There have been a lot of questions surrounding the new batch of next-generation consoles. Their selling price, their exact release date—one of those questions includes backwards compatibility. Microsoft has been direct with their messaging stating that the Xbox Series X would be able to run all Xbox One titles as well as select titles from both the Xbox 360 and original Xbox. They’ve gone so far to provide an exhaustive list of which games are currently compatible with the Xbox One and the upcoming Series X.
Sony on the other hand has been a little less informative with their messaging. At first, most were under the impression that only the ‘top 100’ PS4 games would be able to run on their next-gen machine—which was a rather ambiguous statement—but an official update clarified that the PS5 would be able to handle the ‘the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles’. In regards to the consoles preceding the PS4, Sony has even been more secretive but we may have an answer.
A Ubisoft support page about upgrading previous generation games to next-generation consoles explicitly claimed that PS1, PS2, and PS3 backwards compatibility with the PS5 ‘will not be possible’. The page has since been updated to exclude such information but the original text is quoted below.
PlayStation 4 players will be able to join multiplayer games with PlayStation 5 players. Backwards compatibility will be available for supported PlayStation 4 titles, but will not be possible for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, or PlayStation games.
It would be disappointing, to say the least, if this statement turns out to be true. It’s possible that pre-PS4 titles may be entirely relegated to PlayStation Now—Sony’s cloud gaming service ala Stadia or xCloud—which currently houses select PS2 and PS3 games.