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New Patent May Show Future PlayStation Backwards Compatibility

File this under speculation for now, but a Sony patent shows a design to play older games on better hardware. The process is a little complicated, but here is the gist of it. It takes old information, such as textures, and replaces them with prettier versions as you play.

“Each asset such as a texture called for by legacy software such as a legacy computer game software has a unique identifier associated with it. The unique identifier can be rendered by imposing a hash on the asset, and then the asset stored with its identifier in a data structure. An artist remasters the textures for presentation on a higher resolution display than envisioned in the original software, and stores them back in the data structure with their identifiers.

The original software is then played on the higher resolution display, with asset (such as texture) calls being intercepted, identified, and the data structure entered to retrieve the remastered asset having a matching identifier. The remastered asset is then inserted on the fly into the game presentation.”

It’s a clever idea, and the patent shows the same process applying to the audio in a game. Every time the game asks for the old version, you pull a switcheroo with the better version.

You can read the patent here, but it may be referring to an existing process, not something new. However, if I can step into opinion territory, I think the PS5 will be fully-compatible with the PS4, and it should add compatibility with prior generations standardly. As a person who knows nothing about software emulation, I still am not sure why we can’t have PS1 and PS2 compatibility already. The only question is overcoming the PS3’s unique hardware requirements, and we can bring the PlayStation family into one console to rule them all.

That would be quite the mic drop for the PS5 reveal if Sony can make it happen.


Jason became terminally addicted to videogames after receiving the NES at an early age. This addiction grew to include PC gaming and was cemented with the launch of the PS2. From then on, he was afflicted with epic RPGs, tense shooters, and deep strategy games, never becoming skillful, but never able to quit. He continues to play games (poorly) and share his passion for them to anyone willing to listen.

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