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Sony patent hints at PlayStation 5 backward compatibility

We might be able to play older games on the next-gen console.

Could the Sony patent hint at the future?
Sarah Tew/CNET

A Sony patent suggests the company is looking to make the PlayStation 5 backward-compatible.

The US Patent and Trademark Office published the patent "Remastering by emulation" on Oct. 2. Sony filed the patent, which was previously published in May, in November 2016 -- suggesting this idea has been around for at least two years.

The 14-page document outlines a process by which textures from old games are remastered "on the fly" for higher-resolution displays, as previously noted by Eurogamer. This could mean games from previous console generations will look slightly improved on HD and 4K displays when played on the PS5.

There's nothing that links the patent directly to the yet-to-be-confirmed PS5. It could refer to backward compatibility on the PS4, according to gaming site VG247.

However, PlayStation boss John Kodera previously hinted that we'll see the PS4 successor in 2021, and some internet sleuths suggested in August that it's going by the internal code name "Erebus."

Sony didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Its main competitor in the console market, Microsoft, offers backward compatibility on Xbox One for both Xbox 360 and the original Xbox -- with an ever-expanding list of playable games.

If you're looking for a retro Sony gaming fix a little sooner, the PlayStation Classic is coming on Dec. 3 and will offer 20 retro games on a mini version of the 1994 console for $100.

We've also gotten hints Sony is preparing to introduce the ability to change your username on PlayStation Network, its online service.

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