“Backwards compatibility” has been a bit of a buzzword (or phrase really) in the video game world for a while now. Probably since multiple console generations from a single company became a thing, people have loved the idea of returning to previously-loved games. Companies often used it as a unique selling point to differentiate them from their main competitors. The upcoming console update due later this year is no different. Xbox touts multiple generation compatibility – and while Sony will have some sort of backwards compatibility – it seems that this will only be for the PS4 titles.
Backwards compatibility will be available for supported PlayStation 4 titles, but will not be possible for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, or PlayStation games.Bold text our own
As pointed out in the Kotaku article: One, Sony has actually never promised older generation compatibility and Two, the PlayStation Now service does offer a kind of similar support with the “ability to stream certain PS3 games on the PS4”. So of course, we suspect something similar would be possible for the PS5. However, as has been mentioned by Sony – their stance has been that “they believe in ‘generations'”.
Of course, at the moment, Sony’s large collection of amazing PS4 exclusives, their current massive install-base and future titles (unannounced and announced) also allow them to be a little more ’emphatic’ decisions. Microsoft has a lot of ground to make up – and so leaning into backwards compatibility is an easy win.
Ubisoft has now removed the line regarding backwards compatibility, which is interesting. It could mean Sony was unhappy with it, for one of many reasons. These include it being outdated information, or only relating to Ubisoft titles or it could mean Sony doesn’t want this information to be public knowledge yet.