PS4 Backwards Compatibility

While backwards compatibility has been available in some shape or form as far back as the Atari 7600, it wasn't a feature gamers expected to find on their consoles; it was a bonus when it appeared but hardly mandatory. The PlayStation 2 changed that by being fully compatible with the entire PlayStation library barring a handful of games. We saw this trend continue with the Wii and, to an extent, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, as enabling your system to be backwards compatible provided a large selection of games for your new console and encouraged developers to keep creating software for the previous hardware version. With the PlayStation 4, rumors swirled over whether or not Sony would provide backwards compatibility to past PlayStation consoles and now that the console is officially announced, we have our answer.

Disc-Based Compatibility
Sadly, Sony announced at the February 2013 unveiling of the PlayStation 4 that the console would not be compatible with any past PlayStation 1, 2 or 3 disc-based games. While this came as a shock, Sony does have a good reason for what some gamers are calling a huge mistake. The combination of the unique architecture of past PlayStation hardware releases, such as the Emotion Engine or the Cell Processor, and the fact that Sony is using “off the shelf” parts with the PlayStation 4 means that by default, the PlayStation 4 cannot play past PlayStation games properly. To natively play these games, Sony would have to add the older technology into the PlayStation 4, either compromising some of the features already present or raising the cost or the system. While gamers may lament the fact that backwards compatibility is not a part of the PlayStation 4, would you pay extra for it? Would you sacrifice some of the PlayStation 4 hardware in exchange for the ability to play past games?

The trade-off is for the best, as it's important for Sony to focus on the future rather than be shackled to the past. As you'll read later, this doesn't necessarily mean the PlayStation 4 may never be backwards compatible as Sony has a few tricks up its sleeve.

Downloadable Game and Content Compatibility
Disc-based games are only one part of the type of content the PlayStation 3 has received, with downloadable content, such as new levels, characters and stages and even full games being available for download via the PlayStation Store. However, none of this content will be available on the PlayStation 4 for the same reasons disc-based games are not compatible either. For many gamers, this has been a tougher pill to swallow. You'll always be able to play your disc-based PlayStation 3 games provided you have a working PS3, but what will happen to the digital content once Sony shuts off the servers? It costs money to host this content and it's not feasible to believe that Sony will host this content forever. Will these digital-only games be lost to the sands of time? Many of this content cost money as well, money that will most likely not be refunded should Sony remove the access to the games you paid for.

PS4 and PS3 Backwards CompatibilitySony has begun to address this issue since the launch of the PS4 by bringing certain digital games to the new platform. These titles include FlOw, Flower, Escape Plan, and Sound Shapes. In addition, many digital titles that have been released since the launch of the PS4 have been "cross-buy". This means that if you bought the game on the Vita or the PS3, you already own it on the PS4 and you can download the superior version without paying for it again. The same goes for the above mentioned titles and many other releases such as Tiny Brains, and SteamWorld Dig. As time goes on, we will most likely see more and more titles like these make the jump to PS4 with improvements and zero cost for those of us who already purchased them, or wish to play them on multiple Sony gaming systems.

The Upcoming release of PlayStation Now
As mentioned earlier, just because the PlayStation 4 doesn't ship with compatibility doesn't mean that it may never appear in the future. Sony has mentioned two routes they are looking into: emulation and streaming.

We've already seen PlayStation 2 games emulated on PlayStation 3 hardware, with games such as Bully and Grand Theft Auto III being released digitally for the system with other games like Metal Gear Solid 3 being released in disc form. With this approach, it's up to the developer and publisher to take the time to make their back catalog available for the PlayStation 4; while we'll see some games emulated, it will only be a fraction of the total library. Emulation may also present new glitches or bugs not present in the original release as well.

The option that Sony has confirmed to be going with is streaming, as mentioned at E3 2013. Confirmed at the beginning of this year, Sony announced a program called PlayStation Now. PlayStation Now is going to be a service available to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Vita, Smart TV, Smartphone, and Tablet owners. The service acts a lot like Netflix, which pioneered home streaming for movies.

