If you buy a Playstation 5 or Xbox One S / X, it looks like you can completely get rid of the previous console generation. Both will be backward compatible.
Sony’s Playstation 5 will be launched together with six new games in November, but now Sony warns that the vast majority of PS4 games will also be playable on the console.
To the Washington Post, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan says that of the thousands of Playstation 4 games they have tested for backward compatibility on Playstation 5, «99 percent» will be playable on the new console.
This is a completely different situation than when the PS4 was launched, a console that was initially not backwards compatible at all – until Sony launched the Playstation Now service and allowed players to access a library of games from previous console generations that way. However, you were still not allowed to play games you previously owned, and had to settle for the selection in PS Now.
Playstation 3 was also first launched with a separate chip that was needed to play Playstation 2 games, but this was fairly quickly removed from new versions of the console, which meant that the very first models were especially sought after in the used market.
Playstation 5 comes in a version with disk drive and one without. The former will be able to play the PS4 games you have on record today.
Better quality on PS5
How backwards compatibility on PS5 will work is not yet clear, but it only seems to be Playstation 4 games that will work, not games from previous generations.
In a blog post from August, Sony explained that they expected backwards compatible games to run at a higher frequency on the PS5, with more stable frame rates and potentially higher resolution as a result. At the time, they said they were reviewing the games on an individual basis to see if they needed adjustment from the developers.
As a carrot for PS Plus subscribers acquiring Playstation 5, Sony also announced at launch that they would have access to a library of 18 of the most popular games from Playstation 4, including The Last of Us: Remastered and Final Fantasy XV.
Microsoft, for its part, has said that the new Xbox Series X and Series X will be able to play «thousands» of games from both Xbox One, Xbox 360 and the original Xbox.
All backwards compatible games will run at full power on Series X, according to Microsoft. Here, too, it attracts with a more stable frame rate and higher resolution, and also shorter loading times due to the faster SSD in the new consoles.
For Series S, which has less powerful hardware than Series X, backward-compatible games will run in Xbox One S version, but also here with higher frame rates, auto HDR and shorter loading times.
Xbox One was not backwards compatible when it was launched in 2013, but Microsoft built support for game after game in the years to come, and now they operate with a list that is hundreds of games long.