The PS5 is backwards compatible with the vast majority of your PS4 library, but just how easy is it to get those games over to the PS5? If you have an external hard drive, it’s extremely easy. Just unplug your PS4 external hard drive, plug it into the PS5, and all of your games will be available and ready to play without the need to format anything or wait for long transfers or downloads.
It’s a small feature, but one that really elevates the backwards compatibility function of the PS5. It’s a nearly seamless experience that doesn’t require jumping through any hoops. As long as your PSN account has a license for the game on the external hard drive, you can play it. A number of the games on my hard drive were redeemed on my wife’s account which I haven’t logged into the PS5 yet (in the interest of the early PS5 review agreements), but as soon as she’s able to create a profile and log into her PSN, our full library of PS4 games will be available to both of us.
If you don’t already have an external hard drive for your PS4, I’d highly recommend getting one anyway. The PS5 SSD has only 667.2GB of usable space, and you’ll want to reserve that for PS5 games (expansions to the internal storage aren’t available yet, coming in a future update). Prepare now by transferring all of your PS4 games to the external hard drive, which you can then use to run them via backwards compatibility on the PS5, all by simply plugging the hard drive in to your new console.
I personally use the WD_Black P10 5TB Game Drive, but 5TB may be way more than some people need. You can get decent 2TB hard drives for under $60 now. Here are a few good external hard drive options for housing your PS4 games on the PS5.
- WD_Black P10 5TB Game Drive – $124
- WD 2TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive – $57
- Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive – $62
- Toshiba Canvio Basics 2TB Portable External Hard Drive – $60
- SAMSUNG T5 Portable SSD 1TB – $140
As a bonus, if you have an external hard drive connected, the PS5 will default to downloading all PS4 games onto the external drive to save space on the internal SSD.
As for your save files, you’ll also need to pull those over (don’t forget to do this, unless you want to start your games all over). PS Plus users can just use the PS Plus Cloud Storage option to upload and download saves—a process that should have been automated for most users—or you can back them up to a USB drive and bring them to the PS5.
Of course, if the external hard drive isn’t an option, you can still redownload all of your PS4 games from your library, or perform a PS4 to PS5 transfer of data, either through a direct cable connection or remotely between the systems. Still, I feel like you’ll need an external hard drive to store the games anyway, and the ease of plug-and-play makes this option the best choice.
Don’t miss our full review of the PS5 console, where we talk in depth about this feature and more.