibility: Can You Play PS4 Games on PlayStation 5? Yes, PS4 games are playable on the PS5, meaning that the PlayStation 5 is backwards compatible with the PS4. This means that you'll be able to download games that you've purchased from the PlayStation Store on PS4 and play them on the PS5.

Will PS5 have backwards compatibility PS4 issues? ›

PS5 backwards compatibility limitations

If you got your PS4 digital game through the PS3 game to PS4 digital game upgrade program (and therefore need the PS3 disc to play it), you will not be able to play that PS4 digital game on your PS5 console.

Can you play PS4 versions of games on PS5? ›

You can play most PlayStation 4 games on the PlayStation 5 thanks to the Sony console's excellent backward compatibility feature. But a few publishers allow you to upgrade PS4 games to the PS5 versions for free.

Is the PS5 backwards compatible with games? ›

In announcing the PlayStation 5, Sony revealed that the console is fully backward compatible with the PS4. This means you can play PlayStation 4 games on a PlayStation 5; you can even use some PS4 hardware with the PS5.

Will ps6 be backwards compatible with PS4? ›

This console can play ps4 games and ps5 games through backwards compatibility. However, because of that the price was very high at release(mentioned later).

Can PlayStation 5 play PlayStation 3 games? ›

The PS5 can play PS3 games via a PS Plus Premium membership, which you'll have to pay for to access their library of PS3 games. The PS5 can, however, play almost any PS4 games that were released. The PS5 is similarly backwards compatible with the PS2 as it is with the PS3.

How do I get PS4 versions on PS5? ›

If you want to upgrade a digital PS4 game to PS5, search for your PS4 game either in the PlayStation Store or your game library under the “Your Collection” tab. Once you find the game, select it to enter its hub and then select the upgrade offer, just as you would with the physical version. Then select “Download.”

Do I need both PS4 and PS5 versions of games? ›

But we'll answer it anyway, just to put minds at ease: no, you don't need to keep the PS4 version of a game in order to run the PS5 version on your PS5. Keeping both games means that you effectively have two, slightly different version of the same game installed at once.

Is it worth upgrading to PS5? ›

Now more than ever, Sony's latest console is worth your investment and there has never been a better time to upgrade. Everything about the PS5 screams next-gen. From its outlandish but sleek design, comfortable DualSense controller, and stellar 4K graphics, the PS5 is a major upgrade over the PS4.

Can PS5 play PS1 discs? ›

The only PS1, PS2, and PS3 games you can play on PS5 are those on PS Plus. These are emulated and must be downloaded from PSN. They can't run off an original disc, and there's a limited selection to choose from.

Can PS5 take PS2 games? ›

If you own a PS5, it is possible to play certain PS2 games on your console. Sadly, you won't be able to play disk-based games since those are not compatible with the console. This means that if you have a stack of PS2 game disks at home, you can just keep them as a collection – a relic of the past.

Can PS4 play PS3 discs? ›

The short answer is that no, the PlayStation 4 is not backward-compatible with PlayStation 3 games. Inserting a PS3 disc into the PS4 will not work. And you cannot download digital versions of PS3 games from the PlayStation Store onto your PlayStation 4.

What PS4 games have issues with PS5? ›

If you want to know which PS4 games you can't play on PS5, here's the full list: Afro Samurai 2 Revenge of Kuma Volume One. TT Isle of Man Ride on the Edge 2. Just Deal With It!

What happens if you put a PS5 game in a PS4? ›

Different from the Xbox Smart Delivery program on Xbox Series X/S, Sony doesn't support forwards compatibility. Therefore, you can't simply take your PS5 game and play it on the PS4 console. Instead, you need the help of Remote Play or Share Play to enjoy PS5 games on PS4. Here are guides for you.

What makes PS5 better than PS4? ›

The quality of PS5 games, full support for 4K media, faster loading times, and extra features like haptic feedback make the PS5 more than worth the upgrade for current PS4 owners. If you're planning to buy a brand-new console in 2023, there's no reason to choose a PS4 over the standard or digital edition PS5.

Will PS5 get PS3 backwards compatibility? ›

Fortunately, you can play PS3 games on PS5. However, their physical discs won't work as PS5 doesn't recognize them. Instead, you must get your favorite PS3 game(s) in a “digital form” using Sony's paid PS Now (or PS Plus) service.


1. Will PS4 Games Work on PS5? - The Truth of PS5 Backwards Compatibility
2. PS5 Backwards Compatibility: Which PS4 Games Could Get The Biggest Boosts?
(Digital Foundry)
3. PS5 Backwards Compatibility - 9 Things You Need To Know
(PlayStation Access)
4. These PS4 Games Break PS5 Backwards Compatibility
5. The Truth About PS5 Backwards Compatibility
(Spawn Wave)
6. Exploring PS5 - Backwards Compatibility
(PlayStation Support)
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