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Sony: PlayStation 5 PS4 backwards compatibility making good progress

Sony is on track to adding support for the 'overwhelming majority of PS4 games' on the PlayStation 5 at launch.

2 minutes & 52 seconds read time

Sony's ambitious PS4 backwards compatibility support on the PS5 is going smoothly, SIE boss Jim Ryan says.

Sony: PlayStation 5 PS4 backwards compatibility making good progress 9

Microsoft is the uncontested leader in backwards compatibility, and four generations of Xbox games are playable on the Xbox Series X. But Sony also has big ambitions. Sony plans to support the "overwhelming majority of the PS4's 4,000 games library" on the next-gen PS5, but each game has to be added on a title-to-title basis. Thankfully, progress on this compatibility process is going smoothly.

In a recent interview with CNET, Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan gave a quick update on PS5's backwards compatibility. The console was built with PS4 support in mind, and devs are currently updating their PS4 games to run on PS5.

"We said that the PS5 has been designed to play PS4 games. We're going through the process with the publishers and developers testing that rather exhaustive library of over 4,000 games. We're happy with the progress that's been made," Ryan said.

Sony: PlayStation 5 PS4 backwards compatibility making good progress 59

Read Also: PlayStation 5 SSD destroys loading screens in new Ratchet & Clank game

Sony previously said that PS4 games will be natively boosted on the PS5, complete with improved resolution, higher frame rates, and more.

The next-gen console's new tech is so powerful that some games can't handle this huge boost in performance, so they have to be updated and re-tooled to run on the new system.

"We're expecting backward compatible titles will run at a boosted frequency on PS5 so that they can benefit from higher or more stable frame rates and potentially higher resolutions. We're currently evaluating games on a title-by-title basis to spot any issues that need adjustment from the original software developers," Sony said in a March 2020 update.

"Running PS4 and PS4 Pro titles at boosted frequencies has also added complexity. The boost is truly massive this time around and some game code just can't handle it. Testing has to be done on a title-by-title basis," PlayStation 5 architect Mark Cerny said in the big Road to PS5 presentation.

The PlayStation 5 has two different legacy modes that enable backwards compatibility with older PS4 era games:

  • 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

Sony's PlayStation 5 will release Holiday 2020. No pricing has been announced, and we still don't know how many PS4 games will be playable when it launches.

Check below for more info on the PS5:

PlayStation 5 specs and details:

  • Custom SoC with second-gen Navi GPU, Zen 2 CPU
  • 8-Core, 16-thread Zen 2 CPU at 3.5GHz
  • Navi 2X GPU with 36 CUs on RDNA 2 at 2.23GHz
  • Ultra-fast 825GB SSD with up to 9GB/sec speeds
  • Support for 4K 120 Hz TVs
  • Ray-tracing enabled
  • 8K output support (for gaming)
  • Plays PS4 games, BC is on a title-to-title basis
  • Separate games that ship on BD-XL Blu-ray discs
  • New controller with extensive haptic and tactile feedback
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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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