PS5 Backwards Compatibility hinted at by new patent

A new patent reportedly filed by Sony Japan has hinted that PS5 backwards compatibility is in the works for the next-generation console. While the patent doesn’t confirm that the technology is ready to deploy, at the very least this shows that Sony is researching the potential for this capability in their next console. The patent includes details a system designed by Mark Cerny, who also led the design of the PS4, focusing on the creation of a console that could “spoof” legacy systems to run games from older PlayStation consoles.

With a potential 2020 release for the PS5, the patent is laid out in a manner to suggest that this technology is still in development, but could still be ready for a full launch next year. In fact, Digital Foundry’s John Linneman recently responded to a question over PS5 compatibility on Twitter, stating that the PS5 “will absolutely have [backwards compatibility]. Zero question.” Likewise, the Hellpoint developer Marc-André Jutras last year was equally confident that Sony, in particular, would be likely to invest in backwards compatibility following the Xbox’s dominance in this field.

The question remains whether the PS5’s architecture facilitates backwards compatibility, given that Sony failed to implement this technology with the PS4. However, the patent outlines multiple routes through which the PS5 could “spoof” and replicate the original systems of older PlayStation consoles, which is evident from the patent listing. Yet, there is further hope for PS5 backwards compatibility, as the new console was reported to be built with the same x86 architecture as the PS4, using AMD’s Zen CPU to share certain elements across the generation of consoles.

Of course, every leak of new PS5 details must be taken with a grain of salt. Only last week, a fake invitation to a Sony conference announcing the PS5 was sent out to outlets, further fuelling speculation that a new generation of consoles would be on the way.