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Can you play PS4 games on PS5? PlayStation backwards compatibility explained

Plus, how to transfer your PS4 games and save data onto the PS5.

ps4 games
Published: Tuesday, 21st December 2021 at 12:45 pm

If you're wondering whether your old PS4 games will work on a shiny new PS5, and how to transfer them over if so, you've come to the right place for some answers to those key cross-generational questions.

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The PS5 is here and has been for over a year now, of course. But try telling that to many and you will be met with a stern facial expression in response as the PS5 stock problems are far from over and getting hold of one at the end of 2021 is no easier than it was at the end of 2020.

On the other side of the fence, Xbox backwards compatibility has been going for a while and was praised when it first launched, but it had not been quite the same for Sony until the PS5 came along and confirmed that PS4 games will indeed play on the powerful next-gen machine. If you can get one, that is.

But for now, if you're lucky enough to have nabbed a PlayStation 5, here is all you need to know about getting your PS4 games to work on the PS5.

Can you play PS4 games on PS5?

Will my PS4 games work on PS5? They will indeed - mostly! Not wanting to block gamers from having almost all their PS goodness on one console, Sony made sure it was a part of the latest machine and, happily, it is easy to get them to play!

Read more on PlayStation:

Which PS4 games play on the PS5?

You can pretty much take your pick of a PS4 game to play on the PS5, with Sony confirming that the majority of games will be playable - 99% of them, to put a figure to it. Sony has been busy testing this out on a multitude of games to make sure that they all work and the results have been positive - so you should be able to play them all problem-free when your new console arrives.

What PS4 games will not work on PS5?

As mentioned, thankfully there are not many PS4 games that don't work on PS5. But here is the list of the ones that will still require you to hang onto the PS4. This list has shrunk by about three or four titles since the PS5 first launched, so there is still hope for those that remain.

  • Afro Samurai 2 Revenge of Kuma Volume One
  • Hitman Go: Definitive Edition
  • Just Deal With It!
  • Robinson: The Journey
  • Shadwen
  • TT Isle of Man - Ride on the Edge 2
  • We Sing

How does backwards compatibility work on the PS5?

ps5 console

Very simply! All you need to do is put the disc in and it will play straight away. Digital purchases will also work on both which will obviously be the only way to take advantage of backwards compatibility if you opt for the digital-only version of the console.

Do PS4 games look better on the PS5?

For the most part, yes. Thanks to boost mode, older games will see an improvement when loaded up on the new system, but it will not be the case for all of them - most is better than none, though.

Straight from the horse's mouth, here is what Sony had to say about it: "We’re expecting backwards compatible titles will run at a boosted frequency on PS5 so that they can benefit from higher or more stable frame rates and potentially higher resolutions. We’re currently evaluating games on a title-by-title basis to spot any issues that need adjustment from the original software developers."

Plus, it's worth noting that if you have a PS4 game stored on your PS5's internal SSD, as opposed to an external hard drive you added yourself, you should see the benefit of faster loading times.

Do PS1, PS2 and PS3 games work on the PS5?

While it is great that PS4 games will play on the PS5, there are still three generations' worth of consoles prior to that which have a plethora of games on them, many of which are regarded as outright classics. For now, at least, most of those PS1, PS2 and PS3 games will not be playable on the next-gen machine.

Rumours abound that a solution to this issue is on the way, and while Sony has not said anything concrete, we would be surprised if this was not announced in the foreseeable future. There are rumblings for a retro gaming subscription service on PS5, which would certainly be welcomed by us.

As a quick aside, though, the PS2 Classics games that already came to the PS4 should all work on your PS5 - so that's something! Just don't expect all your old favourites to be there, and definitely don't try putting a PS1, PS2 or PS3 disc in your PS5.

Do PSVR games work on the PS5?

Yep! There is a PSVR 2 headset on the way, but the original PSVR headset will work on the PS5 if you have the right cable for it. Sony will send you a PlayStation Camera Adapter if you order one directly from the official website. And that's all you need to make your old headset work on the new console. Just remember, if you had any PS4 VR games on discs, you'll need the disc drive version of the PS5 to keep using them.

Do PS4 accessories work on the PS5?

Well, some of them will and it's a bit of a complicated one. To start with the simplest: gold and platinum headsets, racing wheels, arcade sticks and flight sticks that have been officially licensed by Sony will all work with no issues, as will generic USB ports or audio jack headsets.

Muddying the waters somewhat is that certain accessories will only work with the PS5 if you are playing PS4 games on it. So DualShock 4 controllers and other licensed ones, as well as the VR camera, the VR aim controller, and the VR move controllers will work but with that caveat.

How to transfer PS4 games and saved data to PS5

There are a couple of ways to do this, and for ease, we advise doing it before you get rid of your PS4 now you have the PS5. Having them both on, both connected to the same wifi, and connected via an ethernet cable is the best and quickest way to do it via data transfer. The steps are simple on-screen during the initial PS5 set-up session, and this shouldn't take you long - you can even still use the PS5 while it is doing its thing.

Here is a helpful video to explain that more:

But if you are a PS Plus member, the Cloud is your friend and you can do your PS4 to PS5 transfer in this alternate way:

  • On the PS5 go to Settings
  • Now head to saved Data and Game/App Settings and select Saved Data (PS4) > Cloud Storage.
  • Select the option to ‘Download to Console Storage’ and your available save files that you can download to the PS5 will be there.

Alternatively, you can copy everything you need to a USB and move over manually - so you should at least find one way that works for you. There are plenty of ways to bring it all with you!

This year's Radio Times Christmas double issue is on sale now, featuring two weeks of TV, film and radio listings, reviews, features and interviews with the stars. And if you're looking for something to watch, see our TV Guide.

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