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PS3 games on PS4? Don't bet the farm on it

Having old games play on new consoles is a big benefit for gamers. Microsoft's new Xbox will do it later this year, but Sony's PS4 likely won't.

The PS4 got one-upped this week, with rival console Xbox One soon able to play older titles. CNET

Microsoft this week revealed that many games from its old Xbox 360 console will be playable on its newer Xbox One later this year. But, don't expect rival Sony to follow suit with a similar announcement anytime soon.

This idea of "backward compatibility," in which gamers can play older titles on a new gaming system, is a big benefit for players, since it means all their favorite games from years past aren't made obsolete when they trade in their old console for a new version. This feature can also help gamers save money, too, because they don't have to repurchase old titles that work on the new machine.

Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox at Microsoft, said at the E3 gaming conference this week that backward compatibility was one of the most requested features for Xbox owners.

Yet, even after Microsoft pulled off that feat for its Xbox One, Sony seems unlikely to do the same for its PlayStation 3 and newer PlayStation 4, according to an interview Eurogamer published Friday with Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios.

"I didn't think it was possible. There must be lots of engineering effort," Yoshida told Eurogamer about the Xbox backward compatibility.

"It's going to be super challenging to do so," Yoshida said of the PS4 doing the same thing. "I never say never, but we have no plans."

Granted, players could use PlayStation Now, a streaming video-game service, to play older titles, though that would come with an added cost. A one-month rental on PlayStation Now costs $20, while a three-month rental costs $15 each month. Individual titles can also be rented without a subscription.

Here's how backward compatibility works on the new Xbox: If you previously bought an Xbox 360 game from the Xbox Marketplace, you will be able to download it to the Xbox One and play it on that machine. Users who bought games on discs can also take advantage of this feature by putting in the disc to the Xbox One and downloading the game to your system.

You can view a complete list of compatible Xbox 360 games here.