Sony's next-gen PlayStation 5 will ensure seamless and full native backward compatibility with PS4 games thanks to downscaling profiles built right into the Navi GPU.
According to massive new leaks verified by Eurogamer, the PS5 will indeed carry forward the full PlayStation 4 generation of games with complete games backward compatibility. This is made possible by two special modes built right into the silicon that downscale the PS5's GPU to current-gen performance targets, complete with lowered clock frequencies, RAM speeds, and Render Output units.
In essence, the PlayStation 5 was built from the ground up with backward compatibility in mind, similar to an iterative console. I've said right from the beginning that the new consoles will blur then line between next-gen and iterative cycles with both hardware and software.
Technically the PS5 has three GPU performance profiles:
- Gen2 mode - Fully unlocks the Navi GPU at 2GHz for next-gen games
- Gen1 mode - Downscales the GPU to 911MHz, 218GB/sec bandwidth, and 64 ROPs to emulate the PS4 Pro
- Gen0 mode - Drops the GPU to 800MHz with 176GB/sec bandwidth and 32 ROPs to emulate the base PS4
The big question is if current-gen games can run in Gen2 mode or not.
Whether or not the PlayStation 5 will allow developers to enhance older PS4 games to harness the power of the PlayStation 5's new beefier specs remains to be seen.
It likely depends on whether or not said game will run in Gen2 mode, which allows for big performance optimizations like Variable Rate Shading, which can tremendously boost frame rates, or amazing new lighting effects with ray tracing. If this happens depends on how much work it is for developers--if it's tough to do, devs may simply move on and release two SKUs of their new games (a PS4 and PS5 version) rather than going back and retroactively enhancing their older titles.
Then again, developers say the PlayStation 5 is the easiest console they've developed games on. This assertion further underlines the architectural similarities between the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, hinting the next-gen leap isn't as pronounced as we once thought.
There's still no word on the rumored BC support for PS1, PS2, and PS3 games, though. Sony did patent the tech that would make it possible for the full PlayStation generation of games to play on the PlayStation 5, but nothing's been confirmed so far.
Sony has already confirmed the PS5 will play PS4 games, but didn't comment about the sweeping scope of the support. Based on this new info, it appears all current-gen games will carry forward to the new system.
Backward compatibility is paramount for the PS5's success. The PS4 currently has an install base in excess of 100 million with many more times that in software, and the console will simply die if it doesn't let users bring their already-owned games over.
Sony is expected to reveal the PS5 in a special event in February 2020. The console will release in Holiday 2020, and it may cost $499.
Check below for more info:
PlayStation 5 specs and details:
- Custom SoC with second-gen Navi GPU, Zen 2 CPU
- 8-Core, 16-thread Zen 2 CPU at 3.2GHz
- Navi GPU at 2.0GHz with 36 Compute Units
- Navi, Zen SoC uses new AMD RDNA 2.0 architecture
- Ultra-fast SSD
- Support for 4K 120 Hz TVs
- Ray-tracing enabled
- 8K output support (for gaming)
- Plays all PS4 games
- Separate games that ship on BD-XL Blu-ray discs
- New controller with extensive haptic and tactile feedback
PlayStation 5 Coverage:
- PS5, Xbox Series X SSD may use software-defined flash to boost speeds
- PS5's SSD is 'exceptionally powerful,' may beat Xbox Series X speeds
- DualShock 5 renders show new trigger design, USB-C, ergonomic shell
- PlayStation 5 to support 8K gaming, Sony confirms
- New PlayStation 5 renders show off radical different design, again
- Leaked PlayStation 5 ad prices console at $1,000, is totally fake
- Sony seeks a new Head of Strategy for Worldwide Studios
- Leaked PlayStation 5 devkit photos show new DualShock controller
- PS5, Xbox Scarlett SSD may use Optane-like ReRAM to supercharge speeds
- NVIDIA G-Sync monitors to improve PlayStation 5 and Xbox Scarlett
- PlayStation 5: Everything We Know So Far
- PlayStation 5 confirmed to have 8C/16T Zen 2 CPU from AMD
- PS5, Project Scarlett may use Samsung's 6th gen V-NAND NVMe SSDs
- PS5 backward compatibility confirmed, will play PS4 games
- Sony's next-gen PlayStation 5 has 4K 120Hz output support
- PS5, Project Scarlett to hit over 10TFLOPs of power, sources say
- PS4 will be supported into 2022, to live alongside PS5
- Sony: ultra-high-speed SSD is 'the key' to next-gen PS5
- PS5 dev kit rumor: 'ultra-fast RAM', Navi GPU with 13 TFLOPs
- PlayStation 5 rumored to ship with 2TB of super-fast SSD for $499
- Insider: PlayStation 5 dev kit faster than Xbox Scarlett right now
- PS5 cartridges aren't real, patents are for Sony kids toys
- PS5's SSD may benefit PS4 games the most
- PS5 powered by Navi in 2020, AMD making Navi with Sony input
- Cloud-powered PlayStation controller may let you play free game demos
- Gran Turismo 7 is a PlayStation 5 launch title: launches Nov 20, 2020
- PS5 confirmed to support 8K video, ray tracing, all on Navi
- PlayStation 5 rumored to cost $499, launches November 20, 2020
- PlayStation game demos are coming back with Sony's ambitious new plan
- PS5 controller: Built-in mic, USB-C, no lightbar, ergonomic design
- PlayStation 5 concept video shows totally new design
- Sony solves PS5's biggest issue
- Sony: PS5 development going according to plan
- New Viking Assassin's Creed may be next-gen console launch game
- AMD working on 'secret sauce' for next-gen Xbox/PlayStation
- The first real photo of a PlayStation 5 dev kit appears
- Next-gen PS5/Xbox Scarlett open-world game: 'best real-time graphics'
- Sony restructures workforce to prepare for PS5
- PlayStation VR 2: built-in cameras, wireless, ready for PS5
- PS5 games will ship on 100GB Blu-ray BDXL discs
- PS5 and Xbox Scarlett will both handle ray tracing differently
- PlayStation 5 could feature AI-powered 'PlayStation Assist'
- Sony won't abandon singleplayer story-driven games on PS5
- PS5 rumor: GPU is nearly as powerful as RTX 2080, GPU clocked at 2GHz
- PlayStation 5 rumored to be unveiled on February 12, 2020
- Sony to raise PS5 cost thanks to U.S. tariffs