PS5 - And Backwards Compatability to Play Old Games

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MonkeyKing1969

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Eight months ago I asked what people wanted (actully needed) PlayStation 5 to be to be interested. Not what Sony was saying, but what you wanted...taht had to be there...and you coudl only choose one.

18% chose: "Low Price..."

11% chose: "Horsepower... to reach closer to high end PCs"

4% chose: "New rendering support for ray tracing ..."

44% chose: "Backwards compatibility for PS4 games and current PSVR - stable continuation of support and hardware ideas from last-gen into new-gen.

9% chose: Loading MUST BE addressed for modern games, faster loads are where they money should go not rendering or low prices"


So backward Compatibility was the run away choice. A fine choices, but most of you didn't want just what Mark Cerny said playing PS4 and PSVR, most of you asked for more of the catalog from all generations. I will admit I was dubious that Sony would do that, put in the engineering and effort to allow that.

Turns out maybe...maybe they will. It seems like the latest rumor is if we OWN the disc it might play. One woudl assume if there is a way to prove you bought the game digitally that might count, but that as not talked about - but I would assume they would address downloaded games from teh PS3 and PS4 generation, right?

The broad outline of the rumor is that Sony is working on two side of the issue - hardware and software. They will “remastering engine” for the PlayStation 5 that will allow the console to run PlayStation 1-4 games with some improvement. Improvement meaning displaying correctly on a 4K TV, load time improvements, and for early games 'smoothing of jaggies' one would guess - we can only guess though. The other part of the rumor being about hardware in that the PlayStation 5 GPU will have 'modes' to help in reading discs of previous generations and processing via special hardware (maybe).

That's fine with me, I won't use it, but I can see the selling point of that feature. The downside form most might be Sony won't be selling these games new unless they own them and have the rights to the sports team names...the music...the intellectual property, etc. Moreover, not all discs will probably work because PS1 and PS2 gamer were often developed with shortcuts and work-arounds. This seems like a system that is heavily on the physical disc being there, so that will limit what si available. They very fact they rumor hints that Sony was making sure hardware could rad discs and the hardware could interpret the software seems o point toward buying the old discs used or having them already.

So, would this be acceptable to those that wanted BC? After all, Sony might not sell these old games in any downloadable from and all might not work - this is the real world. Players might have to get the discs (damn Game Stop will be happy, right?); but is that a deal breaker PS 1-4 game discs play?

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Zeik

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#2  Edited By Zeik

If they include full backwards compatibility then PS1 and PS2 physical and Physical and Digital for PS3/PS4 is what I would expect. It seems unreasonable to expect every game from the PS1 and PS2 to be made digitally, as that is likely beyond what they could even achieve on their own.

Digital purchases from the PS3 and PS4 being compatible is pretty important though, as those store interfaces are unlikely to stick around forever, so it's important to ensure there is way to continue to access them. I wouldn't say it's a deal breaker if they're not, I buy new consoles primarily for the new games after all, but I would be kinda upset if they promised backward compatibility and then short changed us there.

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liquiddragon

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#3  Edited By liquiddragon

It’ll be cool if the PS5 could play not just PS4 games but PS1 to PS3 discs as well. That’s better than just PS4 BC. But if my PS3 digital library could carry over, that’d be ideal.

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Shindig

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I want the whole shebang. I legit miss PS2 emulation on the PS3 and I just wonder what Sony could do with software trickery.

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mikewhy

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If you can prove you own the game, by inserting the disc or by accessing it from PSN, you should be able to play it. I wouldn't expect them putting old games up for sale and navigating that mess.

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liquiddragon

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@shindig: I assume it'll be similar to the PS4's PS2 emulation which upscaled to 1080.

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liquiddragon

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#7  Edited By liquiddragon

@mikewhy: PS4 had PS2 Classics and PS3 had PS1 and PS2 Classics. If PS5 has BC for all previous gen PS', there will be publishers that want to sell their old catalog.

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nutter

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Microsoft, for all their faults, has done some great things in the console space. The 360 was a game changer, and clearly neither Nintendo or Sony were prepared to provide nearly the services that people would come to expect.

Xbox One’s backwards compatibility and Gamepass offerings are similarly game changers.

I think Gamepass is a style of offering that isn’t required (Sony and Nintendo both have similar-ish offerings), but a great value add. Significant backwards compatibility is effectively a consumer expectation, though.

Sony has a crazy back catalog of third party games. If I can buy digital copies of the Silent Hill and Metal Gear series, that’d be a huge deal for me.

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mikewhy

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@mikewhy: there will be publishers that want to sell their old catalog.

Oh for sure, and Sony should let them! What I meant was I wouldn't expect Sony themselves to start that initiative.

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fugoy

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#10  Edited By fugoy

I was already getting a ps5 due to having a ton of ps4 games I still want to play and I've had the thing for five years. But if it's gonna be backwards compat with all playstation games, then I'm gonna get it negative day one. I will steal it off a truck if I have to.

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OurSin_360

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That's cool, but since most my games are downloads I wonder if they will transfer? Especially since I don't currently own a console anymore.

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Ares42

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When I answered the first poll my thought process was that I already have a bunch of digital PS4 games and I don't want that library to be arbitrarily tied down to an "old box". If I can put my PS3 discs into a PS5 and play those games as well that's just a nice bonus on top.

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SloppyDetective

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Digital PS4 games is the main reason I want back compat on PS5; with the amount of digital sales I have a huge backlog on PS4 now. It would be great to be able to toss out my PS3 because I can play my MGS Collection on a PS5, but honestly I don't see myself jumping ship just because I can't play MGS 1-4 on the new machine. With Microsoft making their 1st party games available on PC I just don't see myself ever getting an Xbox again. Sony really got me invested in their 1st party output the second half of this gen so they will be my go to game box/blu ray player unless they do something I cannot stand.

