When the new generation of consoles launched in 2013, there was something missing – neither the PS4 nor Xbox One allowed users to play games from their predecessors. This lack of backwards compatibility was a disappointment for many, leading the list of missing features on the new technology. Although there were some suggestions that backwards compatibility would become a feature in the future, it increasingly looked like a pipe dream for new-gen console owners.
That was until Microsoft’s E3 2015 press conference, where the tech giant revealed that the Xbox One would be bringing the ability to play Xbox 360 games on to the flagship console. Although the run of titles is initially limited, Microsoft is looking to bring the entire Xbox 360 library to Xbox One users. Opening up hundreds of additional titles to Xbox players, this bold and unexpected move from Microsoft has apparently kick-started an exceptional year for Xbox gamers.
In the wake of the announcement, PS4 owners were left wondering whether Sony had similar plans regarding backwards compatibility. Unfortunately, it appears as though Sony is currently unlikely to look at bringing previously purchased PS3 games to the PS4. Speaking with Polygon, Sony’s head of world wide studios Shuhei Yoshida explained that the company was not currently looking to change its approach with regards to backwards compatibility.
“I don’t think we will change our approach,” said Yoshida, before giving a disappointingly finite statement that “the PlayStation 4 doesn’t have backward compatibility.” When pressed for why the PS4 is unlikely to feature that kind of PS3 functionality, Yoshida did give an explanation, however. “Backward compatibility is hard. I won’t say we’ll never do it, but it’s not an easy thing to do.”
A lot has been said about PlayStation Now, Sony’s video game rental service that happens to allow users to play certain PS3 games. Yoshida stated that the platform “works surprisingly well” with regards to acting as a replacement for backwards compatibility, but explained that PlayStation Now has a different aim altogether. “The primary purpose of that project was to create a new network service,” said Yoshida, explaining that the end goal was “to bring PlayStation games to multiple devices including non-PlayStation devices, like Sony and Samsung televisions.”
The news is bound to be a disappointment to PS4 fans who currently have a good library of old gen games. Although some may hold some hope, given Yoshida’s comments that Sony users should never say never to backwards compatibility, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that PS3 back catalogs will ever be compatible with PS4. As time passes, backwards compatibility with the previous generation becomes less of a must-have feature, so PS3 owners will most likely have to keep hold of their consoles for some time yet.