Ahead of its PlayStation 5 games reveal next week, Sony has shed more light on its next-gen transition plans, revealing that, counter to Microsoft’s Xbox Series X strategy, it won’t be making its PS5 games compatible with PlayStation 4.
Microsoft, of course, has pledged all its first-party Xbox Series X games will, for the console’s first two years at least, be playable on existing Xbox One machines, albeit with additional bells and whistles for next-gen versions. According to Sony Interactive Entertainment’s president and CEO Jim Ryan, however, that’s not a strategy PlayStation plans to follow.
While Sony is now telling developers that new PS4 games must function on PlayStation 5, Ryan, speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, confirmed the company has no interest in making its PS5 games compatible with PS4. “We have always said that we believe in generations,” he explained, “We believe that when you go to all the trouble of creating a next-gen console, that it should include features and benefits that the previous generation does not include.”
“In our view,” he added, “people should make games that can make the most of those features…whether it’s the DualSense controller, whether it’s the 3D audio, whether it’s the multiple ways that the SSD can be used… we are thinking that it is time to give the PlayStation community something new, something different, that can really only be enjoyed on PS5.”
Ryan stressed, however, that Sony wouldn’t be abandoning its 100-million-strong PlayStation 4 audience any time soon. “We have always felt that we had a responsibility to serve that [PS4] community for several years after the launch of PS5,” he said, acknowledging that it “represented a huge business opportunity” for the company.
“The numbers are quite straightforward, ” he continued, “If you say in broad brush figures that we have a community of 100 million PS4 owners right now, and in the first couple of years… I don’t know, somewhere between 15 and 25 million might migrate to PS5, that still leaves a huge number of people with PS4s. And that community is demonstrating an amazing stickiness, and willingness to stay engaged that, I think, the events of the past few months have just reinforced what we knew already.”
To date, Sony has remained relatively coy about the PlayStation 5. While Microsoft is well into its reveal plans – with the company set to unveil its big first-party games this July – Sony has so far focussed on tech specs and a teasing glimpse of the console’s controller. That will change next Thursday, however, when, as confirmed earlier today, Sony will showcase around an hour of PlayStation 5 titles. Will we finally get a look at the console itself too? Only time will tell.