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The PS4 is not backwards compatible with PS3 or PSN games (but Sony is looking into it)

The PS4 is not backwards compatible with PS3 or PSN games (but Sony is looking into it)

Shuhei Yoshida, President of SCE World Wide Studios, dropped a bombshell during a roundtable discussion this afternoon when a reporter asked about the possibilities of playing your PlayStation Network titles on the PlayStation 4. The answer was expected, but it will still be a controversial decision by Sony.

“There is no native compatibility for PS3 games on PS4,” Yoshida stated.

Some of your games may work… at some point

That’s not to say that there will never be a way to play your older games on the system. Yoshida talked about moving your existing saves over to the PS4 when, or if, they found a way to bring existing games to the PS4 via Sony’s streaming technology or software emulation.

“When we provide the games in some form to be playable on PS4, absolutely we will try to do that, because we know that’s what people want, and it makes sense,” he explained. “We’ve been doing it on the cloud, server-based, to allow people to exchange saves between PS Vita and PS3. So we know how to do it.”

The PS4 isn’t just a new generation of hardware from Sony, the system is moving away from the Cell-based design of the PS3 into an X86 architecture. It is, in Sony’s own words, designed to be a super-charged PC, complete with 8GB of amazingly fast GDDR5 memory. On paper it’s everything we hoped for yesterday: the system will be powerful, yet easy to code for. This is a good thing, but I asked if any form of backwards compatibility would be possible due to the massive change in the hardware.

“That’s why we’re saying we are not offering that capability. The architecture is so different,” he answered. “If the question is could any PS3 game work on PS4 on emulation, I would say that some games will. If the games don’t use too much of the PS3’s hardware capabilities. But it’s a software-based solution if we work on that.”

This is something they’ve done in the past, in fact. “We are providing PS2 games digitally on PS3, even though the current PS3 doesn’t offer the hardware capability. We are doing it on the emulation. But we’re not offering every PS2 game,” he contined. “The selection is limited. Because some games took advantage of the unique hardware architecture of the PS2… once games do that it’s extremely difficult to emulate on another system, even if the other system is much higher in capability.”

Dale North from Destructoid made the point that there will be many Sony fans who will be disappointed that their libraries won’t carry over to the PS4. In fact, it was the thing that most concerned Destructoid readers.

Yoshida’s reaction was simple and to the point. “Sorry, we are not providing that native compatibility on the PS4. But we are trying to come with some ways to provide more services, and our libraries to the PS4.”

When asked if these possible solutions are something Sony is still trying to work out, his answer was direct. “Yes.”