PS5 backwards compatibility may be better than expected — look out, Xbox Series X

(Image credit: Sony)

While the struggle to pre-order a PS5 and delays to existing PS5 pre-orders continue, the news regarding the upcoming next-gen console won't stop as we get closer to the November 12 launch date.

The latest information originates from Reddit user Kgarvey who, through some digging on the PlayStation site, allegedly uncovered some new details regarding backwards compatibility on the PS5, including reference to a "PS5 boost mode" (via Tom's Guide).

While backwards compatibility isn't a crucial feature to every console gamer, particularly early in a next-gen cycle, it has a lot of value as the catalog of next-gen games builds out. The Xbox Series X has held a pretty commanding lead in this department with Microsoft saying that its console will support four generations of Xbox consoles and play those older better than ever.

Sony's claims were much less bold earlier this year with the company only claiming compatibility with "almost all" of the top 100 PS4 games at the specs announcement in March. Whether it was due to feeling pressure from Microsoft or simply poor messaging back in March, this changed recently with Sony now asserting that the PS5 plays 99% of the PS4 games the company has tested. 

If true, this new leak places the PS5 even closer to the Xbox Series X in backwards compatibility as it suggests PS4 games will get a performance boost when played on the PS5. There are no specifics regarding what this might mean, but at a minimum, you would expect enhanced framerates up to 60 fps or even 120 fps.

Before you get too excited, "PS5 boost mode enabled" is only one of three messages that were found. The other two are: "playing PS4 games on PS5, some functionality available on PS4 may not be available" and "This PS4 game isn't supported with your PS5's current system software." That last message goes on to say "We're continuing to make more PS4 games playable on PS5. Update your PS5, and then try playing the game." 

While the exact benefits and the number of games supported remain a mystery, this is all nonetheless encouraging for anyone with a PS5 pre-order who is looking at the current list of PS5 games available at launch and thinking they might want to spend some time on the back catalog while they wait for some more releases.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.