PS4 Backwards CompatibilityWith PlayStation Now, you'll be able to instantly access titles across the aforementioned devices simply by logging into your PSN account. All of your saves will go with your, regardless of what devices you play on. The content will come straight to you via Cloud technology so you won't need to wait for it to download. It will be like watching a movie, only you're in control! This is the product of the Gaikai streaming technology that Sony purchased last year, and it's looking to be a great alternative to traditional backwards compatibility.

The first game available to stream on the service will be Naughty Dog's smash hit of 2013, The Last of Us. Beyond: Two Souls has also been named. The catalog will feature PS3 hits to start from what has been announced and will first be available on PS3 and PS4, with support for Vita and other devices coming soon there after. Pricing and subscription models have not been detailed, but it has been said that two options will be available. One is a subscription with all access to the games, while the other would offer a more À la carte option of renting the games on a single purchase basis.

Regardless of how they handle it, this service shows that Sony is not willing to let the timeless experiences of PlayStation 3 to fade into the folds of time. With PlayStation Now, we will have the capacity to relive those experiences not only on our PS4, but on most other devices we own. That alone sounds like a good deal to me.

Article by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 4/22/2013

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Get a Wii U, cheaper and backwards compatible.

Heres the biggest problem

My problem with removing backwards capability is the fact that, over the years, I have spent a ton of money on buying games. $50,$60 & $70/ game. PER GAME!!! Now all that money is just going to go to waist. I run my Netflix off of my PS3, therefore it is always hooked up because we have kids. It is my Netflix, CD player and DVD player. I have a bunch of gaming systems sitting around, and when I get in the mood to play them, I have to unhook the PS3. So now, if I buy the PS4, all of the games I play from previous versions of the system will just sit there and not get played. What happened to the concept of open architecture in the systems design? They use the concept in computer development so it is common practice. Why make hardware and software that cannot pick up where it left off and make it more advanced? it seems counter-productive if you ask me. If Sony really wants to go one step ahead and win over the world, they should take "open architecture" to the next level. In other words, make a system that not only plays new games, and the old ones, on there system, but create a reader that allows you to play all games, from all systems. Create a program that adapts controller merging into their existing controller design and let us play all games on a playstation. It would have no effect on future game design and technology. People would go crazy over it if you could play an Xbox game on the playstation, then put in an old genesis game or even a game cube game. I feel the PS4 is just another way to gouge consumers into having to rebuy games they have already bought and sink more money into their pockets. Not everybody has the extra money lying around to spend on electronic companies and there need to outdate there own technology intentionally to turn a profit. We as consumers get screwed constantly. Just sayin!

You don't understand

Can you even guess just how many goddamn patents such a device as you propose would violate? Sony would be sued out the window before the console even launched. While such a device would be ideal, it could never be a reality. Part of this is the patents, and also that they don't have the full system specs on all of the consoles they'd need to run. Have you ever worked in the tech industry? My guess is that you have not. Your concept is an old, very idealistic one, but is not one grounded in reality. It you can tell me how such a system could even be possible, I'd love to hear it, but Im afraid I just don't see it. Emulation would be the only way. And being able to emulate the PS3 at high speeds is still far into the future. But even then, it could never run ALL games. It would need an emulator for each console it emulated, and only the major ones would be viable. But there's no getting around the patents. This can never be. The closest you can get to this is playing old games in emulators on your PC.

you dont understand

As far as emulating a ps3 goes, It can be done. If you have at least a 6 core processor at 3.6 ghz and 8gb ram, you can emulate the ps3 at full speed. all you need is vm ware and create your virtual environment. the same system can even be used to emulate an xbox 360. all you really need are the games and proper roms. The hard ware is capable and the software is available. A universal machine would be expensive only in the regards that in order to emulate the desired systems, you have to have the hardware equivilant of the system that you are trying to emulate. Remember, the PS# and xbox360 are just software running on identical hardware.

