Sony Plans for the PS4 to Play PS1 and PS2 Games Natively

PS4 compatibility

According to a “well-placed source” within Sony Entertainment’s streaming services division, Eurogamer reports that the console manufacturer is currently working on a way for the PS4 to natively emulate games from the PS1 and PS2 eras.

The site’s Richard Leadbetter writes,

“Only PlayStation 3 titles are currently scheduled to use the ‘gameplay over IP’ cloud service. PS1 and PS2 title are set to follow the more conventional route of running locally under emulation on Sony’s latest console—but with the possibility of HD visual enhancements.”

If accurate, that means that PS4 users could find themselves with access to a growing backlog of old games available on PSN in the not too distant future. Unlike the upscaling seen with PS1 and PS2 games played on the PS3 though, the PS4 initiative will be aiming to offer HD resolutions.

As Leadbetter notes, the news overall is good for “enthusiast gamers.” Between better resolutions and lower latency, native emulation will provide many with a better experience than a streaming service like PlayStation Now ever could. In addition, for those who prefer to collect games, even digital ones, this news means they will be able to do so on the PS4 as well by purchasing PS1 and PS2 games on PSN, rather than access being contingent on a PlayStation Now subscription.

However, this information, to the degree that it’s accurate, also raises some other issues. While the first batch of PS3s included backwards compatibility with both the PS1 and the PS2 (with all models still being able to play the former), the PS4 has no native backwards compatibility with any of its predecessors.

Inevitably then, ardent Sony loyalists who still have their copies of Twisted Metal II and Vagrant Story are going to have to purchase the digital copies of these games if they ever want to play them on their PS4s. Proprietors of vast personal libraries filled with digital PS3 content will likewise have to re-invest in another generation of purchases if they plan on upgrading to the PS4 and don’t have room for two of Sony’s boxes in their living rooms. Some won’t care, others will be angry, and a few might think twice before investing in media ecosystem that’s forever locked to a single, closed platform.