Technology

PlayStation 5 To Be Backwards Compatible With PS1, PS2, PS3, PS4

Complete backwards compatibility on PS5
monikabaechler / Pixabay

Sony missed the backwards compatibility feature with the PS4. But, it appears, that the Japanese company wants to compensate for it with its next-gen console. A new patent surfaced recently suggesting complete backwards compatibility on the PS5.

Complete backwards compatibility on PS5 – what it means?

Complete backwards compatibility on the PS5 means that the next-gen console would be compatible with all the previous consoles – PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4. If it is true, then it would truly be a delight for the fans.

This new patent by Sony Interactive Entertainment was filed on January 20, 2017 and published on January 31, 2019. The inventors list for the patent includes Mark Cerny, who is the lead architect of the PS4, and Simon Pilgrim, the principal programmer at Sony Entertainment Europe.

Pilgrim’s listing on LinkedIn further supports claims of complete backwards compatibility on the PS5, notes a report from IGN. “Developing optimized cross platform maths, animation and geometry libraries for PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 platforms,” the LinkedIn listing says.

Talking of the new Sony patent, it details software that could run from the legacy devices on a new device. Further, the patent notes that the components like a CPU in the new device will be faster, and thus, would be unable to support older software. So, the new device would come with technology that would trick the legacy software to mimic the legacy devices. Even the diagrams shown in the patent hint of “spoofs” processor IDs to trick the system.

Is it really coming?

Attaining complete backwards compatibility on the PS5 may not be an easy thing. Emulating PS4 on the PS5 could be relatively easier than emulating the earlier consoles, like the PS3, which has a different architecture, especially its Cell Processor. Reportedly, this was the main reason why Sony faced difficulty in making the PS4 backwards compatible. But, the new patent suggests that Sony may have found a way to address the earlier issues.

It must be noted that the patent makes no reference to any gaming console. But, it is largely believed that the patent is talking about the complete backwards compatibility on PS5. Another speculation is that the patent could be of a new addition to the PS4 as it only mentions a new device application.

Also, another possibility is that it is just another patent from the Japanese company with no surety of it being actually implemented.

Nevertheless, if Sony does somehow succeed in bringing complete backwards compatibility on the PS5, it could prove the biggest selling point. A user on a Reddit thread discussing this latest patent said, “That’d make me buy a PS5 day 1. I’d also be a PS fan for life, just by virtue of all my games being on a PS account, so I can really see the business sense of this.”

PS5 – when is it coming?

In the absence of any official word on the PS5 release date, there are several speculations pointing to different launch periods for the console. Though most of the analysts are predicting a release date of 2020 or 2021, some are also favoring a launch sometime later this year.

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter previously said that Sony would release the new console in 2020. A launch next year is in line with the predictions of when the 4K TV market will hit 50% of homes in the U.S. Further, the analyst notes that after the launch of the PS5, the PS4 Pro will be the base PlayStation model on the market and its price would also be reduced.

Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, who spoke to several developers on the likely release date, also suggests a 2020 release.  Sony’s new CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida, however, hinted a release date of 2021.

Yoshida released a three-year business plan, where the profits dip in the run up to 2021. Such a dip, many believe may come as the PS4 reaches market saturation, or before the launch of the PS5.

Separately, a recent rumor suggested that Sony has moved its first-party game development teams to the next-gen console and that the company may announce the PS5 at the E3 2020. The next-gen console is rumored to be powered by an 8-core Ryzen CPU in addition to custom GPU, which is based on AMD’s Navi architecture. Sony’s next-gen console could cost as much as $500.