Sony Explains Why PS4 Won’t Have Backwards Compatibility, Focus On Games And Services

SCE’s Shuhei Yoshida says remaking games on PS4 “makes the games even better”.

Posted By | On 27th, Jul. 2015 Under News

ps4 amd

Sony is currently winning the console war in terms of sales with its PS4 having notched up more than 22.3 million units worldwide as of March 31st 2015. However, Microsoft still serves as strong competition especially when it offers some things with its Xbox One that the PS4 doesn’t, like backwards compatibility.

What does SCE Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida think of that, especially since the Xbox One’s backwards compatibility is free and Sony’s solution PS Now requires a subscription?

Speaking to Games Radar, Yoshida said, “We don’t have backwards compatibility with PS4. With PS Now you can play PS3 games on PS4, but the main purpose of PS Now is a network service. By removing the requirement of games running on the console itself we can bring PlayStation games to multiple devices, including non-PlayStation devices. We just announced an alliance with Samsung in the US so people who purchase Samsung TVs can play PlayStation games on their TV. So that’s the main purpose, not to provide backwards compatibility.

“I totally understand people asking for it, and if it was easy, we’d have done that. But our focus is creating PS4 games and adding new services. remaking games on PS4 makes the games even better – with The Last Of Us, you can play at 60 frames per second, and the same goes for Dark Souls II. Actually, I just finished Dark Souls II again on PS4.”

The PS4 is scheduled to receive a number of remasters like Uncharted Collection, Beyond: Two Souls and Heavy Rain along with new sequels such as Uncharted 4 and new IPs in Until Dawn and Everybody’s Gone To Rapture. What are your thoughts on Sony’s philosophy though? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Psionicinversion

    well its because Sony are pretty crap at software and of course it will infringe on PSNow there massive investment that they spent all the PS+ money on

    • doplerradar

      I think it also has to do with that the PS3 hardware is so different from the PS4. It is really hard to do it.

    • d0x360

      Nope. Xbox one isn’t emulating Xbox 360. Microsoft recompile the games to run native on xb1. Sony could do the same. Emulating cell isn’t difficult anyways especially not with an 6+ core cpu. It’s a ppc core with very narrowly focused coprocessors. The spe’s from ps3 can be emulated because there are only 8 as opposed to the end goal of cell which was hundreds working in unison. Ps3 was a microscopic proof of concept for something much bigger. Unfortunately it failed miserably and the project abandoned.

      It’s not often you see a multi billion dollar investment from multiple companies just quietly brushed aside like that

    • Matt Rundle

      Someone will know how to make them compatible and Sony will get the blame if people use the hack, because if they just made it compatible in the first place offcially no one would go and try making it work with the risk of bricking their console.

    • Kinect

      Sony is crap at software, yet Microsoft is the one trying to copy Sony’s software. Good job dumb dumb

      If Sony was trying to force people to use PlayStation Now instead of buying games, then why did Sony put PlayStation Now on the PS3, you dumb dumb?

      What is Microsoft doing with the Xbox Live money that they robbed from people the past 10 years? Definitely didn’t improve their network.

      Microsoft fanboys are so dumb.

    • Psionicinversion

      more like sony new it had nothing to compete with MS family sharing thing so did its best to trash the idea until they brought out shareplay… yeah sony are angels

    • Matt Rundle

      They both seem to be focused on duifferent things Sony seem to be focused more on gamers while Microsoft is focused on services Windows Os, they are even competing with Sky.

    • Psionicinversion

      really? well think you should go look at all the TV talk sony has been doing lately

    • *Also On PC

      It’s even funnier because Sony spent the PSN money on Powers the TV show and are still on their garbage Rackspace network (Which Nintendo also uses but doesn’t charge for)

    • Matt Rundle

      they put them on both consoles well,wouldn’t you if you were trying to make money?

      only on PS4 you have no choice but to use it if you want to go online with it.

      I have never payed for Xbox live but i have seen it to be more stable, Microsoft have been in the computer industry for decades they know about firewalls and security via Windows.

      I liked both design of the Ps3 and 360 and i prefer the PS4 design to Xbox one.