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BigSocrates

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I would hope digital games would transfer, but I think there may be issues regarding the PS3 library (hopefully not the PS4.) Those issues would be legal and rights based, not technological.

The major issues related to backwards compatibility of digital games (or Xbox One style backwards compatibility where the system creates a new copy of the game) are related to copyright licenses, not technology at this point.

The reason that Xbox backwards compatibility on the One is as limited as it is is because Microsoft has to acquire the rights to create a new copy of the game on the new system. Depending on how the rights for the original game were contracted that could be either relatively easy (If Microsoft owns all the rights associated with a game it can just make that game backwards compatible without issue. If another publisher owns all the rights then it's a simple matter of getting them to sign on, either by offering some deal, like that you will pay a fee to license the game for gamepass or games with gold or by pointing out that they could increase digital sales of an old property by joining the program, at no cost) or it could be almost impossible (if, for example, music or other rights belong to other parties, some of which may not want to relicense or might even be defunct, in which case it can be a huge headache to track down who owns the rights.)

This is because when the Xbox 360 and PS3 stores were built they were not intended to be cross-generational. So the licenses granted when you "buy" a game probably only contemplated that generation of hardware. Microsoft has made it a requirement that the backwards compatibility license grant users who had a previous license a right to use the game on the new hardware. For Xbox One games I presume that the licenses were already designed to carry over (i.e. they say that the user gets the right to download a copy of the game on any Xbox system or something like that, not limited to just a particular generation of console.)

Xbox One backwards compatibility creates a new copy of the game on the XBONE, so it needs to be relicensed. If PS5 backwards compatibility just reads the game off a disc and runs it through some kind of emulator, that wouldn't be necessary because there would be no new copy made. However digital downloads would still create a new copy, so you'd have the same problem XBONE does with licensing for those. Hopefully Sony would be able to get lots of publishers on board to let people access their old digital games, but some of those publishers don't exist anymore, and others don't have all the rights to the games, so it won't be 100% even if Sony puts lots of resources into it, unless PS3 licenses were written differently than Xbox 360 licenses, but that seems unlikely.

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MonkeyKing1969

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It will be very interesting to see what Sony really does. Everything is a bit hazy now, but they seem to be saying things that sound good on paper. I think the biggest stumbling block Sony has is no so much hardware, but as people have said software emulation. They have no been glowing on software emulation

However let us play devil's advocate, by look at what Sony has shown so far. PlayStation Mini was a disaster, right? To be honest for the hardware in the box ist was fine, but what they had was really a Raspberry Pi-like device running someone else's emulation and it came out set for PAL displays....a disaster unless you wanted to tinker with it. It is okay to use emulation out there that is cheap for a $99 device, buy Sony didn't even change a checkmarks on the emulation they were using work right.

Maybe that was a wake up call, but it hard to not say that was a lazy job and could be illustrative of the work they might do. God, I hope not, but that IS the last thing they have done - so not good. Let us hope it was the wake up call that made them take BC seriously. Let's hope Mark Cerny could say (in some theoretical fantasy discussion) to Jim Ryan (PS CEO) and Kenichiro Yoshida (Sony CEO); "Guys we could have done better, the PlayStation Mini was bungled badly. There is money to be made and retention of the console space 'if 'we do this right." Let's hope Sony is not half-assing this.

Where Sony could have an edge, is if they really can read native discs. If that happens they really do have the FULL catalog open for play with decent emulation. No worries about rights to music, rights to logos, rights to characters when you play they actual discs. The legal ownership headaches of 25 ye.o software is real, playing discs lifts those licensing headaches away for the people who own the discs. And, think of this, if PS5 can play nearly all discs correctly or even improved just slightly you need never pull out you old console again and risk its motors to more wear & tear unless you want to!

I don't even want to mention this because this is pie in the sky. But, what if on the fully emulate side where we are talking about downloaded games....what if there are PSP and Vita games? What if Sony could emulate those games to pun on PS5. Yeah, I know NEVER GONNA HAPPEN, but what if? That what could be possible when a console maker works on emulate seriously. ANd PSP and Viat games are still likely within their liciane time that emans Sony could sell them digitally. And, the PS5 is very likley to have a usesr base in a few years that EXCEEDS what PSP and Vita sold in hardware. Everyone makes money that way, right? LIke I said, never gonna happen...but. No, forget I ever said it; but that would be crazy genius on Sony's part.

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FacelessVixen

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I wonder which will be more efficient in the long run: Sony's actual solutions for back-compat, or emulators that are already out in the wild. 'Cause as much as I like the idea of a PS5 that's able to play any PlayStation game from any generation, I have a feeling that PCSX2 and RPCS3 will cover more ground for those cult favorites that won't get re-licenced for a digital release; especially when RPCS3 gets developed enough to play PS3 games straight from the disc.

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Ginormous76

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I am hoping for full PS4 backwards compatibility. My backlog right now is huge and I frequently find myself wishing I had a second PS4 based on where/how I spend my time in the house. A PS5 with backwards compatibility would solve this problem. This would be enough for me.

I would be totally down with PS1-3 discs working, as I don't have a PS2, so I cannot play PS1 or PS2 discs any more (and my PS3 isn't an early one with backwards compatibility). This isn't a must for me though, because I have picked up some of the games for very cheap on my Vita.

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Shindig

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PCSX2 still has some issues for me with certain games not being up to speed. Viewtiful Joe and Black just can't run at full tilt. Plus there's some audio issues for me. Still, it does most of the job and you get things like cheats to tinker with.