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October 2019 Retro Gaming Article


October 9, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

After learning it's backward compatible with PS4 games, the PlayStation 5 has many other great features

PlayStation 5 development console
Nintendo has been the king of backwards compatibility in an era when the others shunned it. Glad to see PS4 compatibility onboard.
Not long ago, a PS5 console picture was "leaked" and people flipped over it's crazy "U" shape. Rumors swirled around until it was revealed this odd device was a development console, already in the hands of some developers. This doesn't mean the actual retail version of the PS5 will look like this, but it certainly got the conversation started.

To no one's surprise Sony officially stated their console, arriving with Santa next year, will indeed be called the PlayStation 5. As one might expect, the controller looks very similar to past controllers, but this one uses a USB Type-C connector. It also has additional programable features, like adaptive triggers which allow varying degrees of resistance. They relate this to shooting a bow and arrow, where the bow's tension is felt when pulling the arrow back.

Raise your hand if you would love PS2 compatibility in the PlayStation 5!
I bought the original Playstation on launch day, but waited years on subsequent releases. Each new console lacked the ability to play prior system games and didn't feel the graphic improvements warranted immediate purchase. The drawback is that the new systems are launched before I feel ready to move ahead.

An interesting feature to the PS5 is ray-tracing. This allows for much more complex lighting and sound within a 3D environment. Sony has made a point of stating this feature is achieved via the GPU's hardware. Many feared it would be a software level addition that wouldn't amount to much. IN theory, this should make games much more realistic and vibrant.

Finally game consoles make the move to SSD hard drives. The access time for these solid state drives is much lower than traditional drives.But this makes them quicker in more ways than one. From a programming standpoint, there has been a lot of duplication of elements to form data-blocks that can be accessed faster. However, the toll is having multiple instances of the same thing. For example some assets in the Spiderman game are duplicated up to 400 times!

So the SSD drive saves time and space. There's even talk of allowing gamers to choose which elements of a game to install. Non interested in multi-player - don't install it. Sounds cool.

The user interface has always been a bare-bones affair. That sounds like another area of improvement on the PS5. I haven't seen any hint of this, but many are saying it is a much more robust display going forward. My only enhancement to the UI was a holiday sweater background that plays a Christmas song.

Backwards Compatibility

All the new stuff sounds grand, but my primary interest is in the PlayStation 5's backward compatibility. Good news. It's got some. The PS5 wil play PS4 and PSVR games, however, it will not go any farther back. You'll still need your old consoles to play any games prior to the PS4.

While this is good news, I often wonder if Sony is aware how much passion still exists for it's PS2 game library. If the PS5 went back to the beginning with backward compatibility, I'd buy one on Day One for sure! As is my customary habit... I may not need one until 2023 or thereabouts.

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