PlayStation 5: Sony patent suggests it will be backwards compatible

A patent from 2017 filed by the father of the PlayStation 4, Mark Cerny, has recently become public and it suggests the PlayStation 5 will be backwards compatible. The patent describes a process whereby the system will decide if the application is for the current CPU or a legacy application, and if it is, run with selected features disabled and with some added latency as the new CPU will be running rather faster than a legacy CPU.

Here’s the diagram filed with the patent.


As the PlayStation 4, and indeed the Xbox One, are really just custom PC’s in a nice box, making games from this generation run on the next really shouldn’t be that difficult, especially if Sony and MS use the same suppliers for CPU and GPU chips.

Last week a patent for a wireless version of the PlayStation VR headset was discovered.

Source: jackofallcontrollers

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  1. There’s talk of the PS5 will be able to play all PlayStation games all the way back to the PS1. But as the PS3 chips etc were completely different and difficult to program it will be more difficult to get it’s games to run on the PS5.

    • Looking at a PS3 emulator for PC, they’re claiming 38.9% of the 3100 games tested are “playable”, meaning “can be properly played from start to finish”. Doesn’t specify they run perfectly, just can be completed.

      And 46.71% get as far as playing the game but can’t be finished, or have glitches or don’t run fast enough.

      So yeah, it’s tricky to do, but Sony might have an advantage over a bunch of (clearly quite talented) random people making an emulator. Possibly some extra knowledge of the PS3, along with whatever clever stuff they’ve patented and the option to go the XBone BC route and let you download a translated/recompiled/whatever you want to call it version of the game.

      But even then, I suspect any PS3 BC will be for a limited selection of games.

  2. I was going to say it seems fairly obvious the PS5 will be backwards compatible, but then remembered it’s Sony, so there’s always a chance they’ll do something stupid.

    But assuming they don’t, the question is how backwards compatible will it be? PS4 stuff running on a PS5 seems fairly certain. PS1 and PS2 stuff is clearly possible, but will they want to let that happen for free when they can sell the old games again?

    PS3 and it’s weird hardware would probably be possible, but still tricky and not guaranteed to work for everything. But it sounds like all these BC patents are designed to work around exactly the sorts of problems that might show up.

    My guess would be the PS5 will happily run PS4 games at no extra cost. PS1-3 games will be like the PS2 games on PS4 situation. Pay to play them on the new hardware. PS2 games already available on the PS4 would presumably just work on the PS5.

    But Sony could surprise everyone and give us free BC for all previous generations. PS3 games might need a similar thing to the XBone and a download of a new compatible version (if you’ve got the disc or it’s on your PSN account)

    That would involve Sony throwing money at the problem to make it go away though. Which isn’t out of the question, especially if they want to wipe out one of the last few advantages MS has.

  3. Replying to all of you: Yes to PS4, almost certainly PS1 and 2, not a chance in hell for PS3.

    • Some form of PS3 BC would at least be possible.

      100% perfect, everything just works? No chance.

      Some things work perfectly, some behave a bit weird and some won’t work at all? Easy enough to do, but there’s no way Sony would let that happen.

      But limited PS3 BC? Only for games that definitely work? Maybe downloading a new version, same as with the XBone and it’s BC? 2 or 3 years ago, I’d have said no chance, not if they could see you a new copy. But these days? It’s possible. Hopefully Sony will take note of what they got right, and what the competition got right, and apply that to the PS5. And BC on the XBone seems at least vaguely popular. If it’s possible on the PS5 in any way, Sony really need to do it.

  4. This would be wonderful and long overdue. We can all probably handle the omission of the PS3 and just embrace the remasters. However, I hope this sets a precedent for generations to come even if they have to skip backwards compatibility once in a blue moon for some sort of gargantuan change/leap in technology every handful of generations.

  5. Given their current user base, it would indeed be plain stupid not to offer BC. Even though I still think it’s the most overrated console feature ever.
    Maybe they offer BC as a service, with a monthly fee for each console generation separately, or as a bundle.

  6. But will it play my audio cds?!

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