PlayStation 5 Backwards Compatibility Limits Could Give The Xbox Series X A Big Advantage

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Sony gave a deep dive into the system architecture of the PlayStation 5 yesterday, and one of the big features of the console is backward compatibility with PlayStation 4 games. Backward compatibility has been a big component of the current generation PlayStation 4, and support for older games has come for that console on a per game basis. Sony has now announced that backward compatibility for the PlayStation 5 will also rollout gradually on a per game basis.

Sony executive Hideaki Nishino recently gave a status update on backwards compatibility via the official PlayStation blog, stating:

Lastly, we’re excited to confirm that the backwards compatibility features are working well. We recently took a look at the top 100 PS4 titles as ranked by play time, and we’re expecting almost all of them to be playable at launch on PS5. With more than 4000 games published on PS4, we will continue the testing process and expand backwards compatibility coverage over time. 

The question that remains on many gamers minds is how far will Sony go with backwards compatibility on the new console. Certainly, the top games on the PS4 will be supported on the new device, but all games may not be supported. The PlayStation 5 will be able to operate in both Legacy (PlayStation 4) and Legacy Pro (PlayStation 4 Pro) modes to support previous-generation games.

Sony's competition, the Xbox Series X, is relying heavily on backward compatibility. Microsoft is calling backward compatibility one of three pillars of its hardware and is promising that "thousands" of games playable on current and past hardware -- dating back to the original Xbox -- will still be playable on the Xbox Series X. In addition, all Xbox One games will be playable out of the box on the Xbox Series X, giving Microsoft a huge advantage for those with large legacy game libraries.


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