The PlayStation 5 will play an "overwhelming majority" of PS4's 4,000-plus games. Further, PS4 games will run at a boosted frequency when running on a PS5. However, it's looking like PS3, PS2, and PS1 games will not be included in the PlayStation 5's backwards compatibly support, which runs at odds with what the Xbox Series X is doing. The Xbox Series X will not play every single Xbox One game. However, it will play most Xbox 360 games and many original Xbox games. For awhile, rumors suggested the PS5 was looking to match this with PS3, PS2, and PS1 support, and while this could still happen, it's looking unlikely. Not only has Sony said nothing on this front on the multiple occasions it's talked about backward compatibility, but now reports are coming in adding to this worrying silence.
According to Kotaku's Jason Schreier -- one of the most trusted sources in the business -- he's spoken with a few people in the know about the PS1-PS3 rumors, and while no one could outright confirm they aren't true, many laughed off the idea.
"I’ve asked a few folks in the know about the PS1-PS3 rumors and while nobody could guarantee they weren’t true (most people aren’t briefed on every single detail of the console), they did all laugh at the idea," said the journalist on Twitter. "Seems like nonsense to me."
Of course, this report should be taken with a grain of salt. Not only is it unofficial and subject to change, but even Scherier admits his sources could possibly not have been briefed on the situation.
Given the PS3's unique architecture, the PS5 running PS3 games always seemed unlikely, unless Sony was going to stuff an emulator in the machine. However, PS3 games is a big selling point for PlayStation Now, so why would Sony want to eliminate this selling point by letting users play PS3 games on PS5? However, PS2 and PS1 games did seem like a real possibility, and it will be disappointing if Sony once again takes a pass on properly supporting its legacy consoles.
The PlayStation 5 is set to release worldwide sometime later this year. While we don't know if it will play PS3, PS2, or PS1 games, we do have a growing list of confirmed PS5 games.