A new patent filed by Sony seems to imply that the PlayStation 5 might end up having backward compatibility. The original patent was filed back in 2017 but was only published last week. While no consoles were directly mentioned in the patent, it’s highly likely that it was filed in preparation for Sony’s next big console.
The patent itself regards a system that would run software from older consoles onto this mysterious new console. While the processing power and general hardware in the new system would be much greater than the older consoles, the hardware would still be too foreign to the older games. To fix this, the new console would mimic the older systems’ processing IDs. In layman’s terms, this means that the new system would pretend to be the older console to trick the old games into working.
Sony’s recent systems have not had backward compatibility. While the PlayStation 2 was able to play PlayStation One games, the only way to play older games on the PlayStation 4 is to buy digital versions over the PlayStation Store. The PlayStation Vita also cannot play PlayStation Portable games, largely because the Vita uses cartridges while the Portable used discs, so it’s literally impossible to put a Portable game in a Vita. This practice of foregoing backward compatibility is not limited to Sony, though. The Switch cannot play Wii U games and the Xbox One only plays select Xbox and Xbox 360 titles.
Nothing is certain at this moment. While signs point to this patent being related to the PlayStation 5, only time will tell if this truly means Sony’s next console will get backward compatibility.