A newly updated patent reveals PS5 backwards compatibility could do more than shorten load times for the games you already own. Sony debuted its (currently untitled) next-gen system with a demo of Spider-Man PS4 loading much faster than it does on its current console, which the company attributed to a built-in, specially made solid-state hard drive. According to this patent, developers could choose to push PS4 games even further.
The patent, which is titled "Real-time adjustment of application-specific operating parameters for backwards compatibility", was originally filed in March 2017 and was re-published on May 28, 2019. It's written in patent-ish, a language known for its superficial resemblance to English but set apart from our tongue by its incredible ability to belabor the point.
The patent discusses testing a game or application on old (legacy) hardware then testing it on new hardware, using a variety of benchmarks including framerate to adjust the new hardware's parameters so its performance matches its native system as closely as possible. It's all standard emulation stuff. Then there's the closest thing patent-ish can convey to a twist: "To further optimize, one can adjust the execution of the new hardware to see if the application can be run faster on the new hardware without causing it to fail."
Think of it like Boost Mode on a PS4 Pro, the optional setting that lets you juice up the performance of some games that aren't specifically optimized for the system. This would give developers the option to not just emulate the experience of playing a PS4 game on PS5 but improve on it, increasing things like framerate by letting the game tap into more of PS5's power (if it can handle it while staying stable)..
Deeper changes like boosting resolution or texture quality would go beyond the scope of this patent as they'd likely require changes to the game itself rather than just the (emulated) system it's running on top of, but they're still possible. We already know online multiplayer will stretch across the systems and we'll keep you up to date as we hear more about PS5 backwards compatibility.
Find more to play right now or on your shiny next-gen system with our list of the best PS4 games. Or see what's coming up in games and entertainment this week with our latest Release Radar video.