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Just How Far Will PlayStation 5 Backward Compatibility Reach?

Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:03 PM
Max Moeller
Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:03 PM
  • PlayStation 5 backward compatibility was to be limited at best.
  • A new patent hints that this feature might be better than initially thought.
  • Could Sony’s latest console support games running back to the original box?

We already know the PlayStation 5 will be backward compatible with some PlayStation 4 games. Similar to current Xbox One capabilities, the platform will likely cover a substantial amount of titles from our current generation.

Players were content with this, but a new patent hints that PlayStation 5 backward compatibility might reach back to the first PlayStation console. It utilizes next-gen cloud technology to do so.

Next-Gen Backward Compatability

Shared by @Renka_schedule  on Twitter, the patent, translated from Japanese, reads:

A large number of game titles across PS1/PS2/PS3 and various generations of game consoles can be stored and used via the cloud gaming library.

Continuing, it adds:

These games can be run on a virtual machine that mimics the operating system associated with each game console.

PlayStation 5 Virtual Machine
The patent details the different PlayStation consoles running in a virtual machine on a PlayStation 5. | Source: Twitter 

A virtual machine works similar to a computer within a computer. In this case, a console within a console.

They’re generally used as test environments for software development, as everything that happens exists within that environment. Nothing bleeds out into the primary operating system.

PlayStation 5, 4, 3, 2, and Even 1

If this patent is real, the PlayStation 5 could start a PlayStation 2 environment, for example, in which you can launch and play games. Ideally, the PlayStation 5 overlay would work on top of this, while the PlayStation 2 environment would leave the PS5 one untouched.

In other words, the PlayStation 5 would access an emulator via the cloud to play older titles.

This isn’t the only way the PlayStation 5 could play older titles, either. Assuming the console is compatible with Sony’s streaming service, PlayStation Now, players could experience games from the PlayStation 4 back to the PlayStation 2. But that’s no solution for PlayStation 1 games.

Hell, even PC players can enjoy that service, so to see it go unsupported on the PS5 would be quite strange. But many games are streamed on there, which doesn’t hold up to Xbox’s downloadable Game Pass service.