Why Sony’s Decision to Support “Older Generation” Systems is Good… For Now

When Sony launched the PlayStation 5, it looked like Sony was ready to end production on the PlayStation 4. It had a very good run but it should have been time to say goodbye to the “old” system. After all, Sony has been supporting it for almost a decade. That’s ancient for any company to be supporting a piece of technology. I would’ve understand if Sony went “out with the old, in with the new” or something along those lines.

Yet, here we are, about to usher in a new year and there are still a plethora of games that are coming out on this old piece of hardware. What’s even more amazing is how many of the same games are coming out on both the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4. Games like Horizon II: Forbidden West, Elden Ring and God of War: Ragnarok are coming out on both systems with not a real hit on performance for the most part.

There is a rather vocal audience that are saying that allowing games to be cross-platform is hurting how games can progress. Their thoughts generally revolve around the idea that, since developers have to ensure their games work on both of Sony’s old and current consoles, they have to keep the PlayStation 4 in mind instead of just focusing on what they can do with the more advanced PlayStation 5. It’s kind of like a convoy of different cars; you may have a super fast BMW but you gotta make sure you only go on a speed that’ll allow that old, beat up Volkwagen Beetle being driven by an octogenarian keep you in sight. Okay, a little overdramatic but it’s the same sentiment.

While I kind of get the concept that it does seem to be preventing developers to make truly next-gen games, I’m personally glad a lot of developers are creating cross-gen games which can run on both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. One reason is, well, pure selfishness on my part. But the other one is more on a greater worldview on how some games should be made.

Let’s start with my more selfish reason as to why I love cross-gen games. It’s very simple, really: I still don’t own a PlayStation 5. It’s been a couple of years since Sony released the PlayStation 5 and it’s still not available in any stores. I did go out during the holiday season and all of the places I went to tell me the same story: they still don’t have any ready stock available. I have checked online and it does seem like prices for a brand new PlayStation 5 are starting to dip and they look like they are from reputable online sellers so things are looking up. Still, I would rather go to a store and buy one. I’m old-school like that. But you can bet that, once I find a store selling a brand spanking new one, I’ll be snatching one right quick.

But while I am waiting for the stars to align and this happening, I can still play some of the games that are out on the PlayStation 5 on my old PlayStation 4. I’ve actually played Horizon II: Forbidden West already to completion and even reviewed it. I was on the fence regarding getting God of War: Ragnarok for my aging PlayStation 4 and I was planning to wait until I got a PlayStation 4. But, screw it! It’s one of the games I really wanted to play ever since I saw the first trailer! Since I don’t know when I’ll be getting a PlayStation 5, I might as well take the plunge. I just got to make sure all my vents and clean and all that because I know my PlayStation 4’s fan will be working overtime when I do play that game.

I also look on the horizon of what other games will be on both systems and I’m happy that games like Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse, Street Fighter 6, Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon and, most importantly for me, Resident Evil 4 Remake will also be coming out on the PlayStation 4 along with the PlayStation 5 release. These are game I’m really fired up about so I just know I would be extremely bummed if I couldn’t play them just because stores still can’t hold onto their stock of PlayStation 5s long enough for me to buy one.

But the second reason why I’m glad developers are still focusing on cross-gen development is more on how there’s too much focus on the latest technology and not focusing on what could be done on older systems. I’ve already mentioned I’ve played Horizon II: Forbidden West on my PlayStation 4 and I thought it look and played fine. Sure, my PlayStation 4 sounded like a jet engine at times as the console’s cooling system tried as hard as it could to keep things running at an optimal temperature. But I was still able to play it from start to finish, even completing each and every side-quest that was available. I managed to finish the entire game with hardly an issue popping up and, when there was a problem, it was nothing that reloading an old save wouldn’t fix.

If developers can muster the technical know-how to accomplish putting games as technologically advanced as Horizon II: Forbidden West and God of War: Ragnarok, two games that were supposedly meant for the PlayStation 5 only, and get them to work on the PlayStation 4, why not let them? I mean, if the PlayStation 4 can still produce amazing games like these, why force developers to put them on the PlayStation 5 only? Heck, even on a sales perspective, it just makes sense to still produce games on the PlayStation 4. It make be considered old but there are still millions of gamers who still play on that old system. So why not make games for that old console that has a super huge base already? If it still makes you cash, why abandon that market?

Besides, just because some games are cross-gen, that doesn’t mean that all games have to be. I’m rather disappointed that Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth won’t be making it over to the PlayStation 4 anymore. I’m not sure why but maybe it’s just too advanced that the PlayStation 4 would burn out trying to keep up with the game’s graphics. There are also games like Returnal, which takes full advantage of the PlayStation 5’s standard SSD hard drive and memory. I completely understand why it’s impossible for Returnal to run on my old PlayStation 4. That game was made to really showcase a particular feature of Sony’s new console so I can’t really be mad about it.

This is why I’m okay with Sony allowing and maybe even encouraging developers and publishers to put their games on both both their old and current video game consoles for now. Right now, there just isn’t a particular need to really push the next-generation hardware of the PlayStation 5 until games can really fully grasp its full capabilities. When games start to fully embrace what the PlayStation 5 can do and really pump out games that will cause my aging PlayStation 4 to burn out just by trying to run them, then they can make the switch over and retire the last generation console. Bu for now, let’s keep on making games cross-gen as we still haven’t reached that point yet.

What are your thoughts on game developers and publishers making games that work on both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5? Let me know in the comments section below!

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