PS5 Backwards Compatibility: Everything You Need To Know

ps5 & ps4 controllers; ps5 backwards compatibility

It hasn’t been that long since Sony released the PlayStation 5, yet there’s already a shortage in supply. This is unsurprising, given that the PS5 is the first refresh of the PlayStation consoles in seven years, boasting more powerful performance and graphical capabilities than the PS4. There is, however, one drawback to upgrading, and that’s the PS5’s backwards compatibility. 

The PS5’s backwards compatibility might not seem like a big issue at first, but it is for many people. While PC gamers are able to upgrade their gear every year or whenever they want, we can’t say the same for console gamers due to the limitations set by the manufacturers. We are thus here to tell you everything you need to know about PS5s backwards compatibility before you decide to upgrade your PlayStation console.


PS5 Backwards Compatibility: What Does & Doesn’t Work

ps5 & ps4 controllers
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Many PS5 users (or potential PS5 customers) are probably thinking the same thing: is the PS5 backwards compatible? Will the PS5 be compatible with the massive number of PS4 games you already have in your possession? Do you have to say goodbye to the games you used to love in older generations?

Backwards compatibility is not a new problem and, honestly, it’s not necessarily a bad problem. Moreover, it’s certainly not exclusive to the PS5. With any new hardware upgrades, there will be software compatibility issues if you’re still using older software. For example, Apple recently released a new M1 chip on Macs that raised questions about compatibility with Intel-based software. Thankfully, Apple put people’s fears to rest by executing flawless backwards compatibility through emulation. 

A more familiar example would be the transition to USB-C on many consumer electronic devices. Everything from phones, computers, and monitors have transitioned to using USB-C instead of using HDMI, USB 2.0/3.0, etc. Thankfully, people could switch to USB-C very easily because compatibility is less of an issue when it comes to ports. There are always adaptors you can use while transitioning and, frankly, it’s best to let go of old ports altogether.

However, can we say the same about PS5 backwards compatibility? Yes, some older games flow well on the PS5 and, honestly, most people won’t mind the incompatibilities. For example, PS4 games are mostly compatible with the PS5, so PS4 owners shouldn’t worry. With all that said, it’s confusing if you’re not sure about which games are and aren’t compatible. So, let’s break things down and take a look at PS5 backwards compatibility and what does and doesn’t work.


PS4 Games: Mostly Compatible 

ps4 games; ps4 game collection
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Can you play PS4 games on PS5? This is probably what most PS4 owners, who are upgrading to the PS5, are wondering about. In fact, this question is what might have led you here to this article. Luckily for you, PS5 backwards compatibility is a non-issue when it comes to most PS4 games. You’ll still find over 4,000 PS4 games playable on the PS5. This includes all the fan-favorites such as Spider-Man, Ghost of Tsushima, The Last of Us, and more. You can even run the physical copies of PS4 games on the PS5, not just the digital versions. It’s even compatible with approved discs and games downloaded through the mobile app or an online browser.

Given that the player base would be unhappy if they cut off from playing older games, Sony’s implementation of backwards compatibility on the PS5 is a smart move. It’s also an ethical, inclusive decision that takes into account the fact that there are people who may just be starting to get into the world of Playstation via the PS5.

Also of note is the fact that PS4 games run much better on the PS5. You’ll get to enjoy your favorite PS4 games in a new light, with the PS5’s superior drivers and processors allowing you to replay them with better graphics and frame rates.

With that all done and said, things are not all sunshine with regard to PS5 backwards compatibility. That’s because not all PS4 games are compatible with the PS5, with some triggering errors and others not even playable at all. Some games also have additional content that you can only acquire as a separate purchase. Also note that if your console is the digital edition, you won’t be able to run any physical PS4 discs on it.


Incompatible PS4 Games

PS4 Original
Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash

There are a handful of PS4 games that Sony has listed as incompatible with the PS5. These include the following:

  1. Afro Samurai 2 Revenge of Kuma Volume One
  2. DWVR
  3. Hitman Go: Definitive Edition
  4. Joe’s Diner
  5. Just Deal With It!
  6. Robinson: The Journey
  7. Shadow Complex Remastered
  8. Shadwen
  9. TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge 2
  10. We Sing

This list may get even smaller because the developer of TT Isle of Man, KT Racing, recently announced that they are working on a way to run the game on the PS5. However, we aren’t sure when the update will be released, and so we’ve kept it on this list for now. DWVR might also have an update according to the developers. However, like TT Isle of Man, the patch date also isn’t confirmed.


