On the Anniversary of the Original PlayStation, Sony Still Quiet on Backward Compatibility

Today is the 25th anniversary of the North American release of the original PlayStation console, which introduced us to game series such as Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, and Crash Bandicoot. Many games included in these series and others are beloved by many players today, inspiring reboots, remasters, and re-releases. Many of them can also be downloaded digitally for older generation consoles such as the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. However, whether or not these original PlayStation games will be available on the upcoming PlayStation 5 is still unclear.

Several gaming news sites, Polygon among them, have been reporting that a FAQ page for developer Ubisoft claims that the PS5 will not feature backwards compatibility for the original PlayStation, PS2, or PS3 games. Strangely, as Polygon’s reporting makes clear, this Ubisoft support page is different for each region, so that this information appeared on an Australian page, whereas the page for the U.S. only discusses questions regarding PS4 and PS5 games.

Whether or not some of the older PlayStation games will be released in some form is still all speculative. Sony has been quiet regarding backward compatibility, and in fact, the PS5 itself, despite Microsoft having announced earlier today the price for the new Xbox Series X and Series S systems along with the upcoming combination of Xbox’s Game Pass with EA Play which will be available to Game Pass Ultimate and Game Pass for PC subscribers for no extra cost.

Regardless, the anniversary of the PlayStation’s release highlights just how much the company has neglected the games of their original console. The PlayStation 4 does have ports of PS2 and PS3 games, as well as ports of some PS1 games—but there has been an inconsistency in the latter’s availability. Some PS1 titles were ported to the PS Vita, while others, like several Crash Bandicoot games, were remastered for PS4, as outlined by a Verge article written for the 25th anniversary Japanese release of the PS1 last year.

With Microsoft committed to having its next-gen consoles play all games currently available on Xbox One (which includes many Xbox 360 and original Xbox games), and Nintendo maintaining its own online platform of older games while releasing things like Super Mario 3-D All-Stars for the Switch, it remains to be seen when—or if—Sony will more formally address how backward compatibility will work on the PlayStation 5 and if we’ll be given options to play the original PlayStation’s library on a current-gen platform.


Images courtesy of Sony and Square Enix.