Is Backwards Compatibility Coming to PS4?
E3 is truly the most exciting time of the year for gamers and developers alike. There is a buzz in the air surrounding the event, caused by the hopes of what could be unveiled from all the major companies. One of the best parts about this event is the rampant speculation that can be sparked by the simplest of rumors. Today we take a look at a tweet that has particularly piqued my interest.
Normally I wouldn't put too much stock into a tweet that isn't accompanied by a named source or any studio confirmation. However this little nugget adds in nicely with some additional news items that we have already seen this year regarding Sony and backwards compatibility. We already know that Sony has filed a patent for backwards compatibility. This patent was filed around the same time that the PS5 rumors were starting to gain steam. The timing led to speculation that the patent was filed to make the new system backwards compatible. While at first glance that could make sense, when you start to dig a little deeper it appears they could be gearing up to allow PS3 backwards compatibility with PS4.
I'm sure at some point the inevitable PS5 will allow some sort of backwards compatibility but does it really make sense to feature that at launch? What Sony will want to do is entice gamers to make the jump to its next generation of consoles by offering a plethora of new games designed specifically for the specs of the PS5. They won't be able to successfully convince people to make the pricey investment if all they have to offer is the ability to play games they can already play on their current console. Couple this with the fact that John Kedora, the head of Sony Playstation, has said that they "will use the next three years to prepare the next step." If by their own admission, taken with a grain of salt of course, the PS5 is still years away then wouldn't it be a little early to file this patent?
Additionally, Sony has already made it known that the PS4 is entering the end of its life cycle, but that doesn't mean it's going to come to a screeching halt. Most of us are well aware that there is an impressive lineup of console exclusives slated to release over the next two years. What would be another way to milk the PS4 for all its worth? Allow the owners of the console to enjoy their backlog of PS3 games all on one system. If Microsoft is able to allow backwards compatibility with upgraded presentation then it isn't far-fetched to believe Sony can pull off the same feat. If Sony is winding down the PS4 then it's easy to believe they're looking to completely sunset the PS3. They've already announced that starting in March 2019 there won't be anymore PS Plus free games released for PS3 and Vita. The support for PS3 is coming to a complete end and that can't be denied. An olive branch to the gamers who have stuck by them through the early years of the PS3 would be to allow them to enjoy their entire catalog while using the power of the PS4. Add in the constantly growing popularity of streaming and you see another major reason why this is a no-brainer for Sony. There are plenty of folks who stream on PS4 and would love to showcase some of the classic PS3 games but aren't able to unless they purchase a computer set up. Sony making this move would be an amazing gesture to a segment of gamers who have been clamoring for years for this very feature.
Of course, this could all be completely off base. They very well could be filing this for use on the PS5 and they are further along in development than anyone really knows. We'll know a lot more after Sony's press conference on June 11th at 9:00 PM EST. Until then we can revel in the joy of rampant speculation because that is at least half the fun of E3 season. Admittedly this is a selfish hope of mine as I'd love nothing more than to stream just about every single Metal Gear Solid game, but I know I'm not alone (maybe on the MGS thing but not on backwards compatibility, that I can assure you). What are some of your hopes from the Sony press conference?