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 They’ve been replaced by some fantastic titles that push the power of Sony’s latest console, and play and look a lot better than most PS3 games.
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 – Playing PS4 games on your new console
In a new patent registered by Sony a while back, and now 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.
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.
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 – you’ll pay more in order to play your favorite PS4 games.
Right now, we don’t even know PS5 release date, yet alone any of its new features, but backwards compatibility is a certainty.
Do you want to be able to play PS4 games on PS5? Let us know in the comments below.
Picture source: PlayStation 5 news