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Most PS4 games will run on PlayStation 5, Sony clarifies

Testing is ongoing, but Sony expects ‘the overwhelming majority’ of PS4 games will work

PS5 artwork Image: James Bareham/Polygon
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

During Sony’s “Road to PS5” presentation on Wednesday, lead system architect Mark Cerny said that “almost all” of the 100 most-played PlayStation 4 games will be compatible with the next-generation console at launch. That didn’t inspire much confidence about the catalog, and after two days of uncertainty, Sony clarified the statement on Friday: “We believe that the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles will be playable on PS5,” Sony’s Hideaki Nishino said on the PlayStation Blog. The top 100 wording? That was a “snapshot” of how development is going now.

Sony said it expects backward-compatible games to run at a “boosted frequency” on the PS5, which will provide “higher or more stable frame rates and potentially higher resolutions.” The company is evaluating PS4 games on a “title-by-title basis” to ensure compatibility with the PS5. Sony has tested hundreds of games so far — and will test thousands more as the console’s holiday 2020 release window approaches.

More updates are expected “in the months ahead,” Sony said.

In Wednesday’s presentation, Cerny explained that the PlayStation 5 includes the internal logic for the PS4 and PS4 Pro systems, which makes backward compatibility possible. He did not , however, mention PS5 backward compatibility with older-generation PlayStation games — only PS4 titles.

That’s in contrast with Microsoft’s approach; it’s already promised four generations of backward-compatibility on its next-generation console, the Xbox Series X. The Xbox Series X will also support cross-generation saves when it’s released in the 2020 holiday season.

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