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PS5 won't support PS1, PS2 or PS3 games natively — but there's still hope

PlayStation 5 life cycle 5 years
(Image credit: Sony)

On Thursday, we reported that the PS5 would be "99%" compatible with PS4 games, as promised by PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan speaking to The Washington Post

But what about PS1, PS2 and PS3 games? Well, if you like retro gaming, I'm afraid we have bad news. 

In an interview with Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, Ryan said "PS5-specific engineering" caused the design team to focus on the high-speed SSDs and new DualSense controller, preventing Sony from providing backward compatibility with past consoles. 

"So, unfortunately, compatibility with them [PS1, PS2 and PS3] has not been achieved," he said.

Ryan reiterated the desire to bring PS4 games to PS5 because "we thought that they [PS4 owners] would like to play PS4 titles on the PS5, as well." Some gamers surely would like to play games from older consoles, but it's unclear if there will be a way to do so. 

As Ars Technica points out, Sony didn't clarify whether PS1, PS2 or PS3 games purchased on the PS4 will transfer over to the PS5 or remained locked on current-gen hardware. Similarly, we don't know whether old games can be streamed from the PlayStation Now cloud subscription service on the PS5 (PS Now is coming to the PS5 but Sony has not shared details about what it'll deliver). 

Even if PS Now works in the same way on PS5 as it does on PS4, the service excludes PS1 games so the prospect of playing the original PaRappa the Rapper with a DualShock controller is looking bleak. 

This, of course, assumes you get your hands on a console in the first place. Sony's PS5 pre-order woes are well-documented with supplies going in and out of stock. The good news is that Sony promises to “have more PlayStation 5 units ready for sale than they had PlayStation 4 units in 2013.” Now the question is whether that's enough to meet demand.