Will PS5 backwards compatibility finally happen?

Sony PS5 console standing up
(Image credit: Sony)
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A recently discovered patent has people thinking that system architect Mark Cerny has figured out a fix for the PS5's backwards compatibility feature.

First spotted by Twitter user @shaunmcilroy (opens in new tab), the patent can be viewed on the United States Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO (opens in new tab)) website and is listed as "backward compatibility through use of spoof clock and fine grain frequency control."

Sony is the applicant, while its invention is credited to Mark Cerny and one David Simpson, possibly the same David Simpson who is currently a lead programmer at Naughty Dog.

It's all a bit complicated, but the main takeaway is that, if implemented, this could allow the PS5 to play physical games for older systems, such as the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, and maybe even the PlayStation One.

People love the past

Backwards compatibility has been something of an afterthought for Sony. The PS4 lacked it completely and the PS5 is currently only capable of playing PS4 games (and even then, not all of them).

Compare this to the Xbox Series X, which offers backwards compatibility with games released for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, and even the original Xbox.

While such an improvement would be welcomed by PS5 owners, there's no guarantee that Sony will actually implement it. Companies like Sony will regularly file patents and trademarks simply to assure ownership, not necessarily to actually follow through with them.

It is possible to play select PS2 and PS3 games digitally through the PlayStation Now streaming service. At the moment, however, PS Now gift cards are being pulled from retailers (opens in new tab), fuelling suspicions that Sony is gearing up to scrap PS Now in favor of a new service, in order to better take on Xbox Game Pass. We just hope Sony's replacement paves the way for broader backwards compatibility in the years ahead.

Michael Beckwith

Michael is a freelance writer with bylines at the Metro, TechRaptor, and Game Rant. A Computer Games Design and Creative Writing graduate, he's been passionate about video games since the Game Boy Color, particularly Nintendo games, with Xenoblade Chronicles being his favorite game ever. Despite everything, he's still a Sonic the Hedgehog fan.