Sony is looking at forward compatibility to bring more PS5 games to the PS4. The information comes from Sony Interactive Entertainment Vice President Hideaki Nishino. In an interview with AV Watch (translated by tweaktown) Hideaki Nishino says, “In terms of compatibility, it is important to move PS4 titles on PS5, but I have insisted that forward compatibility (supplying the same titles as PS5 to PS4) is important.” He goes on to say that “the transition from PS4 to PS5 will take about three years. In the meantime, how can I keep buying games on PS4? Can the purchased games be played on PS5? That is important.”
The above statement is a bit of a departure from what Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan said at the beginning of 2020. He talked about generations and not being held back by the limitations of the outgoing console. However, it looks like Sony is changing that stance and is looking to keep PS4 users happy that aren’t ready to move on to the PS5 just yet.
While games like Spider-Man Miles Morales (review) and Horizon Forbidden West will launch on the PS4 as well as the PS5, other games like Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart and Demon Souls Remake will be exclusive to the PS5. So, while we will see some games launch on the PS4 to keep fans of the console happy before they decide to invest in new hardware, there will also be games exclusive to the next-gen as an incentive to move forward. How Sony will strike the right balance in this regard remains to be seen.
The PS5 is backwards compatible with the PS4 and a lot of games are getting a free upgrade to the PS5. This means that if you purchase a game on the PS4 and there is a PS5 version available, then you will be upgraded to that version of the game for free when you get your new console.
Microsoft has been helming this approach from the start stating that there will be no Series X/S exclusive games in the first year of the Xbox Series console launch. While there are third-party exclusives like the Medium for the Xbox Series S/X, there will be no first-party exclusives for some time making the transition easy for those that want to wait before getting the new console.
The lingering question remained whether developing for old hardware would mean the developers would be held back in some way, and that doesn’t seem to be the case to some extent. Spider-Man Miles Morales is a great example of this. While the game looks stunning on the PS4, it takes advantage of the PS5 SSD for load times, features like ray-tracing and also has a 60fps mode. So, it will be interesting to see how cross-gen games look going forward. It also brings to mind the question as to which games will be launching on the PS4 in 2021. Will we see God of War: Ragnarök come to PS4 as well?