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PS5 and Backwards Compatibility – A Preview of Sony’s Games Streaming Service?


The next-gen is finally shaping up when it comes to Microsoft and Sony’s future consoles.

What features each will have and who is on board already is the topic of endless discussion on the internet, but one thing that many people aren’t really delving into is how much this next console generation will be an inflection point for the industry.

We have the convergence of many trends that are reaching their zenith at or around the time Microsoft and Sony’s next systems will be released. That’s why we think it is totally interesting that Sony is already starting to show signs of what it plans for the PS5.

And, needless to say, they are bold, transformative, and somewhat radical.

PS5 to include games-as-a-service model?

The first thing we think that Sony is going to go hard with is the games-as-a-service model for releases. This means that there will be tons of single-player and multiplayer experiences buoyed by perpetual content drips. But outside of that, and perhaps more importantly, is that Sony is pursuing an aggressive backwards compatibility strategy.

Why, you might ask?

We think that Sony is going to include much of the PlayStation’s oeuvre over four systems – and possibly even including PSP, Vita, and other retro consoles as well – into a massive streaming service for games. That means that the PS5 console will be a media box par excellence and, combined with next-gen graphics comparable to none and VR capabilities that truly push that platform, and you have a transformative machine in the PS5.

To be sure, Microsoft has detailed vaguely similar plans but lacks on the VR angle and the sheer volume of content Sony has in the offing. It won’t only combine games streaming but possibly other things as well such as music and live television. Basically, the PS5 is going to be so much more than a console and it will put serious pressure on competitors like Nintendo which has really tried to stick with the traditional route as much as possible.

Is it inevitable that Sony goes this way?

The answer is a definite “Yes” and the reason for that is the value proposition that the PS5 must offer over its competition and the previous generation. PS4 is wildly successful and has some of the best games we’ve seen in decades. The PS5’s incorporation of advanced backwards compatibility means that this success need not be sacrificed.

Huge library to give PS5 the edge?

And, armed with a huge library of games on a streaming service, the PS5 can capture budget-minded gamers on day one as well. Imagine having access to hundreds of games, all for one subscription price, plus the ability to play PS4 games and upcoming PS5 games. It doesn’t stop there, though, as backwards compatibility could even include the successful PSVR console add-on. That would be a huge boost for PSVR fans and people who are curious about the medium.

Basically, we expect that the PS5 will be a complete game changer for Sony and the industry at large, finally bringing together many of the promises we’ve heard a lot of talk about over the past decade but no seamless integration yet.