The PlayStation 5 will run “almost all” of the top 100 PlayStation 4 games from launch, due to a neat trick in the new console’s hardware.

PlayStation 5 lead system architect Mark Cerny gave an overall appraisal of the console’s technical capabilities yesterday; read all about it here. The talk was initially to be debuted at GDC 2020, but its cancellation meant that Cerny live streamed his presentation instead. It was certainly a conversation filled with lots of important letters and numbers, but it did shed some light on the backwards compatibility of the PlayStation 5.

Unlike the approach with the PlayStation 3, in which the PlayStation 2 logic needed to be manually installed into the console, the PlayStation 5 has incorporated the logic of the PlayStation 4 and the Pro into the hardware. “Once backwards compatibility is in the console, it’s in,” Cerny explained. “It’s not as if a cost-down will remove backwards compatibility like it did on PlayStation 3.”

Cerny added that “almost all of the top 100 PlayStation 4 games ranked by playtime will be playable at launch” for the PlayStation 5. “Almost all” of them, mind. “The boost is truly massive this time around, and some game code just can’t handle it,” he admitted. “Testing has to be done on a title-by-title basis.” Nevertheless, the results are promising, and testing will likely continue post-launch to bring as many PlayStation 4 titles to the console as possible.

It’s definitely a different approach than the Xbox Series X. Phil Spencer pledged that all existing Xbox One games, and those Xbox 360 games that are backwards compatible on the current generation, will play on the new console. Microsoft wants to be “putting the player at the centre and not putting the device at the centre” of the experience, and it remains to be seen whether Sony will introduce PlayStation 1, 2, or 3 games to the PlayStation 5 library. 

The PlayStation 5 is set to launch in holiday 2020.

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