The Sony Playstation 4 is widely regarded as one of the greatest consoles to have been ever built. It’s all encompassing features that delivered the most value to its customers was the reason its nearest competitor – Microsoft’s Xbox One, always trailed behind in terms of sales as well as popularity. But it was not to say that the Sony PS4 was without its fair share of flaws. Sony committed an unforgivable mistake with the Playstation 4, something the hard core gamers would probably never be able to forget. But Sony has realized its mistake and with the launch of Playstation 5, they intend to Fix PS4’s greatest flaw.
What is this flaw we are talking about? Well if you are an avid fan of the Playstation console, you would know that the single greatest joy of playing in it was the platform’s ability to play all sorts of games ranging from PS1 till PS3. It was PS4 that did away with that tradition. And that was its single greatest mistake. That’s right folks. PS4’s mistake was that it did not have the option of backwards compatibility. And it is up to its younger brother – the PS5 to fix that.
The Sony Playstation 4 was one of the most popular successes in Sony’s history. It paved the way for Sony to become the absolute giant of the console gaming industry, beating Microsoft Xbox by a large margin. With the ability to churn out high end graphics, the console was home to some of the most cult classic games like God of War, The Last of Us Part II, Death Stranding, and Horizon Zero Dawn. The console has sold more than a 100 Million Units. It is poised to keep on climbing the ladder and sell at least half a dozen million more globally in this year and the next. The PS4 console is legendary. The only thing that stopped it from reaching near mythical status was the lack of a backwards compatibility mode.
That is where the X-Box scored higher. Microsoft is cursed to always be at the number 2 spot in the console gaming segment. Their as of now latest offering, the Xbox One, did have some distinct advantages over its direct contender. The Xbox One had backwards compatibility. It could play games from the older Xbox 360 platform as well as the original legacy Xbox console. Then there was also the Xbox Game pass to sweeten the deal. When all these features were combined together, Microsoft created one of (if not the) the greatest consoles in human history. Unlike the PS4 that tried to capitalize on creating a newer more profitable ecosystem, the Xbox banked on its loyal customers and created a niche within a niche, protecting their customer base from being poached.
Noting that the Xbox, despite being clearly inferior in some departments, had still managed to climb up the ladder, Sony intends to bring back the option of backwards compatibility with the PS5. This means that all the PS4 exclusive games along with all older generation games from PS1 to PS3 will be playable in the new PS5 console.
That may not be enough for some disgruntled PS4 fans to switch to a newer, more expensive PS5. It certainly gives the next generation console some much needed brownie points. The revelation that some amazing PS4 classics could be played in PS5 gives the latter console a foundation its predecessor did not have. Another justification for PS4 gamers switching to Xbox One was the lack of a proper launch line up for the former. Since PS5 is backwards compatible, it means PS5 has access to PS4’s extensive game library.
You can play hundreds of highly acclaimed games out of the box. That sure sounds convincing. But will playing older PS4 games in PS5 make an actual noticeable difference in game play?
Sony had had a tumultuous history with backwards compatibility. With each successive console, the issue only escalated to an emotional boiling point for the fans. Sony’s original Playstation module was extremely popular and when Sony released PS2, it was basically carrying the legacy of the PS1 forward. PS2 was backwards compatible. And then the infamous Playstation 3 came into the scene. It had a revolutionary architecture that was completely different from its predecessor platforms. This made it difficult for game developers to make it backward compatible. In the end, Sony had to literally fit an entire PS2 into the PS3, seriously driving the price upwards.
By the time Sony released a slimmer version of the PS3, the damage had been done. Sony’s PS4 was designed with a traditional PC based internal architecture. Akin to how the Xbox One was designed, it made it easier for developers from third party studios to create compatible games. This move was more or less a double edged sword. While developing newer games became easier for the PS4, the older PS3 and PS2 games which were based on the out-dated cell processing architecture could no longer be played in the PS4. Sony’s Playstation Now tried to rectify that error by directly streaming the PS1, PS2, AND PS3 games on PC and PS4, but there was a drop in quality which the fans did not like.
Coming to the ultimate question of whether PS4 games will have the option of enriched game play in the PS5 – the answer is yes. The already massive game library is a blessing in disguise for Playstation junkies. Sony has claimed on record that the PS4 games played in the PS5 will have higher frame rates and resolutions. PS5’s SSD will lead to faster load and boot times for the console. One other welcome news is the option of smart delivery reserved for third party developers for PS4 games. This means that any PS4 game released now will have the option of being directly brought over to the PS5 platform.Whether this feature applies to recently released PS4 exclusives like Ghosts of Tsushima or The Last of Us Part II is still up for debate.
There are still some flaws in the PS5 design. It will not have the option of playing PS1, PS2, & PS3 games. Sony has still not confirmed whether they could be streamed directly via the Playstation Now feature. Maybe they are keeping this added feature as a surprise for the PS5 Launch Day. So if you have already pre-ordered a PS5, you could enjoy some really top-notch games from day one itself.