YOU dont understand with that stupid comment

guess you just don't understand technology. microchips getting smaller, hard drives getting bigger and faster, processors getting smaller and faster. you can take a library of 30 Atari games that are on different architecture that PlayStation yet put them on a disc for the PlayStation. what patents would they be breaking for games they have licensed for the PlayStation? lol that's just plain dumb comment. they easily could have the software in the ps4 to run the games of all the old versions of the game but they would rather make money making you buy all new games and controllers for the new game system. we are moving forward in technology not backward so to say they cant do backward capability for any reason at all that you want to come up with is just plain stupidity. you don't need an emulator for each console just software reader. computers have done it for years. the consoles started doing it until they decided they can make more money making you buy the new system, new controller, and new games. for your comment "Have you ever worked in the tech industry? My guess is that you have not. Your concept is an old, very idealistic one, but is not one grounded in reality. It you can tell me how such a system could even be possible, I'd love to hear it, but Im afraid I just don't see it." really? come on really? clearly you don't work in the tech industry or you would know technology is getting better in less time not worse. look at the first computers that took entire rooms and now your cell phone has more computing power than computers only a few years back. use your head! backward compatibility isn't a question of how. its already been done and still can be done but isn't out of greed. plain and simple greed.

who ones the game code again?

I stopped reading your comment because it was silly and not thought out very well. He is not looking at this as a technical stand point, which it would probably be easy to port all those games to ps4, but as a legal stand point. Sony does not own all copyrights and patents for every game on the ps3/ps2/ps1, they own the ones that they wrote. Patents and copy rights for the games they did not create, are owned by the companies that created them. that means Sony could not Re release them on their new platforms without a lot of legal work. it would take a lot of programming to retune the code to work with the new platform (if it didn't take altering the code the game would work on the new platform). Since Sony does not own the code, the game companies themselves would need to do that work, which means they would need to resell you the game as if it were a new one to pay for all that work.

If Possible

I dont know anything about building a console but i understand the newer the machine, the newer and stronger the soft/hardwares are going to be. You cant overload it with old wares that it doesn't need. So it makes sense, but is it possible for sony to make a whole separate device that is like a BC converter, something you can plug into the ps4 which would allow the player to us any playstation game. I would be willing to buy an additional console that just does backward compatibility. and if it could work for both xbox and playstation that would be perfect

ps3 and 4

The pricing was the problem for the ps3 not the backward compatible... a ps4 for 399 that would real cool.

Backwards Compatibility

After shelling out what I put into PS (games only), PS2 (Hardware AND games) & PS3 (Hardware AND games) I am willing to wait......and wait.......and wait until for a BIG price drop. Let THAT tell you something.

Sony's lack of thinking out of the "money" box

It suites Sony well, the disregard and lack of thinking about the consumers. It has always been the biggest problem of Sony. Sony seems to only think about it's money rather then really listening to its consumers. If they would only listen more, they would be unbeatable. Sadly i actually thought about buying the PS4, even though i just bought the PS3 not long before the word came out about the PS4. But only the fact that i already have a 50+ games base of PS3 games, and the lack of backwards compatibility of the PS4…… tells me NOT to buy a newer PS4. I have had it with Sony and their obvious disrespect of the consumers. When my PS3 has played its last minutes, the games will go to someone else, and i will swear to Microsoft or any other system that respects the consumer like it should be.

Lost any future sales to me

As a parent, my money has to be selectively spent. With no backwards compatibility in the PS4 platform, I cannot justify a purchase of the new platform. I cannot justify spending thousands of dollars to purchase games again just to have Sony pull the rug out from under me. If the developers cannot understand that customer loyalty is earned and maintained by ensuring that they have compatibility with the previous system they touted so loudly, I cannot spend my hard earned money with them. Sincerely - T. Smith


Y'all whining about it not being backwards compatible are just idiots. Just keep your ps3...problem solved...

You're right!

I have PS2. I love few games, but I am selling them as I am moving forward with new PS4 without BC.


Eventually your system will break down through usage and they will stop manufacturing it, so then you're left screwed

i dont understand half you

i dont understand half you guys, seriously. would you buy a hd t.v then watch it it in standard definition? why would you want a brand new piece of kit to just play sub standard games? i get there's games that you love on your old consoles. i really do, i have games i love. but the time has come to move forward not back. ppl dont generally buy something new to play something old on, except maybe a dvd player. when sony decided not to go bc it wasn't because they thought ahh more money. the accountants did not design the ps4 a developer did.

