Video Games

How Backwards Compatibility will work on PlayStation 5

PlayStation 5’s Backwards Compatibility has been a subject of discussion since the “Road to PS5” Conference that was intended for Game Developers Conference (GDC 2020), but due to COVID19, they opted for a livestream. One of the things discussed was the PlayStation 5’s Backward Compatibility. During the conference, they said the console can do BC for some PS4 games, or at least a lot of PS4 games. Soon, shortly after the event wrapped up, they announced that PlayStation 5 will play 90% (majority of…) PS4 games from the get-go. At this point of time, we still didn’t know much about how it’ll work. Until now.

On October 9, 2020 – Sony took to their PlayStation Blog to announce prospective PS5 owners’ top questions…

When the PlayStation 5 launches this November, more than 99 percent of the 4000+ games available on PS4 will be playable on PS5. We know you have questions about how PS4 games will work on PS5, so here is a quick overview on some common questions we’ve seen from the PlayStation community.

What console generation games are supported with PS5’s backward compatibility feature?

We are focused on the huge catalog of games on PlayStation 4, and we’re pleased that more than 99% of PS4 games will be playable on PS5 on day one. This includes games that have defined the PS4 generation – from critically acclaimed PlayStation exclusives like The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima, to blockbuster hits from our third-party partners.

What is the difference between playing PS4 games on the PS5 Digital Edition console, versus the PS5 console with the Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive?

The gaming experience on both models will be the same. However, how you access the content to play will differ:

PS5 Digital Edition

  • You will be able to play digital versions of your compatible PS4 games on the PS5 Digital Edition console. These will be compatible PS4 digital games you have already purchased, or plan to purchase, via PlayStation Store on PS4, PS5, web or PlayStation mobile app.
  • Since there is no disc drive, you won’t be able to play your PS4 disc-based games on the PS5 Digital Edition.

PS5 with Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive

  • You can play digital versions of your compatible PS4 games you downloaded from PlayStation Store on PS4, PS5, web or PlayStation mobile app.
  • You can also use physical PS4 game discs.

When you sign in to PS5 with your account for PlayStation Network, you will automatically see your library of played PS4 content through the menu.

Be sure to keep the PS5 console updated to the latest system software update available, and apply all available game patches to the game.

What is the PS4 game experience like on PS5?

PS4 titles get even better on PS5. Select PS4 titles will see increased loading speeds on the PS5 console, and will also leverage Game Boost, offering improved or more stable frame rates. Some titles with unlocked frame rates or dynamic resolution up to 4K may see higher fidelity. Additionally, PS4 games will also take advantage of some of PS5’s new UX features, but more to come on that later.

Are games from PlayStation VR backward compatible?

Yes, PlayStation VR games are included among the thousands of PS4 games that are playable on PS5. Please note that playing PS VR games on a PS5 console requires a PS VR headset, DualShock 4 wireless controller or PlayStation Move controller(s), and PS Camera (for PS4), which are sold separately from the PS5 console. Also, the PS5 HD Camera is not compatible with PS VR on PS5. You’ll need to use the PS Camera (for PS4), and the PS Camera adaptor (no purchase required), to use PS VR on PS5.

What about PS4 games on PS Now and PS Plus?

Backward compatible PS4 games included in PS Plus or PS Now will run on PS5.

Can I stream PS4 games on PS5?

Yes, Remote Play from PS4 to PS5 and PS Now streaming are supported. The benefit of streaming is that you can save your storage space on PS5. Please note that PS4 games will not leverage PS5’s Game Boost through streaming.

How do PS4 game transfers and game saves work between the two consoles?

You can transfer digital games, game data, and game saves from a PS4 console to a PS5 console using LAN cables, or by connecting wirelessly (WiFi). If you’ve already stored PS4 games and game data in the external USB storage device connected to your PS4, you can bring them over to PS5 with that external USB storage device. And if you are a PS Plus member, you can also sync PS4 game saves on PS5 through cloud storage.

Please note that the ability to transfer game saves between a PS4 version and a PS5 version of the same game is a developer decision, and will vary title by title for cross-generational games.

For Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, when players decide to upgrade from PS4 to PS5 their game saves will transfer.* Sackboy: A Big Adventure also will support game save transfers from PS4 to PS5 in an update that will be delivered shortly after the release of the game.* We’ll share additional details on both games closer to launch.

How will I know which PS4 games aren’t playable?

Games that are only playable on PS4 will be noted on PlayStation Store as playable on “PS4 only.” We have a list of games that are only playable on PS4, along with additional information on backward compatibility here: playstation.com/ps5-backwards-compatibility

*If players originally purchase a PS4 game disc, the PlayStation 5 with an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive is required to upgrade to the PlayStation 5 version of the game and transfer their saves over.

