It’s time to answer the only question that has been on the lips of the people throughout the global Covid lockdown; is the PS4 backwards compatible?
How many of you have started cleaning out your attics or scrambling under your bed while stuck at home, only to come across a treasure trove of old games that you had completely forgotten about?
It’s the find of the century when this happens, but everything falls to pieces when you remember that you sold your PS3 for beer money back in uni, or when you discover that the PS1 you lovingly stored away didn’t survive the leak in the roof last Winter…
That’s when you think, ‘wait… is the PS4 backwards compatible?’. Your saviour could well be waiting downstairs in your TV cabinet, but it’s always best to check Retro Dodo for the facts first.
Is there any point in carrying those games downstairs? Is their hope for Spyro, Liquid Snake, Crash Bandicoot, and all the other icons, or is eBay the next port of call?
Here’s all the information you need as to whether the PS4 is backwards compatible and how to play old games on the system!
Is The PS4 Backwards Compatible?
No, The PS4 is not backwards compatible with any other PlayStation games. Discs for the PS1, PS2, or PS3 will not work on any version of the consoles.
It’s sad news for people hoping that the PS4 might have followed in the footsteps of the PS3 and included the ability to play old games.
Coincidentally, the PS5 is backwards compatible with the PS4, allowing gamers to play their favourite and new PS4 games on the new console.
There is a way, however, to play the best PS3 games and more on the PS4, and I’ll get onto that in a little while.
What Is The PS4?
As the name might suggest, the PS4 is Sony’s 4th home console. It’s the successor to the PS3, a console that you all learnt about in our ‘is the PS3 backwards compatible‘ article and an absolute beast of a machine that is still very much current today.
Sony’s name appears three times in the list of the top 5 best selling consoles of all time. The PS4, rather fittingly, sits at Number 4, with 115.9 million sales under its glowing blue belt.
What Services Work On The PS4?
Like the PS3 in its ‘active service’ days, the PS4 is more than just a games console. It boasts tonnes of multimedia tools, apps, and streaming platforms such as Netflix, Sky, Amazon, and more.
I think I’ve lost count of how many films my mate Josh has downloaded on his PS4 from the PlayStation Store, and it’s perfect for upscaling DVDs and playing Blu-Ray discs of your favourite films.
And, of course, it plays games as well. It wouldn’t be a good PlayStation if it didn’t!
Since the consoles birth in 2013, there have been a whole host of epic titles for gamers to sit in awe of. The controller should come with a drool catcher; that’s how good these graphics are.
At the time of writing, all of the online servers, PlayStation Store, and streaming services are still running perfectly. The PS3 was in operation for a good 12 years before Sony shut everything down, so we can comfortably predict another four or five years before Sony bids farewell to the PS4.
Though, if scalpers continue to keep snatching up all the PS5 stock, we could still be playing our old PS4s in 2030!
Can I Play Old PlayStation Games On PS4?
Is the PS4 backwards compatible or not? Is there any workaround or sneaky solution that might help to play old games on this thing?
Well, there is a way, but you won’t be able to use any of your old discs on the console.
Gamers can log into PS Now, Sony’s gaming streaming service, and play many PS3 games as well as some of the best PS2 games.
This streaming subscription allows gamers to play titles from yesteryear without having to drag out old consoles from the attic.
It’s not much of a consolation for people that have tonnes of discs that they’ve collected over the years, but it is a quick and efficient way of replaying all of the best Nineties and Noughties games that Sony published.
Can I Play PS1 Games On The PS4?
Why have I continually skirted over whether digital PS1 games work with the PS4 so far in this ‘is the PS4 backwards compatible’ article?
Well, it’s probably because the news isn’t great…
All of Sony’s previous consoles have had the ability to play PS1 games. It’s been a way of keeping these classic titles alive and kicking for newer generations, but all that stopped with the PS4.
I guess old games just don’t work well with the image of a next generation console, even if they’re digitally downloaded from a futuristic-looking store. They’re all about looking forward, not back, which is a real shame in my opinion.
Still, maybe PS Now will add some classic PS1 games to the list of the best PS5 games in time, especially now that Nintendo’s Nintendo Switch Online streaming service is choc-a-bloc with classic games.
Why Can’t The PS4 Play PS3 Games?
Surely if some of the best PlayStation emulators can actually read PlayStation discs, then Sony could make an emulator in the PS4 to play old games?
That’s what Microsoft did with the Xbox One, and Sony aren’t ones to let Microsoft get the better of them.
Well, it seems they have this time…
The PS4 is a much more powerful machine than the PS3, but they are completely different consoles. Emulation isn’t something that they’ve shown an interest at the minute either, so it looks like PS Now is the best bet for the foreseeable future.
Is PS4 Pro Backwards Compatible With PS4?
The PS4 Pro is backwards compatible with the previous PS4 systems because they are the same machine.
This was a little bit of a trick question, though it’s one that we get asked a lot here at Retro Dodo Towers.
The PS4 Pro, PS4 slim, and original PS4 are all the same console. They all play PS4 games, provide access to PS apps, and come in a cool matt-black finish that looks super stylish.
The difference between the PS4 pro and the other two models is that it has a better graphics output.
Imagine two identical PCs, one with a standard graphics card and the other with the latest, blow-your-mind graphics card. That’s the only difference between the Pro and the other consoles!
Have you played any of your favourite PS2 and PS3 games on the PS4? Do you prefer using one console for all your old games or having each unit lined up next to each other in release date order?
Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.