In a nutshell: Sony says that the PlayStation 5 will be compatible with the "overwhelming majority" of PlayStation 4 titles. It estimates this number includes more than 4,000 games, but some games may have issues.
On Friday, Sony posted a PlayStation 5 support document detailing how PS5 backward compatibility will work. While it says that most PS4 games (over 4,000) will work on the new system, some may experience "errors or unexpected behavior." Additionally, even for games that work, some functionality that was available on the PlayStation 4 may not work on the PS5. Sony did not get into the specifics, though.
On the plus side, titles that do run without issues will benefit from the PS5's "Game Boost" mode. Games running with boost enabled "may" see higher and smoother frame rates. Game Boost is not a new concept for Sony. Back in the days of PS2 backward compatibility (before they stripped it out), users could adjust previous generation titles to run smoother and load faster from the PS2's system screen.
Even if one considers that a small number of games will be subject to issues, 4,000+ backward-compatible games is a large number to consider. While Sony did not have a full list of playable games, it did run down titles that it knows will not work on PS5. Those include:
- 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
- Joe's Diner
As you can see, it's not a deal-breaking list.
Sony recommends trying to play last-generation games on the PlayStation 5 before purchasing any DLC for them. It also says to keep the console's OS updated. As with any new hardware, there are frequently bug fixes that come along that may address functionality issues. A game that didn't work on launch day might work somewhere down the road.
It also discussed controller compatibility. The PlayStation 5 will have support for the DualShock 4 and officially licensed third-party controllers. However, legacy controllers will not work with games designed for the PS5. Sony also says that while the new DualSense will work with PS4 titles, users might want to hang on to their DS4.
"For the best experience, use a DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller when playing PS4 games and PS VR games on a PS5 console," reads the support document. "PS5 games are not compatible with the DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller."
One other thing that Sony noted is that users can transfer their PS4 games and save data to the PS5 over WiFi. This functionality is not entirely new. Users can currently use the same process to transfer data from one PS4 to another, but it is the first time migration has worked between generations.
Image credit: D.Kvasnetskyy