PlayStation’s PS5 Backwards Compatibility Plan Raises More Questions

Updated today, the latest page detailing how backwards compatibility will work on the PS5 for your PS4 games and saves offers some clarity. But in doing so, it also raises new questions.

First, you can find the page and full information here. However, we’re going to summarize below and attempt to translate it all to make it far simpler. Let’s give it a shot.

Playing The Games Themselves

Generally speaking, the vast majority of your PS4 games will work on your PS5. Here are the basics.

    • If you are using physical discs, you will simply insert the disc into your PS5.
    • If you are using digital, you have three options:
      • You can store them on an external hard drive which connects to your PS5 via USB.
      • You can transfer them to the PS5 via wi-fi network transfer.
      • Once you are logged in, you can find the game in your owned library and re-download it.

Game Saves

This is where it begins to get a little more tricky. We will be talking more about this on the Bitcast tomorrow and the reasons why it’s not as straightforward as we would expect. For now, here’s what you need to know.

  • According to PlayStation, you can transfer saved game data in the same way you transfer the games themselves. That is, either by wi-fi transfer or via an external drive.
    • Thus, whether using digital or physical, you will need to make that transfer to the PS5 or have it stored via the external drive.

Unanswered questions:

  • Once a player transfers their save, does it have to be stored on the PS5 or can you play all save states from the external drive with the game itself?
  • Is it possible to transfer the save to the PS5 and then upload it to PSN – which would then be accessible to the player from any PS5 in the future via their PSN profile? If not, this would mean you would always have to manually have your PS4 game saves on a console or drive.
    • We have an answer to this thanks to another blog post here. If you are a PS Plus member, your PS4 saves can sync to cloud storage on the PS5. “And if you are a PS Plus member, you can also sync PS4 game saves on PS5 through cloud storage.”

PS4 Game Performance On The PS5

According to PlayStation, some PS4 games will benefit from PS5’s “Game Boost” which can improve the framerate. There are other aspects to be aware of as well.

  • At this time, there has been no indication as to what, or how many, titles will be “boosted”.
  • PlayStation has stated that some PS4 games may experience errors or unexpected behavior when attempting to play them on the PS5. Some features may also not work as intended.
    • As such, it is recommend to play your PS4 games on the PS5 first before purchasing any DLC or in-game items to ensure it’s a positive experience.
  • For PS4 games that receive PS5 enhancements, you will need to visit the PSN store or look at the game hub to find the upgrade offer and download that separately.

Unanswered questions:

  • DualShock 4 controllers are unable to play PS5 titles. Does that limitation apply to PS5 enhanced PS4 titles as well?
  • What exactly can we expect out of “Game Boost” and how many titles will support it?
    • Additionally, will the list of games that are supported continue to grow over time or is it just for a set group of games at launch?

Exceptions To Be Aware Of

There are quite a few exceptions to playing your PS4 games on the PS5. Here is the known list as shared by Sony:

  • The SHARE menu cannot be displayed during PS4 gameplay on PS5 consoles. You can take screenshots and images by pressing the create button on your DualSense wireless controller to show the create menu. Additionally, you can use the button shortcuts to start/stop video recording or to save screenshots as follows:
    • Single press the create (DualSense) or SHARE button (DUALSHOCK4) to show the create menu
    • Press and hold the create (DualSense) or SHARE button (DUALSHOCK4)  to take a screenshot
    • Double press the create (DualSense) or SHARE button (DUALSHOCK4) to start and stop video recording manually. 
  • The HD Camera is not compatible with PS4 games.
  • HDR is automatically switched on for PS5 consoles so if needed off for PS4 play, you will need to disable it.
  • The PS4 tournaments feature is not supported on PS5 consoles.
  • In-Game Live from PlayStation is not supported on PS5 consoles.
  • PS5 consoles do not support the PS4 Second Screen app or game companion apps.
  • There is a small list of PS4 titles that will outright be unplayable on the PS5. Please visit the link above to the official PlayStation site to see the full list.


By Seasoned Gaming

Covering the videogame industry with daily content, unique opinions, and as always, no ads or filler.


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