Frame drops in PS4 games may be a thing of the past thanks to the PS5's backwards compatibility boost mode.
Today Sony revealed more info on how PS4 games will be natively boosted on the PS5's new hardware. The next-gen console will raise the performance of all playable PS4 games in certain ways, ranging from faster load times for games installed on the PS5's SSD to streamlined/increased frame rates. Not every game will see a big native FPS boost, though, and Sony warns gamers they may need to download an update before certain PS4 games can be played on the PS5.
"Select PS4 games will benefit from the PS5 console's Game Boost, which may make PS4 games run with a higher or smoother frame rate," a new PS5 support article reads.
Ghost of Tsushima, for example, will get a 60FPS option thanks to the PS5's native Game Boost tech.
Sony platform exec Hideaki Nishino had this to say about PS4 game perf on PS5:
"PS4 titles get even better on PS5. Select PS4 titles will see increased loading speeds on the PS5 console, and will also leverage Game Boost, offering improved or more stable frame rates. Some titles with unlocked frame rates or dynamic resolution up to 4K may see higher fidelity. Additionally, PS4 games will also take advantage of some of PS5's new UX features, but more to come on that later."
This FPS boost will be a boon for games locked at just 30FPS on base PS4, and those that run with wild frame rate variance. Games like Anthem and Control have big FPS drops that've arguably been smoothed out somewhat with new updates, but the titles will run better on PS5 by default.
These native upgrades aren't to be confused with the higher-end optimization patches that developers are rolling out for specific games. While patches are needed for some PS4 games to be playable on PS5, it doesn't mean the game will get more dramatic optimization upgrades like native 4K 60FPS, 120FPS support, and ray-traced visuals.
The PS5 has three different performance modes, two of which emulate PS4 and PS4 Pro performance:
- 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
Games that get ray-tracing, 4K 60FPS, and other upgrades will run on the PS5's native mode. Other PS4 games will either run on PS4 or PS4 Pro modes with boosted performance in certain areas. There's lots of variability here, so just because a game can get boosted FPS doesn't mean it actually will.
In early 2020, Mark Cerny said the PS5's boost mode is "so powerful this time that some PS4 games can't handle it." Devs have rolled out updates and patches to ensure PS4 game compatibility on PS5.
The next-gen console's massive power upgrade (10.3TFLOP GPU, Zen 2 CPU, 16GB GDDR6 RAM, ultra-fast PCIe 4.0 SSD) basically remove the shackles of the weaker Jaguar-based PS4 and removes hardware restrictions. Whether or not the developers or the games themselves make use of the upgrade remains to be seen.
The PlayStation 5 will release on November 12, 2020 for $399 (digital-only edition) and $499 (disc-based console).
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