The PlayStation 4 will probably never have backwards compatibility

2 min read


In just over two weeks, the Xbox One is getting a dash update that introduces backwards compatibility. The library of supported games is decidedly limited, with just over a hundred games getting support at launch. I’ve played a few backwards compatible games thanks to Rare replay, and I’m frankly astounded at how well it works. I’ve dabbled with emulation for years, and this software-driven solution is by far the most impressive I’ve ever seen.

For whatever reason, people are excited about the prospect of playing their old games on their new consoles and I get it, even if I personally have little interest in staying in the past. There are many clinging to the hope that the PlayStation 4 will introduce a similar system, and that we’ll soon be playing PlayStation 3 games on Sony’s newest system.

I’ve said before that it’ll never happen – the architectures are just too different, and when you get right down to it, the SPU-driven Cell CPU that powers the PlayStation 3 is technically superior to the CPU in the PS4. In a Twitter AMA, Sony Worldwide president Shuhei Yoshida has said much the same thing, shooting down hopes of backwards compatibility for good.

Asked whether it would happen, Yoshida didn’t beat around the bush; he answered with a straight and simple “no.”

In the past, he’s been a little more coy.

“PS3 is such a unique architecture, and some games made use of SPUs very well,” Yoshida said in the past. “It’s going to be super challenging to do so. I never say never, but we have no plans.”

Instead, you’ll have to make do with the myriad remakes and remasters that are gracing the new consoles. The cynical might say that’s a profit driven reason, but in truth, I just don’t believe it’s technically possible. Sure, some games might be able to work through some sort of black magic-driven emulation wrapper, but even that would require software engineering by wizards.

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Last Updated: October 29, 2015

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • WitWolfy

    It’s like chasing a dream…

    • Hammersteyn

      Dreams can be nightmares?

      • WitWolfy

        What are you, a fortune cookie?!?!?!

        • Hammersteyn

          I’m as sweet as one
          *Waggles eyebrows

          • WitWolfy

            Sweet like a lemon?

          • Hammersteyn

            Some people prefer sour over sweet.

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja


    • Software emulation is night impossible. the cell cpu is more powerful than the one in the PS4.

  • Pieter Kruger

    Sony invested too much in PS Now to ever consider BC. They much rather want you to pay a subscription and rent the games.

    • WitWolfy

      But thats the thing, Sony stated some where in Jan this year PSNOW is for people who dont own the consoles.. Looks like they changed their tune…

      • Hammersteyn

        They had too, when they realized how few people have the internet capabilities to use it.

        • WitWolfy

          So true.. I cant even remote play PS4 games to my Vita due to bandwidth infrastructure limitations…

          • Hammersteyn

            O_o I can…

          • WitWolfy

            Really? I cant, mine times out and says my Internet speed is insufficient. (4MB)

          • Hammersteyn

            That’s weird.

          • Nikola

            That’s weird that you can’t…

          • WitWolfy

            I’ll try again tonight and take a photo.

    • Hammersteyn

      You may be right, Sony bought Gaikai for $380 million. Can’t throw that in the water.

  • GooseZA

    Dat header!

  • Hammersteyn

    Oh well, I guess we have no option but to play the new exclusives then.

    • Ir0nseraph


    • Nikola

      Yeah haha it’s soo tough!

  • Nikola

    Who cares I would rather they invest into new games and spend money there then into BC and it is showing the amount of exclusive coming to PS4 is brilliant not to mention all the third party titles that are coming who has time to replay OLD games???

  • oVg

    It does have backwards compatibility. The new Assassins Creed game is 900p/30fps. If that’s not 7th gen then what is? 😛

  • Lardus-For the Emperor!

    The only games I would play in BC are the original 3 Mass Effect games. Especially when the new one comes out. Every other game I am interested in playing already has a new, “upgraded” version for the current generation (these are sports and fighting games). So BC or not is not going to be such a big issue for me as I can always get those 3 games on PC if it is really that important to me.

  • oVg

    I would play


    the list goes on…

    and as a XBOX 360 owner having 3 DVD9s for one game was a mission.

    • WitWolfy

      LOL hear that pirate DVD9 TALK. Only a true pirate would know A DUAL LAYER DVD is called that!!!

  • JacoZAB

    I just want to play the Jak and Daxter HD collection again. Maybe Sony can release it again on the PS4 as the Jak and Daxter HD HD Trilogy Collection?

  • Or you can get a PC, with backwards compatibility for life xD

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