PS5 backwards compatibility: The “overwhelming majority” of PS4 games work on the PS5, but PS1, PS2 and PS3 games to be left behind

Will PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 games be playable on PS5? Here’s all we know…

by Rob Leane
PS4vPS5Console

Since the PS5’s announcement, PlayStation fans have wondered how the console will work with previous games from the PS1 to PS4. While Xbox has pushed its backwards compatibility features to the forefront of its marketing, Sony has remained a bit more quite on the topic.

Previously, Sony’s statements on backwards compatibility had been deemed “short-sighted” by some and a “mistake” by others. But there was recently-unearthed patent that seemed to suggest there is more going on behind the scenes.

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Keep reading to learn all about PS5 backwards compatibility…

Sony confirms the “overwhelming majority” of PS4 games are playable on the PS5

In a recent update to the PlayStation Backwards Compatibility support page, Sony stated: “the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 games are playable on PS5 consoles.”

The company also confirmed that “select PS4 games will benefit from the PS5 console’s Game Boost, which may make PS4 games run with a higher or smoother frame rate.”

Games acquired from PS Plus and PS Now will also work on the PS5, Sony confirmed, as will PSVR titles.

Sony published a list of games that will not be available on the PS5 when it launches in November. These include:

  • DWVR
  • 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
  • Shadwen
  • Joe’s Diner

So, while Xbox has certainly marketed its console as the best place to play old games, Sony has not left behind its old PS4 games. However, when we go back to previous consoles, it’s a different story…

READ MORE: From PS1 to PS5: How the PlayStation “defined a whole new genre”


Is the PS5 compatible with PS1, PS2 or PS3 games?

Sony’s Ultimate PS5 FAQ’s have confirmed that the next-gen console will not work with games from the PS1, PS2 or PS3. The “PS5 will play PS5 games and more than 99% of PS4 games, including PlayStation VR games, only,” read the statement, solidly putting this question to bed.

PS1 original playstation console design
OUT WITH THE OLD: Classic titles from the PS1 era won’t get the love they deserve on PS5.

This follows on Sony’s Jim Ryan interview with the Japanese site Famitsu, translated by Siliconera, in which he discussed backwards compatibility.

When asked about titles before the PS4, Ryan explained that “We keep in mind the engineering specialized for the PS5, as we produced the device. In the midst of that, the PS4 already has 100 million players; we thought they ought to want to play PS4 titles on the PS5 as well indeed, so we included compatibility with the PS4.”

“While implementing that, we also focused our efforts on taking in the high-speed SSD and the new controller DualSense at the same time. So, unfortunately, we couldn’t reach the implementation of such compatibilities.”

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But what about that big PS5 backwards compatibility patent?

If you were thinking that Ryan’s statement seems to go against the grain of what we’d heard before about PS5 backwards compatibility, you would be right.

A couple of months ago, an eye-watering Sony patent was spotted by Renkaschedule on Twitter, and it has since been picked up by such reputable outlets as IGN.

As well as including imagery that seems to show PS1, PS2 and PS3 consoles somehow filtering into the PS5 itself, the Tweet also features some mouth-watering text that has been translated from Japanese.

The translated text reads like so: “A large number of game titles across PS1/PS2/PS3 and various generations of game consoles can be stored [on PS5] and used via the cloud gaming library.”

And the text continues like this: “These games can be run on a virtual machine that mimics the operating system associated with each game console.”

sony patent ps5 back compat
BACK-COMPAT, ALRIGHT! These squiggles could mean your favourite classic games are returning on PS5.

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PS5 backwards compatibility patent explained – what does it mean?

Much like the ‘Virtual Console’ which brought older Nintendo games onto the DS, it sounds like Sony is thinking about delivering a cloud-based solution which will allow PS5 players to revisit some of their old favourites on the new system.

Talk of mimicking the operating systems also makes it sound like the PlayStation Operating Systems of old could make a return on PS5 – perhaps players will be able to log into a virtual version of an old console via the new hardware! This potential cloud offering already sounds more appealing than PS Now.

Perhaps this cloud-based solution to the backwards compatibility question means that your old discs from the PS1, PS2 and PS3 era will not work on PS5 – but there will be a way to access some old games through the cloud. And maybe that’s what Ubisoft was getting at.


Of course, it’s worth remembering that a patent just means that Sony wants to call dibs on this idea – it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to see it through to fruition. We can hope, though!

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Will PS5 backwards compatibility be digital-only?

The mention of the cloud being used in this project makes us wonder whether Sony is planning to make its old games playable on PS5 in a purely digital way.

After all, there seems to be no mention here of old discs being slotted into a PS5 console. And Sony is already promoting a version of the PS5 which won’t even have a disc-drive, known as the PS5 Digital Edition.

However, until Sony confirms its plans for these old titles, we’ll have to accept that, at least for know, games from before the PS4 will not work on the new console. Watch this space, and we’ll let you know as we hear more!

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Rob Leane