A newly updated patent registered by PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 architect Mark Cerny currently has hopeful fans in a bit of a frenzy. Basically, it's a backwards compatibility patent — a way for PlayStation consoles to play games from previous generations, meant for older hardware. It was very recently re-registered on the 6th January 2022, and is now doing the rounds on Twitter. Needless to say, the timing has everyone thinking that it has something to do with the heavily rumoured PS Plus overhaul, which could, supposedly, include a premium tier that gives subscribers access to PS1, PS2, and PS3 titles on PS5.
But after reading through the patent ourselves, it all seems like a bit of a reach. That's not to say Sony isn't working on additional backwards combability for PS5, but we're not sure that this patent is proof. As mentioned, the patent was re-registered — it's not new, just updated. It was originally filed in 2015, before the launch of the PS4 Pro, detailing the way that PS4 games could run better on Sony's more powerful system. Likewise, it describes the kind of backwards compatibility that the PS5 is already capable of — namely its ability to play PS4 titles.
There's nothing here that explicitly suggests that Sony has found a new way to run PS1, PS2, or PS3 games on PS5. What's more, we've written about patents just like this one before. In 2019, Sony filed a similar patent that also caused a stir over backwards compatibility. It happened again just three weeks later.
Now, we don't want to rain on the parade. The timing of this patent is interesting, given that the aforementioned new and improved PS Plus is rumoured to be revealed in early 2022. But again, based on the patent alone, it's difficult to see how it could be taken as proof that full backwards compatibility is happening. The most boring (and likely) explanation is that Sony has simply amended or updated this patent — as it has done every two years or so since 2015.
With that in mind, we'd probably advise against getting your hopes up — at least for the time being.