  • Asmodai

    Sony can’t do backwards compatibility on the PS4 because the PS3’s Cell microprocessor is much more difficult to emulate than Xbox 360’s Xenon processor. The Xenon processor is basically just a triple core Cell PPE which is comparatively easy to emulate on an 8 core AMD chip compared to the PPE + 7 SPE arrangement of the Cell CPU.

    In fact in some ways the Cell CPU is even more powerful than the AMD CPU in the PS4. Take a look at this:

    You’ll note the Xbox 360 can do 34 dancers per 5 seconds while the PS3 does 105. The PS4 only does 98 and the Xbox One does 113. So obviously this is only one example but it demonstrates the issue. It’s A LOT easier to emulate a 34 dancer CPU on a 113 dancer one than it is to emulate a 105 dancer CPU on a 98 dancer one.

    There have been rumors however that Sony is working a PS1 and PS2 emulators for the PS4 but for the PS3 you’re not likely to get anything other than PlayStation Now.

    In theory they could maybe put a cell CPU in the case for backwards compatibility when they shrink the APU to < 20nm but I seriously doubt they'd bother. Likewise in theory they could try to use GPU compute to help emulate the SPE's since there is no way the CPU is going to be able to do it alone but that would be VERY difficult and I don't think Sony has the resources to devote to trying to make that work, if it's possible at all.

    • d0x360

      Xbox one isn’t emulating the Xbox 360 Microsoft is recompiling the games in Xbox one format hence why you have to download the title despite owning the disc. Sony could do the same. They don’t want to. They want to charge you to rent these games.

    • Asmodai

      I don’t know where you got your information from but it’s wrong. The Xbox One IS emulating the Xbox 360 hardware in a virtual machine. The Xbox One thinks the whole virtual machine is just a typical Xbox One game and the Xbox 360 game thinks it’s running on Xbox 360 hardware because it’s inside the virtual machine. The 360 hardware IS being emulated.


      It’s FAR easier to emulate a 3 core Power chip (360 CPU) on an 8 core x86-64 chip then it is to emulate the complex Cell (1 PPE + 7 SPE) chip on an 8 core x86-64. Especially considering on certain tasks (not everything but enough to cause problems in games) the Cell is faster than the x86-64 CPUs.

    • d0x360

      No emulation involves. I got my information from working in the industry… The games industry. The 3 hour meeting we are a few months ago pretty much spelled out how it all works and while I can post surface details without getting fired the one thing I can tell you is there is ZERO emulation going on. None. Zilch.

      You can believe me or not. I have no reason to lie but at the end of the day I’m not going to change the mind of people who don’t care for facts.
      As for a VM…yea its running in a VM like any native Xbox games because it IS a native Xbox game. If you paid attention to non gaming tech news you would know Microsoft has invented a compiler that can automatically port any program to run on any hardware.

      So…you insert your Xbox 360 disc as proof of ownership then the systems downloads the converted Xbox one files to your hdd and you are off to the races.

      Why don’t Sony do it? First this new compiler (info at latest Xbox shareholder event) is a work of coding genius. It’s a first of its kind. And since its patented nobody can use if without spending big $$$$. It’s original intent was to allow porting a code base from windows to iOS to any OS without a dev having go modify any code… At all. It’s the first of its kind and its yours coding magic.

      Again…believe what you want. No reason to fight about it. Your argument won’t change what I know as fact.

      Background. I worked in the industry as press for 5 years on some major sites before moving to Atari as a developer of engine technology…which I left quickly before moving onto Microsoft non Xbox division.

      I can’t go deep because I have no interest in being fired. On a side note Microsoft offered Sony this technology for a 10% cut in game sales but they were turned down due to ps now.

    • Asmodai

      I’m not trying to change your mind, I really don’t care what you believe. I’m simply refuting your unsubstantiated claims with actual source backed facts. Personally I choose to believe Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, in what he stated in the link I provided to back up my statements and as reported by multiple gaming sites. If others reading it choose to believe your claims more power to them.

