PlayStation 5: Will the new console be able to play PS1, PS2 & PS3 games?

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The PlayStation 5 is already shaping up to be a smash hit for Sony - with the first wave of consoles selling out mere hours after going on pre-sale this past Thursday.

Those lucky enough to get their hands on one will be looking forward to experiencing the most powerful piece of hardware ever seen in console form when it is released in mid-November.

One thing that it seems the PS5 will not have, however, is backwards compatibility with the entire PlayStation back catalogue.

Previously, gamers had been led to believe that the PS5 would support software made for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2 and the original PlayStation - as well as the PlayStation 4. Indeed, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot had stated that he believed "almost all the back catalogue of the previous consoles" would be playable on the PS5.

Disappointingly, though, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan has now confirmed that only PS4 titles will be compatible will the company's new hardware. 

Speaking to Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, Ryan stated that whilst much of Sony's focus was on making the PS5 as ground-breaking as possible, the company was also mindful of catering to the huge audience of existing PS4 users and their substantial library of games.

"We keep in mind the engineering specialised for the PS5, as we produced the device," Ryan revealed. "In the midst of that, the PS4 already has 100 million players; we thought they ought to want to play PS4 titles on the PS5 as well, so we included compatibility with the PS4."

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However, compatibility with around 99% of PS4 games is as far as the PlayStation 5 will go. Although Sony seemingly wanted to offer support for the whole PlayStation back catalogue, Ryan insisted that this simply was not feasible when balanced with the other demands of producing a console like the PS5.

"While implementing that (PS4 backwards compatibility), 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."

Whenever a new console is released, it is often sad for gamers to look back at a collection of games that have been amassed over the life of previous generations and realise that they probably will not play the majority of them again.

In many ways, it is comforting to have backwards compatibility available to ensure that the option to enjoy some gaming nostalgia always exists.

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However, in truth, most PlayStation fans will not be dropping as much as £499.99 on a PS5 to play games that they already own. Fans want new experiences, the likes of which can only be made possible by utilising the considerable power of the PS5.

The lack of backwards compatibility for games that are now, in most cases, at least a decade old will surely not prove a deal-breaker for many.

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