Sony revealed the most important details about the PlayStation 5 — its price and release dates — during Wednesday’s PlayStation 5 Showcase. But one thing the company didn’t discuss at all is backward compatibility, which is perhaps the biggest remaining question mark about the PS5.
We got a tiny update from PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan this week, courtesy of an interview with the Washington Post. Ryan said that out of the thousands of PlayStation 4 games that Sony has so far tested with the PS5, “99 percent” are compatible with the next-gen console.
“The PS4 community will continue to be incredibly important to us for three or four years,” Ryan said. “Many will transition to PS5, we hope if we do our job well, but tens of millions will still be engaged with the PS4.”
This follows a statement from Sony in May in which the company said it had to evaluate every game in the PS4’s library — which comprises more than 4,000 titles — for compatibility with the PS5 on a case-by-case basis. Sony said it expects that PS4 games will run at a “boosted frequency” on the PS5, providing “higher or more stable frame rates and potentially higher resolutions.” Microsoft has provided much more specific information about backward compatibility on the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.
Sony has not given any real details about PS5 backward compatibility. Some third parties, such as Cyberpunk 2077 publisher CD Projekt and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War publisher Activision, have already said that the PS4 versions of their games will be playable on PS5 at launch. Sony has yet to provide even a partial list of PS4 games that will work with the PS5, or any sense of how many titles will be compatible with the console at launch. There’s also no indication of how, exactly, backward compatibility will work on the PS5, and no word on whether people who own physical PS4 games will have any way to play them on the discless PS5 Digital Edition. Polygon has reached out to Sony for clarification, and we’ll update this article with any information we receive.
The PlayStation 5 ($499.99) and PS5 Digital Edition ($399.99) will launch Nov. 12 in the U.S., Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea; it will debut one week later, on Nov. 19, in Europe, the Middle East, South America, other Asian countries (except China), and South Africa.