      Maybe you are in the industry and know what you’re talking about. Maybe Phil Spencer lied or obfuscated the facts for some reason. Maybe you’re a 12 year old kid.
      Maybe I’m in the industry.
      Maybe I’m a 12 year old kid.
      It doesn’t matter because I’m not asking anyone to believe me, I’m reported facts, backed up by a source link and reported by multiple respected websites. You’re asking people just to trust the word of d0x386 in an internet comments section that directly contradicts published statements by Phil Spencer. I know who I’m going to go with but others reading this are free to decide for themselves.

    • d0x360

      You can refute all day long. I work with both console dev kits so I kinda know how they work. That’s not an insult its just a fact.

      So live in denial if you want its no skin off my back.

    • Asmodai

      Oh, I don’t take it as an insult. You’re not refuting my claims your refuting the statements of Phil Spensor, I’m just the messenger.

      Wait, maybe I am Phil Spensor. I mean this is an internet comments section so anyone can claim to be anyone. Maybe I work for MS and personally designed the backwards compatibility feature. If you don’t believe me that’s fine, you can live in denial if you want its no skin off my back.

      Again my statements don’t require people to believe me or any of my claims of who I am. They can click the link I provided, read the article and watch the video of Phil Spencer themselves.

    • d0x360

      FYI Spencer didn’t like. He used the term backwards compatible as a catch up simple to understand term. He never once implies how the technology actually works. But to each their own.

    • Asmodai

      Did you even look at the source material I provided?

      “The approach that we’ve taken is to actually emulate the full Xbox 360
      hardware layer. So the [operating system] for the 360 is actually
      running when you run the game,” Spencer explained.

      He CLEARLY says they emulate the hardware layer. He goes on into more specifics but that’s enough to refute your BS claim that he never once implies how it works. He doesn’t just IMPLY it, he OUTRIGHT says it. But yeah, maybe he misspoke… repeatedly… again people are free to decide for themselves if they believe Phil Spencer or d0x360.

    • d0x360

      sigh. they emulate the 360 hypervisor for boot to allow then to in turn emulate the 360 cloud save feaure. the game itsellf runs native but what would i know I only worked on a team that had a game porrted ro run native on x1 functiion calls.

      as much as i love talking in circles…fact is i have first hand, hands on experience with whats goin on here. so post all you want. it wont change the fact that im write,

      games themselves are recompiled to run native, basic proof of such is downlolading the entire game. if you want go ahead and boot into linux and browse the files the xbox downloaded. all xbox one executables.

      take care

    • Kinect

      d0x360 is a Microsoft drone. Just let him go full r_tard.

    • Matt Rundle

      That’s funny because i’m friends with someone who used to work for Sony and he worked with other people and repaired the PS3 consoles got to take them apart and stuff and he said that it’s not impossible for them to do it.

    • Asmodai

      Oh well then what was I thinking!!! I mean here I am believing actual published information and providing links to back up my statements. Instead I should just believe some random guy on the internet who says they’re friends with someone who used to work at Sony… or better yet fixed hardware (as if repairing hardware makes you an expert on it’s performance capabilities). I mean no one on the internet ever lies about who they are or know so that’s far more credible than posting silly links to actual information like I did. I’m not asking anyone to believe me personally. I’m presenting actual published information and people can believe it or not as they like. You’re just saying you got second hand information from an unverified source and we should what, just trust you? Hey if people want to do that more power to them.

      If that’s where we’re going though maybe I’m Mark Cerny. I personally designed the PS4. I fired your friends who USED TO work at Sony. Oh yeah, and I might be your dad.

    • Matt Rundle

      Nope he worked at 1 of the factories supplying parts Sony go to them for parts cant remember which 1 but he said they would get consoles come in all the time and they’d fix them depending on the Fault.

      Ok you backed up your statement apart from me not being able to prove, have Sony actually proved that they can never do it? No they just stated they can’t but most of you just believe it.

      He worked on Ps2 and Ps3 but then yeah they got made redundant. But they work their backsides off more than Sony do as a company.

      Taught how to repair any fault.
      And btw I cant be bothered to post fake stuff over the Internet I don’t need the hassle and I’m not like that. But untill you try to trust
      anyone a little you’re never to going to know.

