Sony has confirmed that PlayStation 5 cross-generation play will happen with games played via backwards compatibility. Players on Sony’s next-gen console will still be able to play with their peers on the PlayStation 4.
During Sony’s Investor Relations Day 2019, vice president John Kodera mentioned that the company’s next-generation console would allow cross-generation play. Kodera mentioned that this would allow the community to play together despite being on two different consoles.
In addition to this, CEO Jim Ryan called backward compatibility and cross-generation play “something that’s extremely powerful” in a time when consoles are online. He stated that the gaming community is “somewhat tribal in its nature,” and as such, being able to play their old games with old friends makes the transition to the next generation console much easier.
The transition to PlayStation 5 will be the first time Sony offers backward compatibility with games for a console with online play. The PlayStation 4 did not offer backward compatibility with PlayStation 3. Additionally, the latter also only had limited backward compatibility with PlayStation 2 with no support for the limited number of games that had online on that console.
Competitor Microsoft on the other hand, already allows cross-generation play with backward compatible Xbox 360 games on Xbox One. Of course, it took a while before said console received backward compatibility in the first place, and it still doesn’t cover every Xbox 360 game. The PlayStation 5, on the other hand, seems like it’ll have it from day one, and will likely cover most if not all of the PlayStation 4’s library.
Of course, while Sony has confirmed cross-generation play for PlayStation 5’s backward compatibility, there’s still the question if this will apply to games released on both Sony consoles. Developers often release games on both current and next-gen consoles during early on in the latter’s life. If Sony is committed to making the generational transition easier, allowing cross-generation play for these consoles should help.