A new patent filed by Sony seems to essentially confirm rumors that the Playstation 5 will feature backwards compatibility. The latest patent follows one which was spotted earlier this month, which protects a method for their devices to determine whether it is using legacy applications. The new patent was registered at the same time, but has only just been spotted. Titled “simulation of legacy bus operation for backward compatibility,” it is linked to a method which allows for emulation of older systems.
The patent also suggests that this method will allow for adjusting the performance of legacy applications. Coming after Sony’s leaked plans for “remastering by emulation,” this all seems very hopeful for those who want to play older games without having to hold on to their PS4.
Both patents were registered under Mark Cerny’s name, who was lead architect on the PS4, providing further clues that this is indeed related to backwards compatibility. In a post on Resetera, former Rock Paper Shotgun contributor Lewie Proctor mused that if the PS5 and PS4 share similar architecture, this kind of system would not be needed. If this is true, it could illustrate that games from even earlier systems will be playable on the PS5. It is also left unclear in the patent whether the applications referred to would be digital downloads or on discs.
Emulation is an established technology on PCs, allowing gamers to play titles from just about any system by mimicking the entire system. Key examples are MAME and ePSXe. According to the patent leaked earlier this month, the Playstation 5 will use “processor ID spoofing,” to achieve this aim. This would essentially trick the games into running as though on older systems. While the Playstation 5 is yet to be officially announced, or have any kind of release date set, its existence is essentially beyond doubt.
It may not be an essential feature for new consoles, but backwards compatibility would be a major selling point for prospective buyers. Having the ability to play older games from their collection, perhaps even dating back to the Playstation 1, would be an incredible achievement. I know that I would be digging out older games to play, and I suspect the same is true for many of you. Hopefully these patents bear fruit.