According to fresh rumors, Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 5 will be as much about looking to next-generation gaming as looking back to the console’s rich ‘history,’ raising hopes that backward compatibility will be beyond our wildest dreams.
The news is courtesy of the latest episode of Vice Waypoint’s prolific podcast series. Knee deep in a breakdown of Sony’s big PlayStation 5 announcement earlier this week, Waypoint revealed that grapevine murmurings placed Sony’s PlayStation 5 focus as much on the future as the past with the ability to ‘play lots of those games’ referring to previous-gen titles.
Marrying this to confirmation from Sony, via a Famitsu interview last week, that it was hard at work to ‘secure complete compatibility,’ the PlayStation 5’s backward compatibility prospects are looking increasingly exciting.
The question is, how far back is Sony willing to go. The notion of playing PlayStation One classics like Metal Gear Solid or obscure, almost forgotten titles like Vigilante 8 on a PlayStation 5 is pretty tantalizing stuff, and I’m sure the sentiment extends to a large portion of those of a certain age. The same applies to fondly remembered PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 titles.
As for the PlayStation 4, the roster is so stacked with excellent titles and exclusives that omitting these from PS5 compatibility would feel very much like a missed opportunity.
There’s a sense that if Sony is investing the time and resources to get PlayStation 5 backward compatibility right, it would do well to go the full nine yards. Doing so would soften the blow of the notable absence of backward compatibility built into the PlayStation 4 and, from a market perspective, saddle up to Microsoft’s much better track record.
Engaging in a spot of speculation – because, at this point, we’re unlikely to hear firm details from Sony until well into 2020 – practically speaking, this could come in the form of a revamped PlayStation Now-like service with a much richer library of old games.
As for playing a previous-gen game from a physical disc on the PlayStation 5, it’s the holy grail for many older gamers. The main prohibitive factor is the limited number of games in circulation for older PlayStation legacy devices (discounting the existing glut of PlayStation 4 games) and whether Sony can justify the development and hardware costs for a relatively small pool of potential players.