Can a PS5 Play PS3 and PS4 Games? Yes, Mostly

The PS5 is Sony’s latest gaming console, and it offers an incredible gaming experience you may find hard to beat. Many impressive games are currently available or on the way for this platform, but some users may still want to play older titles. While the PS5 has backward compatibility, how useful is it?

Can a PS5 Play PS3 and PS4 Games? Yes, Mostly

Fortunately, the PS5 can play PS3 and PS4 games without requiring modifications. However, there are some caveats to playing PS3 games. All the details can be found below.

Can a PS5 Play PS3 Games?

The answer is yes and no. The PS5 will not work with PS3 physical discs since the console does not recognize those. However, some titles are available as part of PS Now.

PS Now is a subscription service that lets you get games digitally. The service is compatible with the PS5, so you can run any available PS3 games that the service includes. Make sure the games you want aren’t expired, as some titles don’t last forever on your subscription.

Even if some of these games are available on PS Now, inserting their PS3 discs will not work. It must be a digital copy of the PS3 game that you receive through the PS Now or PS Plus Premium services.

Titles available in this format include:

  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
  • The Last of Us
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  • BioShock
  • Batman: Arkham City
  • Uncharted 2

As PS Now is updated frequently, the list of games will expand. Here’s a link to the latest complete database.

Incredibly, PS Plus Premium even has PS1 and PS2 titles, stretching all the way to the old classics some lifelong gamers grew up playing. While you can download these, there’s no option to do so for PS3 when some PSP games can be played this way.

The only true way a PS5 can play PS3 games is by cloud streaming, similar to Google Stadia. There’s no official explanation for why PS3 games have been singled out, but it’s likely due to costs and the difficulty of emulating PS3 architecture.

In the future, the situation might change, but as of 2022, you can only play PS3 games with a PS Now or PS Plus Premium subscription. The Premium subscription will be released in June 2022, so you’ll need to wait until then.

We also don’t have the complete list of PS Plus Premium games as of now.

Can a PS5 Play PS4 Games?

The answer is yes to most PS4 titles. There are around 4,000 unique titles available on the PS4, and the PS5 should be able to emulate them without an issue. The exceptions are PS4-only titles such as:

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

However, the official PlayStation website reveals that all the above except for Shadwen have disappeared from the latest list. The site also states that this can change and doesn’t include demos and non-game apps.

In the future, it’s possible there will be no discs the PS5 can’t play.

Here’s how you can play a physical PS4 game on your PS5:

  1. Insert the PS4 game disc.
  2. Update the game if prompted.
  3. Run the game.

The disc must be inserted every time you want to play the game. Remember that you can’t insert discs into the PS5 Digital Edition, which doesn’t have a disc drive.

For those who own digital copies, here’s how to install them.

  1. Boot up your PS5.
  2. Go to the “Games” menu.
  3. Pick a game you own.
  4. Download the game if you haven’t done so.
  5. Wait for the game to install.

It’s also possible to transfer games from the PS4 to a PS5. You can choose to do it over Wi-Fi or a USB storage device. The latter is best if you temporarily don’t have access to the internet.

Some PS4 titles were remastered or rereleased for the PS5 with graphical and performance upgrades. If you own the older version, you might be able to convert it to the new version. The game can be either a physical disc or digital version, and you may have to pay a discounted price to download it.

The best part about doing so is that you can easily switch between PS4 and PS5 versions.

What Happens to PS4 Games Running on the PS5?

Some PS4 games will benefit from a boost mode, in which they run much better than on the previous-generation console. It can result in stable or even superior performance. For example, you may be able to experience better display resolutions or framerates for some games. Sony has stated that the effects vary and are decided on a title-by-title basis.

If possible, try to store the games on the PS5’s SSD since that will let games benefit from faster speeds and loading times.

PSVR games are also fully compatible with the PS5 because the console already runs almost all PS4 games. The only requirement is that you need a free PS Camera adaptor to connect your PS4’s camera to the newer console. Unfortunately, the latest PS5 HD Camera is not compatible with the older games.

As with many good things, there will be some downsides. There may be errors when you play PS4 games on a PS5. Some features that were on the older console can also be disabled on the PS5.

Games in the PlayStation Store with these characteristics will have a warning. It states, “When playing on PS5, this game may exhibit errors or unexpected behavior and some features available on PS4 may be absent.” Please try these games at your own risk, though there shouldn’t be any devastating problems with them.

Additional FAQs

Can the PS5 Digital Edition play older generation games?

The PS5 Digital Edition should be able to run many PS4 games or some emulated older-generation games, such as PS2 Classics titles. It requires you to have digital copies since it doesn’t have a disc drive for the physical discs. However, you should be able to play an extensive range of games.

Can you use older controllers on the PS5?

Many official and officially-licensed third-party controllers will work on the PS5. However, they will only work with PS4 games that support them. Older VR controllers are compatible with the PS5 too. The PS5 games will only work with DualSense wireless controllers.

Can I use PS3 discs?

No, you can’t use the PS3 discs on a PS5. Even if you get a PS4 digital game that requires the PS3 disc, it still won’t load. The only game discs the PS5 supports are its own and that of the PS4.

Impressive Backwards Compatibility

The PS5 doesn’t disappoint when it comes to backward compatibility, as being able to enjoy games released more than a decade ago is incredible. While not all PS3 games work with the PS5, the console still supports almost all PS4 titles. You’ll have access to many of your collection’s titles.

What games do you play on the PS5 that are from previous-generation consoles? Do you think Sony can improve backward compatibility? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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