What’s the deal with PS4 backwards compatibility?
Playing PS3 games on a PS4 isn't as simple as popping in the disc and grabbing your controller. That doesn't mean your favourite PS3 games are gone for good, though.
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Buying a new console is exciting. More than just the fancier graphics and the bucketload of extra features, there's this sense of infinite potential when you boot up a brand new system for the first time, a promise that you're about to experience things you could never even have imagined before.
Unfortunately, this potential often comes at a price, and new technology doesn't always care for what it leaves behind in order to move forward. In this current generation of consoles, we've seen this happen with the loss of backwards compatibility in favour of pursuing faster and more powerful hardware. Both the Xbox One and the PS4 launched without the ability to play games from the consoles that came before them, forcing gamers to hold onto their old systems if they wanted to keep playing the games they already owned.
A lot of people were understandably upset about this, prompting Microsoft to spend nearly two years developing an emulator that would allow Xbox One owners to play Xbox 360 games on their new consoles. Hundreds of titles are already compatible with this service, and Microsoft continues to add more to the library on a regular basis.
The PlayStation 4, on the other hand, remains stubbornly backwards-incompatible. Jim Ryan, Sony's global sales chief, recently commented on this issue in an interview with TIME magazine. Ryan questioned why anybody would want to go back and play games from previous generations at all, claiming that "it is one of those features that is much requested, but not actually used much."
To be fair, Ryan's attitude makes sense given that the PS4's predecessor, the PS3, was designed around Sony's notoriously-complex Cell processor. Custom-built for the PS3, the Cell processor is unlike any other CPU on the market, and game developers had to endure a steep learning curve in order to make games for it. Thankfully, Sony switched to the more common x86 CPU architecture for the PS4, but in doing so it made the task of emulating the PS3 on it significantly tougher than the challenge Microsoft faced emulating the Xbox 360. In practical terms, it's highly unlikely that we'll ever be able to simply pop a PS3 disc into a PS4 and have it work.
PlayStation Now: A different kind of backwards compatibility
To get around this problem, Sony has looked to the sky and found a solution in the cloud. Cloud computing, that is. Rather than trying to emulate the PS3 hardware natively on the PS4, Sony's PlayStation Now service streams PS3 games over the Internet from custom-built PS3 servers installed in data centres across the world. These servers are effectively super-powered PS3s, but instead of hooking up to a regular TV, they stream the gameplay over the Internet to the PS4s and PCs of PlayStation Now subscribers.
As neat as it sounds, there are two big catches with PlayStation Now. The first catch is that it needs to stream HD video at a speed fast enough to hide the delay between player input and the action on screen. As a result, the streaming service requires a stable Internet connection of 5Mbps or more. Any time your Internet goes below that, you're going to notice massive hiccups and interruptions in gameplay. Worse, if your connection drops at any point, you'll be booted from your game completely and you'll lose any progress since your last save.
The bigger problem for Aussies, though, is that PlayStation Now isn't even available here in Australia yet. There's no indication of when, or even if, we'll get it in the future, either. Back in 2014, Sony Computer Entertainment managing director Michael Ephraim told the Australian Financial Review that Australia's poor broadband speeds and the cost of setting up the expensive PS3 servers were holding the service back from Down Under. It seems that's still the case, considering we haven't heard a peep about an Australian version of PlayStation Now in the years since.
What options do Aussies have?
Thankfully, you're not completely out of luck if you're looking to play PS3 games on your PS4. Sony, along with many other video game publishers, is using the demand for backwards compatibility as an opportunity to remake and remaster select PS3 games for the PS4. While some of these re-releases are straight-up 1:1 re-creations running at a slightly higher resolution, others feature complete graphical overhauls and even add in some new content, too. Best of all, these remasters are typically released at a lower price than a typical new game.
Curious as to whether your favourite PS3 game has received the remastered treatment? You're in luck because we've compiled a list of all the PS3 remasters for the PS4 right here:
|Title||PS3 Game(s) Included||Buy it from|
|Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection||Ozgameshop|
|Baja: Edge of Control HD||Mighty Ape|
|Batman: Return to Arkham||Ozgameshop|
|BioShock: The Collection||Ozgameshop|
|Borderlands: The Handsome Collection||Ozgameshop|
|Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition||Ozgameshop|
|CastleStorm: Definitive Edition||PlayStation Store|
|Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin||Ozgameshop|
|Darksiders: Warmastered Edition||Ozgameshop|
|Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition||Ozgameshop|
|Dead Island Definitive Edition||Play-Asia|
|Dead Rising 2||Ozgameshop|
|Deadlight: Director's Cut||Ozgameshop|
|Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition||PlayStation Store|
|Diablo III: Ultimate Edition||Ozgameshop|
|Dishonored: Definitive Edition||Ozgameshop|
|DmC: Devil May Cry Definitive Edition||Ozgameshop|
|God of War III Remastered||Play-Asia|
|Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition||Ozgameshop|
|LEGO Harry Potter Collection||Ozgameshop|
|Metro Redux||Mighty Ape|
|Payday 2: Crimewave Edition||Ozgameshop|
|Prototype Biohazard Bundle||Play-Asia|
|Ratchet and Clank||Ozgameshop|
|Resident Evil 5||Ozgameshop|
|Resident Evil 6||Ozgameshop|
|Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition||Ozgameshop|
|Quantic Dream Collection||Ozgameshop|
|Saints Row IV: Re-elected||Ozgameshop|
|The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Special Edition||Ozgameshop|
|The Last of Us Remastered||Ozgameshop|
|Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition||Ozgameshop|
|Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection||Ozgameshop|
|Valkyria Chronicles Remastered||Ozgameshop|
|Wipeout Omega Collection||Ozgameshop|
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