A new Sony patent hints at backward compatibility for the upcoming PlayStation 5. Though there is still no official information regarding the console, gamers may have the opportunity to play older PlayStation games on the PS5.
The PlayStation 4 is the best-selling console of the current generation, but Sony fans have bemoaned the lack of any backward compatibility for the system, which is something that the Nintendo Wii U and the Xbox One have. Sony made the decision to release select older games in a remastered form, rather than simply allowing fans to purchase the games on the PlayStation Network and run them through an emulator in the same way that the PlayStation 3 did. Sony did allow a few PlayStation 2 games to be made available for the PlayStation 4, but these were few in number and mostly consisted of lesser-known titles, rather than the big releases.
It seems that Sony won't be making the same mistake with their next machine, as a new patent has come to light that suggests that the PlayStation 5 will feature backward compatibility with older PlayStation games. According to GearNuke, the patent is for technology that will allow for the simulation of legacy bus operation for backward compatibility, with lead architect of the PlayStation 4, Mark Cerny, listed as one of the inventors.
Sony also patented a similar kind of technology earlier this month for a process that allows a computer to impersonate another for the purposes of emulation when running a game. This allows it to adjust its settings accordingly in order to better run the software. The two patents combined suggest that Sony's next PlayStation will be able to run software from different PlayStation consoles. The games will almost certainly be sold in a digital format, as it's unlikely that Sony will be including a CD-ROM or DVD drive with their next console.
The question we now have to ask is which systems will the PlayStation 5 be backward compatible with? The PlayStation 4 might seem as if it's a given, but Sony also made a lot of money from selling remastered versions of PlayStation 3 games on the PlayStation 4, as the technology of the two systems was close enough to make that a possibility. The question now is whether the PlayStation 5 will also be able to run games from the portable PlayStation machines, as is possible with the PlayStation TV.
The PlayStation 5 and the successor to the Xbox One have yet to be revealed, but the conflict between Sony and Microsoft has already begun. Microsoft is buying up a signficant amount of studios and is rumored to be entering a partnership with Nintendo that could rock the industry, which could leave Sony in the dust. If Sony releases a console capable of playing every game that has ever appeared on a PlayStation console, then it can help them tip the balance in the upcoming struggle against Microsoft.