Ubisoft Page Suggests PS5 Won't Feature Backwards Compatibility for PS1 / PS2 / PS3
Well, here we are in September of 2020 now. Surprisingly enough, we still don't have that many details on the next generation of consoles, despite the fact that they're both releasing sometime this holiday season. Release dates for either? No dice, though Microsoft has given a November window for the Xbox Series X. Price for either? We don't know that either. Yet another thing we're not entirely clear on is how backwards compatibility will work for these new consoles. It's a different story for both camps, but when it comes to Sony, things are looking a bit more dire on that front. Especially so when considering a recent statement that popped up on a Ubisoft next-gen support page. If the statement was anything to go by, it sounds like the PlayStation 5 won't feature any sort of backwards compatibility for PS1, PS2, and PS3 titles.
This may not come as a surprise, but it's not an outright confirmation either. Shortly after this story broke out, Ubisoft was quick to remove the aforementioned statement from the page. Before it was deleted, the page mentioned that backwards compatibility would be available for the majority of PlayStation 4 titles (a fact Sony has also stated), "but will not be possible for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, or PlayStation games." While this isn't the deciding voice on whether or not the PS5 will support its older siblings, it's a rather blunt statement from a studio of Ubisoft's caliber. Ubisoft's support page for console transitions to the Xbox Series X read in an entirely different light, stating that backwards compatibility will be available for all supported Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Xbox titles. This accurately reflects both Microsoft and Sony's stances on BC support for their newer platforms.
Looking deeper into the issue raises plenty of questions and mysteries, however. One glaring mystery is how backwards compatibility will work with subscription services like PlayStation Now and Xbox Game Pass. Another is when exactly the full list of supported titles on both camps will be available. We know some will be right at launch, but the wording from both companies suggests the full catalog will take some time. As far as Sony is concerned, they're looking to support the "vast majority" of the PlayStation 4's top 100 most-played titles for BC. Some have pointed out that Sony's stance on BC makes even more sense when looking at comments from current SIE head Jim Ryan in 2017. At the time, Ryan answered why Sony didn't port more PS2 games to the PS4 store, asking why "anyone would play this?" in regards to PS1/PS2 titles and their aged appearances.
It's sad to see support for backwards compatibility isn't as popular as it should be with the people who could make it happen. The reason it's such a supported feature in fan communities at large is because it extends the lifespan of games that are getting older and older with each passing year. It's an extremely important part of game preservation and history, but it's hard to see it keeping support in the proceeding years. At the very least, it seems like Microsoft is trying to support a large majority of their past libraries for all of their consoles, which is a definite step in the right direction. It's not hard to see why Ubisoft removed the statement from their website after this story gained traction, as it was a very overt confirmation in the midst of complete silence from Sony on the matter. We don't have much longer to go till these consoles release, so one way or another, we'll see the full extent of what they support. For the PS5's case, it doesn't look like it will be much.