If you click that link, it will take you to the Questions and Answers of PlayStation 5’s Backwards Compatibility, and how it’ll work…

The PS5 console is backward compatible with the overwhelming majority of PS4 games. That means an amazing collection of thousands of PS4 games can be played on your PS5 console.

PS4 games playable on PS5 consoles
The overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 games are playable on PS5 consoles. 

  • Select PS4 games will benefit from the PS5 console’s Game Boost, which may make PS4 games run with a higher or smoother frame rate. 
  • Although many PS4 games are playable on PS5 consoles, some functionalities that were available on the PS4 console may not be available on PS5 consoles. In addition, some PS4 games may exhibit errors or unexpected behavior when played on PS5 consoles.
  • Before purchasing add-ons to play with your PS4 games on PS5 consoles, please try to boot and play your PS4 games on your PS5 console to see if you are happy with the play experience.
  • Please note, playing PS VR games on a PS5 console requires a PlayStation VR headset, a PS camera (sold separately from PS5 console) and a PS camera adaptor (no purchase required). 
  • Always update your PS5 console to the latest version of the system software.


PS4 only games
While the majority of PS4 games are playable on PS5 consoles, below is a list of PS4 games that are playable on PS4 only. On PlayStation™Store, PS4 games that are not playable on the PS5 console will be marked with ‘Playable on: PS4 only’.

PS4 only games:
DWVR
Afro Samurai 2 Revenge of Kuma Volume One
TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2
Just Deal With It!
Shadow Complex Remastered
Robinson: The Journey
We Sing
Hitman Go: Definitive Edition
Shadwen
Joe’s Diner

This list is subject to change and excludes demos, media, and non-game applications.

Playing PS4 game discs on a PS5 console with a disc drive

  1. Insert the PS4 game disc. You may need to download an update.
  2. Select the game hub from your Games home.
  3. You will need to keep the disc inserted each time to play the game.

PS4 game discs can’t be used with the PlayStation®5 Digital Edition. 

Transfer digital games from a PS4 console to a PS5 console

  • You can transfer digital games and saved data from a PS4 console to a PS5 console using WiFi data transfer. 
  • You can access PS4 games on a PS5 console directly from a PS5 extended storage drive. 

Install a PS4 digital game on a PS5 console

  1. Select game library from your Games home.
  2. Select the game you want to play.
  3. If you haven’t already downloaded the game, select Download.
  4. The game will install automatically. Depending on the game, you may have the option to copy and play a portion of the game right away.

Upgrade eligible PS4 games to the PS5 version
You may have the option to upgrade your PS4 game to the digital PS5 version. Please visit the page below for more information.
Upgrade eligible PS4 games to the PS5 version

Compatible controllers on PS5 consoles

  • The DualSense wireless controller, DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller and PlayStation officially licensed third-party gamepad controllers will work on PS5 consoles with supported PS4 games. 
  • Specialty peripherals, such as officially licensed racing wheels, arcade sticks, and flight sticks, will work with PS5 games and supported PS4 games.
  • Both the PS Move Motion Controller and the PlayStation VR Aim Controller will work with supported PS VR games on PS5 consoles.
  • For the best experience, use a DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller when playing PS4 games and PS VR games on a PS5 console. 
  • PS5 games are not compatible with the DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller.
  • To adjust the strength of controller vibration on PS5 consoles, go to Settings > Accessories > Controllers > Vibration Intensity
  • The Platinum and Gold Wireless Headsets, as well as third-party headsets that connect via USB port or audio jack, will work on PS5 consoles (the headset companion app is not compatible with PS5 consoles).

PS5 backwards compatibility limitations

  • The SHARE menu cannot be displayed during PS4 gameplay on PS5 consoles. You can take screenshots and images by pressing the create button on your DualSense wireless controller to show the create menu. Additionally, you can use the button shortcuts to start/stop video recording or to save screenshots as follows:
    • Single press the create (DualSense) or SHARE button (DUALSHOCK4) to show the create menu
    • Press and hold the create (DualSense) or SHARE button (DUALSHOCK4)  to take a screenshot
    • Double press the create (DualSense) or SHARE button (DUALSHOCK4) to start and stop video recording manually. 
  • The HD Camera is not compatible with PS4 games – please connect a PlayStation Camera via a PlayStation Camera adaptor.
  • HDR is automatically switched on for PS5 consoles. To turn off HDR, go to Settings > Screen and Video > Video Output > HDR and select SDR.
  • The PS4 tournaments feature is not supported on PS5 consoles.
  • In-Game Live from PlayStation is not supported on PS5 consoles. 
  • PS5 consoles do not support the PS4 Second Screen app or game companion apps.

PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition arrives November 12, 2020 in United States, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition also arrives November 19, 2020 everywhere else.