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Why Some PS5 Games Should Run on PS4

Recently, Sony shot down the idea that some PS5 games will run on the PS4. To some, it seemed like a silly idea in the first place. Why would next-gen games run on current-gen consoles? It’s never been that way before, so why should it be now?

Well, it turns out there are several good reasons why this should work. Here are just some of the reasons Sony should reconsider this idea

Xbox is Already (Kind of) Doing This

Microsoft has already confirmed that they do not intend to release any “exclusive” Xbox Series X titles for at least the first year. What that means is that all major Xbox Series X games will also be released for PC and Xbox One.

This isn’t quite the same as buying for one console and automatically getting a copy for another, but remember that Microsoft is pushing that very policy through Smart Delivery. With Sony already adopting some of Microsoft’s better ideas, this seems like another one they should borrow.

Initial PS5 Games Probably Won’t Be That Demanding

Remember that awesome Unreal Engine 5 demo we saw? There’s no way that will be possible on a current-gen console, right?

Yes, you’re right, but that’s not the point. PS5 games won’t look like that out of the gate. In fact, we’re probably not going to see games that truly run at that level for at least another year. Even if the PS4 would need to make some technical sacrifices, it’s likely that they would be rather small compared to offering PS4 gamers the chance to play new titles.

PlayStation 5 Will Already Adopt “Forward Compatible” Technology

Another recent report suggests that Sony is informing developers that PS4 games released after a certain date need to be PS5 compatible. The idea seems to be that more recent PS4 games will be directly playable on PS5.

Basically, Sony is saying that it doesn’t really make sense that you shouldn’t be able to play recent PS4 games on PS5. We would argue that unless it’s technically impossible, it doesn’t make sense that early PS5 games which could technically run on PS4 wouldn’t be able to.

The Coronavirus Has Put the Industry in a…Strange Place

Recent global events have not only cast doubt on whether or not next-gen consoles will be able to be released on time, but they’ve severely impacted people’s lives. The fact of the matter is that many people may not be able to justify buying a new console later this year just to be an early adopter.

As such, it would be a tremendous act of consumer-friendliness for Sony to release PS4 versions of select PS5 games. By allowing PS4 gamers to hold on to their consoles for at least a little while longer, they can still reap the benefits of releasing a game to a massive install base without making people buy a new console.

At the end of the day, though, the biggest reason for Sony to enact such a policy is that “it’s always been this way” is rarely a good excuse for something to continue to be that way while a better option may exist.

Next-gen games are only next-gen games as long as they take advantage of new technology in a way that wouldn’t have been possible with previous technology. Until that’s the case, then certain major early next-gen games should encourage hardware upgrades rather than demand them.

Matthew Byrd

Matthew Byrd covers the gaming industry including indies, consoles, PCs, iOS and Android apps, as well as topics related to entertainment and technology.