Sony has addressed a much-asked question: why doesn’t the PlayStation 4 support backwards compatibility? But unfortunately, the company’s comments are unlikely to appease any fans who are desperate for the feature to be introduced.
In a recent interview, Shawn Layden, in charge of global game development at Sony, revealed that the company has no plans to make backwards compatibility a feature on the PS4. Layden explained that, “When we’ve dabbled with backwards compatibility, I can say it is one of those features that is much requested, but not actually used much.” The Sony executive also pointed to a recent Gran Turismo event which featured PS1, PS2, pS3 and PS4 games, and said that the PS1 and PS2 games, “looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?”
On the one hand, some would call Sony foolish for not pursuing what they see as a lucrative business opportunity. While the PS4 may currently be trouncing the Xbox One in terms of sales, one key selling point of the Microsoft console is its backwards compatibility. There’s a giant library of PS2 and PS1 games that fans would love to play on their current-generation console and if Sony made all of these available, it could appeal to those fans and simultaneously compete with Microsoft on the nostalgic gaming front.
But on the other hand, it sounds as though Sony has crunched the numbers and sees that introducing the feature would actually be a bad business decision. If it doesn’t feel that no one is playing those older games, why should it put money and time into making all of them available on PS4?
It should be noted that Sony has some history giving fans access classics and older titles. The company is no stranger to HD re-releases and remakes, with the Crash Bandicoot N’ Sane Trilogy being made with a partnership between Sony and Activision and will give the classic Crash titles a fresh lick of paint. There’s also the Final Fantasy 7 Remake which is coming exclusively to PlayStation 4. Moreover, the company’s PlayStation Now streaming service allows PS4 owners to play PS3 owners, although it comes with a cost and requires a solid Internet connection.
So even though Sony may feel that there’s no money in backwards compatibility right now, the company could change its mind in future. If sales of these remade games look promising and people continue to subscribe and use PS Now then maybe the PS4 will get the feature after all.