PS4 Share Menu

ps4 share
Photo by Keri Honea

Unfortunately, PS5 backwards compatibility isn’t just about games. The PS4 console itself came with certain features that the PS5 lacks. Apart from the game compatibility, there are other features on the PS4 that are unavailable on the PS5. For example, you no longer have access to the SHARE menu you used to have on the PS4. There is, however, a workaround for this so you can access features that the SHARE menu used to have. If you have a DualSense wireless controller, you can hit the create button to show the create menu. From here, you can take screenshots of your game to share with friends. 

There are also other ways to take video recordings and screenshots of your gameplay, depending on your controller. If you have a DualSense controller, hit the create button once to show the create menu. You can also press and hold the create menu to quickly take a screenshot of your game. Double-pressing the create button will allow you to start or stop video recording. 

If you’re still using a DUALSHOCK4 controller, you can bring up the create menu by pressing the SHARE button. To take a screenshot, press and hold the SHARE button. Lastly, you can start and stop recordings by double-pressing the SHARE button. 

Other PS4 Features

ps4 vr; ps4 vr headset
Photo by Joeri

Apart from the share menu, there are other PS4 features that Sony didn’t consider when putting together the PS5. Firstly, if you used a VR headset with your PS4, the PS5 camera won’t support it. That’s because the HD Camera is incompatible with the PS5’s PS VR. As an alternative, you can use a PlayStation camera adaptor while using the PS4 Camera to work around this issue. 

Secondly, the PS5 cannot support the PS4’s tournaments feature. If you still want to use this feature on PS4 games, you’ll have to continue using your old PS4 console.

Thirdly, there’s no support on the PS5 for the in-game live from PlayStation that used to be on the PS4. This means that you can no longer view live streaming content put out by other players or upload your own. 

Lastly, unlike the PS4, there’s no second screen app on the PS5. You can, however, set up Remote Play to control your PS5 from a mobile device like your phone or tablet.


PS3 and Earlier Games: Incompatible

ps3 games; ps3 game stack
Photo by dannyburn

Sad but true. The PS5 simply doesn’t have backwards compatibility with PS3 and older games. Furthermore, if you had transferred a digital PS4 game via the PS3 to PS4 upgrade program, you won’t be able to run it on the PS5. This is because you still need the PS3 disc to run the upgraded game—pretty much impossible given that PS3 discs don’t work on the PS5 to start with.

So those of you who are nostalgic for the great PlayStation classics, all you can do is hope that the developers remaster or remake them for the PS5. Otherwise, it’s back to the good ol’ PS1, PS2, and PS3, or you can even look into emulating these games on your PC or smartphone.

PlayStation Now

playstation now
Source: PlayStation Now

If you’re subscribed to Sony’s streaming service PlayStation Now, you’ll be happy to know that it’s compatible with PS5. You can continue to enjoy streaming content and create your own with the PS5 on hand.


PS5 Backwards Compatibility: Transferring Game Data

transfer ps4 data to ps5
Source: Android Central

Newsflash: Transferring game data from the PS4 to the PS5 is possible. There is some work you have to do though, and here’s the lowdown on what needs to be done. If you used to play PS4 games digitally, then most save data can be transferred via Wi-Fi or LAN. However, as some game developers may have imposed restrictions on their games, you won’t be able to transfer your previous save file for these titles. 

How to Install a Digital PS4 Game to the PS5

If you’ve purchased digital copies of PS4 games, then you can easily install them on the PS5. Here’s how to do it:

  1. On your PS5, go to the Games Home and then access the Games Library
  2. Choose the game that you’d like to install
  3. Select Download to download the game on your PS5
  4. This should automatically trigger the installation process. Some games also allow you to play a part of the game immediately while it’s downloading. However, this will vary from game to game, so it’s not possible on all PS4 games.

Conclusion: PS5 Backwards Compatibility

Photo from Forbes

Many PlayStation fans rejoiced when they saw the announcement of Sony’s new PS5. It’s a big leap forward for the PlayStation and the graphical performance is an enormous selling point for the console. However, as is the case with any console hardware upgrade, backwards compatibility is a point that cannot be ignored. 

Thankfully, if you’re a PS4 user, you won’t miss much for the most part. There are only a handful of PS4 games you can’t play on the PS5, and even then, this issue is negligible for most people. So go out there and treat yourself to a brand new PS5 console—you know you’ve earned it.  

PS5 Backwards Compatibility: Everything You Need To Know

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