The PlayStation 5 may be able to emulate the PlayStation 4, PS3, PS2 and original PlayStation, if a recently-uncovered patent is to be believed.
If this incredible rumor is true, Sony will almost certainly change the console marketplace and pretty much guarantee the worldwide popularity of the PS5.
According to TechRadar, the patent, numbered 2019-503013, was filed by the PS4’s lead architect Mark Cerny and describes a process that would allow the next-gen CPU to “interpret” the the CPU of previous machines. It focusses on synchronization errors – making sure that newer, more powerful hardware only sends required information from a game in response to a “call” from the title itself, rather than jumping the gun and overwriting data being held in RAM.
The rumor comes from Japanese gaming blog hokano-alt and apparently the patent also discusses the possibility of simply including hardware chipsets that mimic older consoles in the cases where the legacy design is particularly difficult to emulate, as was the case with the PS2.
In the super-competitive console gaming arena between the PlayStation and the Xbox, the issue of backwards compatibility has been key – and one that hasn’t previously received as much attention from Sony as Microsoft. The Xbox One has had extensive backwards compatibility with original Xbox and Xbox 360 titles for some time and continues to grow, with users needing merely to pop their old discs into the console to play.
The PS4 on the other hand has relied on its PlayStation Now streaming service, which requires the user pays a subscription fee to stream old games over the internet. It’s had a mixed reception and isn’t anywhere near as satisfying as being able to open those old-style CD boxes and pop a vintage copy of Metal Gear Solid or PaRappa the Rapper in there.
This new patent, should Sony act upon its potential, shows the company is finally taking its back catalogue seriously. The popularity of the PlayStation Classic micro-console has certainly proved there is a market for vintage and classic games and when you consider every great game for every incarnation of the PlayStation, there’s a few hundred potential purchases there for every PS5 gamer. That’s a lot of yen.
Moreover, with the PS4 still playing host to a mighty library of games, it would let new players hit the ground running with compatible PS5 titles right out of the box.
Scuttlebutt is that the Sony PlayStation 5 will arrive at the end of this year. The PS4 arrived in November 2013, which would make it six years old this coming November, although, the PS3 was seven years old when its successor launched. The PlayStation 2 however, was also six years old when it was succeeded…so your guess is as good as ours.
Scott Snowden is MyM’s US Editor. Follow him on Twitter.
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