PS5 Backwards Compatibility Confusion Explained

PS5 gaming console with DualSense controller
PlayStation 5 console

Sony announced via its PlayStation Blog on October 9th that of its extensive library of PlayStation 4 games, just 10 games will not be playable on the upcoming PlayStation 5.

Set to release on November 12th, the PS5 has been the subject of some ambiguous messaging regarding its backwards compatibility, leaving gamers concerned with whether or not they will have the ability to play PlayStation 4 games on their PlayStation 5.

Messages included statements that “most” PS4 games would be coming to the PS5 and, later, “99%” of PlayStation 4 games will be playable on the PlayStation 5.

Given the recent news, of Sony’s 4,000+ PS5 games, only 0.25% of games will not be playable across generations. I suppose 99.75% doesn’t have the same ring to it.

DWVR, Afro Samurai 2 Revenge of Kuma Volume One, TT Isle of Man — Ride on the Edge 2, Just Deal With It!, Shadow Complex Remastered, Robinson: The Journey, We Sing, Hitman Go: Definitive Edition, Shadwen, and Joe’s Diner are the 10 titles that are labeled as “PS4 only” on the PlayStation support site.

It seems that fears of a limited backwards compatibility functionality were unfounded. The reality is that these 10 games are likely to have some unusual problem in development and Sony was unable to convince the developers to solve the issue ahead of launch, or perhaps developers were unable to solve the problem altogether. The lack of clarity can likely be attributed to Sony’s attempts to narrow down exactly what that number of games would be, and in an attempt to avoid the potential for angered fans, Sony stated, accurately, that not all PlayStation 4 games would be able to make the transition.

The fervor behind backwards compatibility is leftover from the previous transition between console generations where Sony made headlines by not including the feature while Microsoft, meanwhile, decided to allow a handful of games to be played from the previous generation. The decision was a talking point in the industry, and despite Microsoft’s touting large numbers in May of 2018, a study conducted by Ars Technica showed that backwards compatibility made up a very small portion of user engagement on the console.

Regardless of its usage, it seems that gamers can rest assured in the upcoming generation that they can play their titles on their console of choice. Whether they prefer to play on Microsoft’s incremental console iteration which lends itself to backwards compatibility, or Sony’s more traditional console cycle approach, games of the previous generation will carry over regardless.



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Jacob Mitchener

Jacob Mitchener

(Mostly) tech writer based in NYC. Other interests include movies, games, music, soccer, and traveling. You’ll find a little bit of all of that here.