    • Asmodai

      I don’t blindly trust anyone in a comments section of a website. Hey maybe that does make me strange. I do trust actual reputable news sites and such. If someone says something that seem plausible but doesn’t back it up I may even research it and look for a credible source to verify it.

      Let me break down the logic of my argument for you:

      1.) You can’t emulate device A on device B if device A is more powerful than B. – FACT
      2.) While the PS4 CPU may outperform the PS3 CPU in many cases it is true that there are game related instances where the Cell processor outperforms the PS4 (specifically when all 7 SPEs are being fully utilized). – Now I don’t expect you to just trust me on that, so I provided a link to a Game Developers Conference by Ubisoft that demonstrates the PS3 outperforming the PS4 in a game related benchmark as evidence.
      3.) Given 1) and 2) the PS4 CPU can’t emulate the PS3 CPU.

      The Xbox 360 CPU in comparison has a comparatively simple 3 core CPU architecture that can be emulated on the much faster 6+ core Xbox One CPU despite different instruction sets.

    • Peter Korman

      Couldn’t a physical add-on serving as the processor work?

  • timothytripp

    Sony won’t do backwards compatibility because it would hurt sales of PSNow and more importantly would keep people from buying PS4 games. I have no problem with this now that there are so many great PS4 games, although at first it was annoying when there weren’t enough games. At this point I don’t really want backwards compatibility I want remakes like The Last of Us – it was a phenomenal game on PS3 and even better on PS4. Other games like God of War 3 didn’t remaster quite as well because the game mechanics themselves were last gen (or after playing that, I’d even venture to say from the PS2 gen gameplay) so it just won’t work on every game. What I’d prefer developers focus on is taking games that already had PC ports with high-end textures and character models that were too much for PS2 to port those PC resources to PS4. Bioshock Infinite and Skyrim and great examples of games that could look way better on PS4 than PS3 but wouldn’t require all new graphic resource work because the high-end versions already exist for PC.

    • Kinect

      Never go full r_tard.

    • Matt Rundle

      They are hurting sales all by themselves i mean just because they want to invest their money into remaking games and expecting people to pay to get that money back plus the rest, that doesn’t mean everyone wants to or is interested in doing so.

      A new console is meant to be designed to run new games preferably new ideas, and we deserve to get what we pay for, we pay for newer Hardware so we should expect things that are going to use it properly with backwards compatibility thrown in as a extra feature no a charged service, where you have to pay and things can go wrong atleast with Backwards compatiblity built into the console the component inside has to go wrong.

      There’s no reason why they can’t but their argument will be “well tough we have Playstation now, pay for it, don’t pay for it! we see no reason to make it free because we have plenty of our fans who are happy to pay it! and that’s exactly what’s going on.

      They aren’t going to lose any more money than what they have already got.

      It just means that if they make it compatible with a PS3 game such as the last of us you just won’t have to buy the remake as well, BC means Sony don’t have to have remakes and so focus on improving their ideas and push themselves.

      Paying online and getting dsome extra content now and then is one thing but from the way Playstation and Xbox go down especially Xbox and then expecting you to pay for the poor stability over their end is a piss take.

    • Matt Rundle

      the last bit i meant Playstation online is less stable.

    • timothytripp

      Generally I agree, and games like Batman Arkham Knight and The Witcher 3 would not have been anywhere near as good if they were held back by last-gen hardware. There are certain games, though, like Bioshock Infinite and Skyrim which had really big environments but were hindered in resolution and texture quality by last-gen limits. Those games (especially Bioshock Infinite) were really hurt by the limitations and the graphics suffered for them. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t be making games like Drake 4, Halo 5, Starwars Battlefront, etc. I actually think that the vanguard developers (like Naughty Dog, 343 Studios, etc.) should only be doing these but I also think there’s room to have 2nd string development houses porting high resolution PC games that wouldn’t have been possible on last-gen systems to next-gen systems, simply because the story, levels, textures, voice, and in most cases the 3D engine, already exist. Not saying that such a port is easy, it’s just always going to be easier to remaster than to create a new game because the resources already exist. Essentially I see what we’re calling “remasters” as not a port up from last-gen to next-gen but as a PC port to next-gen, meaning that games I wanted to play at PC-quality 3-5 years ago but didn’t have the rig for, I now can play. Someone who played a game on PS3 or XB360 might not want to play it again with better graphics, but someone who NEVER played something like Skyrim shouldn’t have to choose between playing it on last-gen hardware (emulated or physical) and PC, when a great port could be made to next-gen systems. Could a game like Skyrim compete with The Witcher 3? Yes, I think so, especially if they incorporated a few of the great graphics mods out there for it. Other games like Fallout 3 might not make as much sense to remaster because Fallout 4 seems to build on it in every way (IOW it’s unlikely someone would stop playing Fallout 4 to go play Fallout 3). It’s really game-by-game whether it makes sense.

