Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan says that nearly all of the thousands of PlayStation 4 games it has tested on the PlayStation 5 are playable on the next-generational hardware, though Ryan has confirmed to Famitsu that its backwards compatibility plans won’t extend beyond PlayStation 4 games.
Speaking to Famitsu (via Siliconera), Ryan confirmed that the PlayStation 5 won’t offer backwards compatibility for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, and original PlayStation games due to a time crunch and the sheer technical complexity of pulling off legacy game support.
"The PS4 already has 100 million players; we thought they ought to want to play PS4 titles on the PS5 as well indeed, so we included compatibility with the PS4," reads a translation of Ryan's comments from the Japanese interview. "While implementing that, we also focused our efforts on taking in the high-speed SSD and the new controller DualSense at the same time. So, unfortunately, we couldn’t reach the implementation of such compatibilities."
That's roughly in line with what we heard back in March when system architect Mark Cerny briefly touched on how PlayStation was building certain elements of the PlayStation 5 with a single generation of backwards compatibility in mind.
PlayStation’s backwards compatibility ambitions aren’t a new bit of news by any means, but Ryan’s comments on the thousands of PlayStation 4 games SIE has now successfully tested on the PlayStation 5 hardware make for a nice update on the initial tests PlayStation discussed back in that March deep dive. At the time, PlayStation leadership estimated that an “overwhelming majority” of the over 4,000 games on PlayStation 4 would be playable on PlayStation 5 hardware.
Now, Ryan has essentially confirmed that earlier estimate, noting in a separate chat with Washington Post that it has since upped its number of tested games from 100 or so to thousands, and that 99 percent of those PlayStation 4 titles are playable on PlayStation 5.
And, slightly at odds with Ryan's earlier comments about believing in clear lines between new console generations, some first-party games developed for the PlayStation 5 will also be playable on the PlayStation 4. So far, that includes two PS5 launch titles, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Sackboy A Big Adventure, as well as Horizon Forbidden West, a game currently marked as a 2021 release.