PlayStation 4 backwards compatibility seems to be on its way after all. However, Sony isn’t taking the same route that Microsoft has.
The Xbox One was announced recently to have a firmware update which would allow a select number of Xbox 360 games to be played on it. Some gamers have disregarded this news, saying that if you still have an Xbox 360, you can just play the games on its intended console. It is unclear if PS4 owners will feel the same way about their upcoming update.
What will the PS4 backwards compatibility update do? Instead of letting gamers play their PS3 library, it’s going further back in the console’s timeline to PlayStation 2. Why would they aim for an older console, though?
It seems Sony is banking on their PS Now subscriptions for PlayStation 4 owners to stream older titles like Batman: Arkham City, BioShock, and others which still haven’t made the HD remaster transition.
PlayStation 4 backwards compatibility could mean an extra boost in PS2 titles, as those who either sold their older console or never owned one will now have access to games they missed or dismissed long ago. If you think it hasn’t been done before, Wired says the Star Wars: Battlefront PS4 bundle already uses similar emulation software to run Super Star Wars, Star Wars: Racer Revenge, Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, and Star Wars: Bounty Hunter.
In some cases, the emulation software actually upconverts the graphics, much like most Blu Ray players do with DVD movies. This might be as close to an HD remaster as some older titles are likely to get.
Some classics such as Silent Hill 3, Grand Theft Auto 3, Twisted Metal Black, Gran Turismo 3, God of War, and a vast collection of role playing games could be getting our attention once more with Sony’s recent decision to make the PlayStation 4 backwards compatible.
Could this also mean that some PS3 games will still require the last generation console to play them, or a PlayStation Now subscription on a PS4? Yes, for now. The official word from Sony is that there are no plans to copy Microsoft’s recent move, which makes the Xbox One compatible with Xbox 360 titles.
Does this mean Sony has given up trying to boost the native library in favor of giving nostalgic PlayStation gamers a trip down memory lane? No, there are probably hundreds of titles still in development, ready to show off the console’s performance. If you remember, the PS3 had a similar launch with hardly any games to choose from, and PlayStation 4 backwards compatibility will simply bring back some older favorites.
— Complex UK (@complex_uk) November 20, 2015
The way PS4 backwards compatibility works is through an emulator that will use the native hardware and add code to make the PS4 read the older titles. It is currently unknown if the code will read older discs or if you’ll have to buy PlayStation 2 titles from the PS Store. Sony hasn’t commented on any details beyond saying PlayStation 4 backwards compatibility will play PS2 games, says Engadget.
In an older report by GameSpot, Sony Director of Marketing Peter Jamshidi stated that PlayStation 1 and 2 titles were part of a long-term goal for PS Now. “There are some amazing games for PS1 and PS2 and our longer term vision is to go back further into the PlayStation generational library and offer those with PlayStation Now.”
Some current PS4 gamers are still hoping that the recent announcement will also allow disc-based PS2 games to run on the PlayStation 4 as though it was the same console. The downside to that option could be the installation of so many titles could eat up a lot of hard drive space and make it necessary to upgrade to a 2-terabyte HDD.
What do you hope to see with the recent announcement of PlayStation 4 backwards compatibility adding PS2 titles?
[Image via Sony]