      On a side-note though, what Microsoft is doing with backwards compatibility is genius – buying Fallout 4 and getting backwards-compatible Fallout 3 for free, Buying Gears Unlimited and getting all the other Gears games via backwards-compatible support – they’re really bringing something to the table Sony doesn’t have a counter move for, and that’s exactly what MS needs to be doing to catch up here. Halo will always sell systems for them but that’s still a one-trick pony.

  • Gene

    “makes the games even better”. And we make more money charging you for games you already own. God of War remaster, 0 bugs fixed the only thing they did was bump resolution.

  • d0x360

    Ahh i see. It’s hard so we won’t do it…sure Sony. More like we want to make money with ps now. Unfortunately for Sony nobody cares about ps now because compared to actually playing a game locally its a bad experience. PS now is a failed service and the fact that Sony hasn’t released a single bragging number is all the proof anyone needs.

  • justerthought

    I think Sony have wasted precious network resources with their flawed PS Now vision. It’s a really bad idea to lower the quality of games by linking them to your ISP bandwidth and latency. MS are offering higher quality because their backwards compatibility solution downloads the actual games to your console and you play them in full quality with your ISP performance not affecting them.

    I don’t like Sony’s current obsession with streaming games, TV and music. It’s a greedy method to monetize content and offers gimped quality without a budget price tag. But even if it was cheap, we are not investing in PS4 for cheap low quality bargains. We have adopted it because it is a premium quality device. Streaming is not premium quality because most gamers are limited by their ISP.

    PS Now will fail once gamers realise what it is offering. PS4 is a very high quality console and Sony have allowed that quality to be diluted by this obsession with streaming.

    Sony should have ploughed all the money from the PSN Plus subscriptions into making improving services that support communication and multiplayer gaming to increase reliability and add extra features. Stability and high quality is what brings new customers and makes them buy games. PS Now and all the other streaming solutions are not going to win any new customers or foster loyalty with the customers they already have.

    I’m really frustrated by such a wasted opportunity.

    • Kinect

      Never go full r_tard

  • Michael

    In other words, why would we give you something free when we can make money off of it.

    • Kinect


      In other words, the PS3 can’t be emulated so we’re focusing our resources on new games, not a half-@ssed backwards compatibility like Microsoft desperately did.

      How would Sony make money off neglecting backwards compatibility? That doesn’t make sense. If anything, they would get more sales from allowing backwards compatibility.

    • Wolf-man

      Apparently not because they have said that PS2 backwards compatibility on PS3 did not help boost sales.
      Also, PS3 may not be able to play on PS4 but that doesn’t explain why they can’t allow the PS4 to play PS1 and PS2 games.

    • *Also On PC

      So in other words. Why would we give you something free when we can sell “Remasters” to willing shills who will buy basic uprezzes like Modirage

      Console plebs.

  • 2econd gpu unlocking

    Sony fans praise the idea of hiring their own games again.

  • Hopefully Sony finds some majorly redeeming factors, since they won’t have backwards compatibility.

  • Efrt

    1 reason. Sony corporate want $$$$$$$$$$$

  • kamilz

    Isn’t remake definitely better then emulation of an existing game ?

  • Nick Kariunas

    With the advancements in cell- technology, I don’t understand why Sony can’t develop a backwards- compatible PS4 that’s offered for a moderate price. Out of principle, i’m never going to buy GTA V for the PS4.

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