Sony's cross-gen plans have leaked out, confirming newer PS4 games will also need to be compatible with the PS5 as well.
Unlike the Xbox Series X, the PS5 will have exclusives at launch. Sony is clearly delineating the PS4 and PS5 hardware generations right out of the gate. This means we'll see two versions of third-party games releasing in 2020 and beyond: a PS4 SKU, and a separate PS5 SKU with enhanced performance like faster loading times, ray tracing, enhanced frame rates and resolution.
Sony has established a mandate to ensure the cross-gen dual game release strategy rolls out as smooth as possible. PS4 games submitted to Sony for certification on or after July 13 must also run on the next-gen PS5. The info comes from internal development slides provided to Eurogamer, and confirms its forward-compatibility plans.
In order to receive certification and the greenlight to release on Sony's PlayStation 4 platform, developers must ensure their game runs on both generations of console hardware. Conversely, games built for the PS5 won't need to run on the PS4.
Here's the basic gist of Sony's plans with the PlayStation 5:
- PS5 will have exclusive games not available on PS4
- Devs can release both a PS4 and PS5 version of their game
- In July, PS4 games submitted for certification are required to be forward-compatible with PS5 hardware, but PS5 games do not have to run on PS4 (unlike Microsoft's first-party games, which must run on four separate Xbox systems at launch)
- PS5 will play thousands of PS4 games at launch via backward compatibility
Certification is only the beginning though. All PS4 games certified after July 13 are required to continue running on the PS5. Any game updates, expansions, or alterations to the game must keep compatibility with the next-gen system. This means devs will have to optimize game patches for both the PS4 and PS5 at the same time.
Luckily Sony will make this transition process quite fluid and simple--the PS5's architecture has been hailed as the easiest in the history of console gaming.
Still, Sony has said the PS5 will boost PS4 games so much that some games simply can't handle it.
In this case, devs need to step in and make a few tweaks to ensure compatibility. These titles are part of the first opt-in backwards compatibility initiative, though. Devs aren't required to make existing and released PS4 games available on the PS5 (although it'd behoove them to do so as BC is a big selling point).
Only those games that are submitted past the July 13 cutoff date are subject to the new cross-gen mandate.
The PlayStation 5 is said to have three modes of operation, two of which natively emulate performance of the PS4 and PS4 Pro:
- Native Mode - Fully unlocks the Navi GPU at 2.23GHz for next-gen games
- PS4 Pro Legacy Mode - Downscales the GPU to 911MHz, 218GB/sec bandwidth, and 64 ROPs to emulate the PS4 Pro
- PS4 Legacy Mode - Drops the GPU to 800MHz with 176GB/sec bandwidth and 32 ROPs to emulate the base PS4
It's possible some PS4 games can run on the PS5's Native Mode with the full CPU and GPU unlocked.
Sony has yet to detail any of these plans on an official level, and we probably won't hear very much granular info during its upcoming presentations.
The PS5 is due out Holiday 2020, and Sony will hold a special next-gen games reveal event on Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 4PM EST.
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