What a bad analogy!

"would you buy a hd t.v then watch it it in standard definition?" Sometimes. Are you saying you trashed your entire dvd collection and watch nothing but HD now? If so, you are not normal. I think the more realistic question would be: "would you buy a hd tv that *CAN'T* display standard definition?"

You're the idot.

to believe this is anything more then a way for sony to milk every penny from is customers is lack of knowledge. I have a state of the art Computer, I put them emulators on that play them old Nes & Snes games and woah it doesn't effect or hurt my computer one bit. Sony does this so you are forced to rebuy the titles you love, They make money, Game developers make money, and the customers get it in the rear. I got one for my son for xmas. I have the means to do so, But I still see right threw this BS about no being able to be backwards compatible because of software. They are full of it.

Wow this is silly

If you are whining and complaining that you will no longer be able to play the PS3/PS2/PS1 games you have in your library, what the heck did you do with your old consoles? The consoles still work, and most TV's do have multiple AV inputs that you can use to play your old games. And for those who will complain "i shouldn't have to hook up my old system to play my old games" there are two responses to that: 1) yes you should. 2) don't unhook your old system And complaining that you bought $500+ worth of add-ons for your system that you can no longer use.... how exactly is that sony's fault? IE if you buy a jeep with 16" tires , and get winter tires for it. you choose to get a new jeep and Dodge decided to make this jeep have 17" tires, is it Dodges fault that you bought the 16" tires? no you bought them for what you had at the time, its that simple. (do you guys also complain that your duck hunt cartridge didn't work for the N64, or Super Nintendo?


how cant you understand. this doesn't relate to a HD TV at all it is about how much money you spend on games that you can no longer play. a lot of us probably have over $500 in accessories with our ps3 that we might get $50 for!

ps4 campatability

Sony should just create an emulator and pack it with its ps4. With such program, there would not be any need to add hardware from past consoles to play old games.

Just a Game

So interesting to see people get up in arms and be rude to eachother over something as small as entertainment. Humanity fails again. I'm sad I can't play my old games on PS4, but new games will come out, I'll be fine.


People should understand that big corporations like Sony don't care about us, they only follow an intricate agenda since their creation, only to make people dependant of their products. As a result, more and more people become part of the brainwashed masses and are overwhelmed by products that expose them to mass medias, which are promoting individualism and materialism to turn us into complete slaves of the system. The New World Order is already in place since a long time, don't listen to deceivers like Alex Jones, this person is controlled opposition tasked to messed up your mind even more. I don't take pleasure to think that way, it doesn't make me feel in control of over other people, I just happened to use critical thinking and reason to connect the dots. People should really think more seriously about these 'conspiracy theories' because we're getting progressively away from reality.


Seriously, what are you talking about? It is not related to the Ps4 Backwards Compatibility at all. Get out of here with your stupid conspiracy talk and brainwash theory. If Sony had the technology or psychological information to brainwash us, then as far as we know we're all pawns.

backwaeds compatibily

I wont bte a ps4 cause I can not play my ps2 and ps3 games on it.i just found out that xbox 1 will play xbox 360 games .so soney can give us all the excuses they want and say they can not do when we all know they can,so to you soney get your head out of your ass and do what the playstation player want.i will not pay to play game I already have,it all about them making money from us and there not getting my money.

Backward comparability for ps4

I just want to say that you should have done whatever you needed to do to make it possible to play ps2 games on the ps4. You've made a very poor decision that easily could have been changed to make it better for your consumers. Hopefully you rethink this decision.

cross compatibility changing to streaming?

The problem I have with this is I live where internet is not available at all so how am I supposed to " steam " all my old games? Now I do know people that have internet but I hate unplugging everything and taking a risk of ruining my console or controllers every time I want to download content or a game. If Sony won't change this current trend of getting rid of cross compatibility then I will be forced to stick with my ps3 and suffer without all later versions.

Compatibility idea.

What they should have did instead was sell a extra small form drive that reads disk from ps1-2-3 maybe use the ps3 fat tech for this and can plug into the usb of the ps4 that would be kind of neat like a attachment for the ps4