PS5: How To Play And Upgrade Your PS4 Games

PS5: How To Play And Upgrade Your PS4 Games
Image: Sony

That brand new Sony console doesn’t just play next-gen PlayStation games, thankfully. Here’s the lowdown on how to run PS4 games on the PS5.

If you were lucky enough to snag an elusive PS5 consoles at launch, and you already made your way through the next-gen launch games you were wanting to play, you may find yourself sitting around for a few months waiting for the Next Big Game. Surprise! It’s the new console slump, a phenomenon that’s existed for as long as console hype.

Thankfully, the PS5 offers backward compatibility with PS4 games, which expands your options with over 4000 different titles. So, if you already own a PS4 and want to play games you already own, or you’re a PlayStation newcomer and looking to dive into the gems you missed, you can do all that on your PS5 in a handful of different ways.

There are benefits to doing so, too. Playing certain PS4 games on your PS5 means they’ll take advantage of the PS5’s ‘Game Boost’ functionality, which lets the games run with a higher or more consistent framerate. Most games will also take advantage of the PS5’s ability for faster loading times, thanks to its internal solid-state hard drive.

There are a couple of caveats -- the official PlayStation support guide on backward compatibility states that a handful of PS4 games may have some features and functionality that won’t be available on the PS5. This includes things like using smartphone companion apps.

Notably, since PS VR games naturally require the use of a PS VR headset, you’ll need to order a PlayStation Camera adaptor from Sony if you haven’t already done so (don’t worry, it’s free).

How To Play Physical PS4 Games On PS5

ps5 review
Image: Kotaku Australia

Remember when COVID-19 wasn’t a thing, and you’d casually wander into your local store to pick out a video game from the shelf? Well, all those PS4 discs you have in your collection can easily be played on the PS5.

All you need to do is pop the game disc into the PS5’s disc drive, download any required updates, and launch it from the dashboard.

Naturally, you can’t play physical games on the Digital Edition of the PlayStation 5 because, well, you know. It has no disc drive.

How To Play Digital PS4 Games On PS5

If you’ve previously owned a PS4, chances are that you’ve downloaded a game from the PlayStation Store at some point--it’s as simple as navigating to the store on the console dashboard, hooking up your credit card and purchasing the game if necessary, and hitting the download button to put it on your console. The same process applies for downloading PS4 games onto the PS5 -- this is the same store you access on the PS4 console.

Now, if you need to be careful with your ISP’s download quota, you’ll be pleased to hear that you can transfer digital games from a PS4 console to a PS5 console over Wi-Fi or an ethernet link. Simply navigate to the transfer option in the settings menu, and follow the step-by-step process.

If you happened to have your digital games stored on an external USB hard drive, you’ll be even more pleased to hear that you can just plug that thing right into the PS5 via its front or rear USB slots, and either access the games directly or transfer them onto the internal SSD.

How To Upgrade Your PS4 Games To PS5 Versions

Image: God of War

The thing with the launch of a new console is that there are always going to games caught in the transition -- games released around November that have a PS4 and PS5 version available. Thankfully, the third-party publishers these games typically offer an upgrade path for those that own the PS4 version.

The process usually goes like this: If you have a physical copy, insert your disc and proceed to the PlayStation Store, where you’ll be allowed to download the discrete PS5 version of that game for free. You’ll need to keep the disc inserted in order to play it, however.

If you own the digital version of a PS4 game, you’ll already have access to the PS5 version of that game on the store. Likewise, if you decide to purchase the digital version of a PS5 game, you’ll likely get access to the PS4 version, too.

Here’s the catch: Some publishers will require you to purchase specific, most costly versions of the game in order to access the PS5 version, like in the case of Control or NBA 2K21.

PS4 Games With Free PS5 Upgrades

ps5 ps4 games
Image: Bugsnax
  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  • Atelier Ryza 2
  • Borderlands 3
  • Bugsnax
  • Control (Ultimate Edition Only)
  • Cyberpunk 2077 
  • Dead by Daylight
  • Destiny 2
  • DIRT 5
  • DOOM Eternal
  • FIFA 21
  • For Honor
  • Ghostrunner
  • Guilty Gear Strive (Coming 2021)
  • Hitman 3 (Digital Version Only)
  • Horizon Forbidden West
  • Immortals Fenyx Rising\
  • Kena: Bridge Of Spirits
  • Little Nightmares 2
  • Madden NFL 21
  • Maneater
  • Marvel’s Avengers
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  • Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom
  • Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate
  • NBA 2K21 (Mamba Forever Edition Only)
  • No Man’s sky
  • Outriders
  • The Pathless
  • Planet Coaster: Console Edition
  • Praey For The Gods
  • Rider’s Republic (Coming 2021)
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
  • The Elder Scrolls Online
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Watch Dogs: Legion
  • WRC 9
  • Yakuza: Like A Dragon (Digital Version Only)

PlayStation Plus Collection

ps5 ps4 games
Image: Sony

If you’re a subscriber to PlayStation Plus, the service that lets you access online multiplayer on PlayStation consoles, then you’ll have access to the PlayStation Plus Collection on the PS5, which features a fantastic collection of first- and third-party games at no extra cost. These games will all take advantage of the PS5’s Game Boost mode, which optimises their performance. PlayStation Plus costs $11.95 AUD one month, $33.95 AUD for three months, and $79.95 AUD for 12 months.

What Games Are In The PlayStation Plus Collection?

  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Battlefield 1
  • Bloodborne
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops III – Zombies Chronicles Edition
  • Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
  • Days Gone
  • Detroit: Become Human
  • Fallout 4
  • Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition
  • God of War
  • Infamous Second Son
  • Monster Hunter: World
  • Mortal Kombat X
  • Persona 5
  • Ratchet and Clank 
  • Resident Evil 7 biohazard
  • The Last Guardian
  • The Last of Us Remastered
  • Until Dawn
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

PS4 Games That Don’t Work On PS5

Sony states that an “overwhelming majority” of PS4 games will work on the new console, and only a handful of titles are on the exclusionary list. Here are the PS4 games that won’t work on the PS5 at of November 2020:

  • Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma (Volume One)
  • DWVR (PS VR)
  • Hitman Go: Definitive Edition
  • Joe's Diner
  • Just Deal With It!
  • Robinson: The Journey (PS VR)
  • Shadow Complex Remastered
  • Shadwen
  • TT Isle of Man - Ride on the Edge 2
  • We Sing

Edmond Tran is a long-time video games journalist and the former Australian editor of GameSpot.

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