PlayStation 5 backward compatibility isn't good news for fans of older games

Throughout Sony's marketing push for the PlayStation 5, one big question mark has been backward compatibility. Microsoft has made a big deal of backward compatibility in this generation and will continue that focus in the next, promising that all games which are currently playable on Xbox One will be playable on Xbox Series X as well. While Sony has indicated that many PlayStation 4 games will be playable on PlayStation 5, it's been somewhat vague about its plans for older consoles.

Now that's all changed, with Sony Interactive Entertainment President Jim Ryan setting the record straight in a new interview with Famitsu. Ryan indicated that while the PlayStation 5 will be able to play "99%" of PlayStation 4 games, that's where the backward compatibility ends. The PlayStation 5 won't be able to play PS1, PS2, or PS3 games due to Sony's design teams focusing primarily on the DualSense controller and the capabilities of the PS5's SSD.

That could be a knock against Sony in the eyes of some fans who have game libraries that span multiple generations. It's worth noting that PlayStation 5 will have some degree of backward compatibility through PlayStation Now, but that probably isn't what most people think of when they think "backward compatibility" because of the monthly subscription cost that comes along with it.

Earlier this week, Sony at long last revealed pricing and release information for the PlayStation 5. Sony's new console will be on shelves on November 12th, with the standard PlayStation 5 running $499.99 and the Digital Edition, which lacks a disc drive, priced at $399.99.

The PlayStation 5 will be launching just two days after the Xbox Series X, so we're gearing up for quite the showdown in November. For those who are on the fence, the differences in philosophy regarding backward compatibility could be a decision maker between PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, especially when both flagship consoles are priced the same.