Patents are usually the most boring source of news in the gaming world, as they don’t usually “mean” anything. Tech companies – developers included – oftentimes make a habit out of patenting as many things as possible regardless of what it is, both to foil patent trolls (people who create patents for the sole purpose of suing people who use similar ideas) and because the more patents a company has, the more valuable they are, broadly speaking. So when people see things like, say, Activision getting a patent for a matchmaking system that would encourage people to buy premium in-game products, it doesn’t really mean anything. It won’t mean anything until they decide to use it.
All the same, they are news. Which is why I report to you that Sony has recently patented an interesting new system that, if they plan to use, could allow the future PS5 to be backwards compatible - not just with the PS4, but also with the PS2 and 3.
Which, if you missed it, would be a huge friggin' deal.
The process, coined as “processor ID spoofing”, would trick the legacy software into believing it’s being run on a legacy device. A necessary innovation, as all the anti-piracy stuff they slammed into the PS3 made it really hard to make those games backwards compatible, which was part of the reason why the PS4 never had such functionality.
Now, as I said, there’s a very good chance this means literally nothing. But, it’s not impossible it’s a good sign for the PS5, which many think will either be the last console or the second-to-last console ever made before we transition to full-blown streaming systems. I could see a case where a “definitive” console would want to be fully backwards compatible, but I have to wonder if Sony would actually be willing to do that when it would, in theory, leave a lot of money on the table.
Time will tell. If the next console generation really is coming in 2020, as the rumors suggest, we’ll no doubt hear about them before the end of 2019. Very likely at E3.
And you know Sony would brag about this kind of backwards compatibility.