If there’s one feature that gamers are hungering for, no matter what generation, it’s backward compatibility. While Microsoft seems to be shooting for covering as much of their prior back catalog as possible with the new Xbox Series X, Sony has been less forthcoming about the scope of their potential support. And a recent update on Ubisoft’s support pages has not made it easier to understand.
The support page on Ubisoft was aiming to clarify what was and was not supported as far as Ubisoft titles from prior console generations. “Backwards compatibility will be available for supported PlayStation 4 titles, but will not be possible for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, or PlayStation games,” it read. By this point, Ubisoft has re-written the support page to remove any mention of backward compatibility. Still, since nothing is truly erased from the Internet, that earlier version has already been seen and commented upon.
The word “supported” is the key sticking point and one which does not entirely bode well for gamers with a thick library of PS4 games. Back in March, hardware designer Mark Cerny made it clear that PS5 consoles would not run into the same problem first-generation PS3 consoles did with regards to backward compatibility. The functionality was baked into the CPU, not as an add-on chip. However, a subsequent blog post by Hideaki Nishino seemed to indicate that the functionality was not going to be universal to all PS4 games on Day 1. And while a graphic from Sony’s presentation seemed to infer potential expansion into earlier generations later, there has not been any concrete plan laid out.
From previous statements, the question of backward compatibility even for PS4 games seems to be one without an easy solution. Cerny himself mentioned that while PS4 games that will run on a PS5 may benefit from faster load times, the back catalog may require some additional code to make it on. “The boost is truly massive this time around, and some game code just can’t handle it,” he said.