One of the biggest questions Sony still needs to answer about the PS5 is how backwards compatibility will work. While it’s confirmed to be a feature, towards the end of 2019 Sony stated it was still ironing out the details on the much-requested feature. A recent statement from Ubisoft might have just given us some answers. During the financial call with the French publisher, CEO Yves Guillemot explained that the next-generation systems will feature backwards compatibility with almost all of the previous consoles’ games.
In reference to a question about the next-generation systems, Guillemot said:
Those consoles will be running almost all the back catalog of the previous consoles. It will be something new in the industry. It will help the old generations to continue to be big consoles on the market for years to come.
He didn’t elaborate much more, but it’s clear backwards compatibility will play a large role with the PS5 and Xbox Series X. Now what isn’t exactly clear is the depth to which backwards compatibility will go. While Guillemot did say consoles plural, he could have been talking about both the PS4 and Xbox One, or referring to Xbox’s efforts to make games backwards compatible across the entire Xbox library. There’s no confirmation yet that Sony’s backwards compatibility will extend beyond the PS4 catalog.
As for Microsoft, the company has been quite vocal about its plans for backwards and forwards compatibility, and the Xbox Series X will show those plans in action. Series X will reportedly have no system-exclusive games, with everything able to be played on Xbox One and PC as well. Sony, on the other hand, has been much quieter about how this feature will work, so it’s telling to hear Ubisoft talk about the feature so candidly. We do know the PS5 will play PS4 games in some capacity, but it’s still unclear just how far the feature will extend.
When it comes to Guillemot’s quote about the PS5’s backwards compatibility features, he indicates “almost all,” so it still seems there will be some limitations. His wording also seems to eliminate the possibility that PSP and PS Vita games will make an appearance on PS5 since he specifically uses the term “consoles,” though, without confirmation from Sony, we can’t be sure.
At this point, fans are still waiting for Sony to make its next move. The company published the PS5 website, but isn’t ready to unveil the next-gen console just yet. Sony hasn’t even settled on a price, waiting to see how much it can undercut Microsoft (even though Microsoft doesn’t consider Sony a direct competitor anymore). There’s some evidence as to what SSD the PS5 will use, but so far all of the internals and specs are pure speculation until an official announcement.