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How to play PS4 games on PS5

The highly anticipated PS5 is here, and assuming you were able to get your hands on one, you’re likely enjoying it as we speak. While it has a slew of new bells and whistles like faster load times thanks to its SSD, one feature fans are loving is its backward compatibility with PS4 games. That’s right — nearly every single one of your PS4 games will work on PS5, meaning you won’t have to shell out more cash to play the games you already own.

Despite this, it might not be abundantly clear how to actually play PS4 games on PS5, so in this guide, we’ll show you everything you’ll need to know about backward compatibility with Sony’s new system. Here’s how to play PS4 games on PS5.

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PS4 games that are not backward compatible on PS5

Before we get into how to play PS4 games on PS5, you should be aware of which games will actually work. Nearly every one of your PS4 games will work on PS5 with the exception of 10 titles. For whatever reason, the following 10 games are incompatible, so if any of them are ones you still like to play, you should keep your PS4 hooked up for the time being.

  • Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma Volume One
  • DWVR
  • Hitman Go: Definitive Edition
  • Joe’s Diner
  • Just Deal with It!
  • Robinson: The Journey
  • Shadow Complex Remastered
  • Shadwen
  • TT Isle of Man — Ride on the Edge 2
  • We Sing

Physical media

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If you purchased the Standard Edition PS5, you’ll be able to insert a PS4 disc into the system and play it just like you would during the previous generation. The game will install onto the PS5’s hard drive and you’ll be able to play it as long as the disc is in the system. In essence, this process is identical to the way it worked on PS4 and applies to PSVR titles, too. Note that you can only use discs if you have the Standard Edition PS5 — the Digital Edition does not have a disc drive.

Digital media

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Accessing digital PS4 media on your PS5 is only slightly more complicated, but works great when you’ve learned how to navigate the menus on the PS5. Remember, you can play digital PS4 and PS5 games on both versions of the PS5 — the Standard and Digital Editions. Below, we’ll walk you through the many ways to play digital PS4 games on your PS5 system, including how to access your digital library and how to buy PS4 games from the store.

Accessing your digital library

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To access the library of digital games associated with your account, scroll all the way to the right from the PS5’s main screen and select Game Library. This will take you to your entire list of games including PS4, PS5, and PSVR titles you’ve bought on your account. On the left side of the screen is an icon with a downward-facing arrow. This is the Sort and Filter option, so press it to categorize your games. You can filter out just the PS4 games if you’d like.

At the top of this screen, you’ll see other menus like Installed (the games already installed onto your PS5), PlayStation Plus (the games available through PS Plus and the PS Plus Collection), and PS Now. When you’re ready to select a PS4 game from your library, click on it and it’ll give you the option to download it.

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Clicking on a game will also take you to its landing page, where you can Follow it to see the latest updates and trending images/videos from the community. If a game has both a PS4 and PS5 version, you can select between the two by clicking on the game and then pressing on the three horizontal dots next to Download/Play. This will give you all the possible versions of the game including PS4 and PS5 editions.

Buying PS4 games on the PS5 store

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You can also purchase PS4 games to play right from the PS5’s built-in store. Thankfully, the store and menu navigation is much snappier than it was on PS4, so it shouldn’t give you much trouble. From the PS5’s home screen, navigate to the PlayStation Store option on the left. Then, scroll all the way down to the bottom to a section labeled See More.

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Here, you’ll find a few options like PS5 games, PS4 games, free-to-play titles, and PS Plus offerings. Select PS4 Games and you’ll be brought to a list of all the digital PS4 games available to play on PS5. Again, you can sort this list by clicking the icon on the left. Any game you’ve already purchased will say In Library, giving you a clear indication of what you do and do not own.

Another thing to consider are games that feature a free PS5 upgrade. Certain titles that you previously owned on PS4 will give you the ability to upgrade to the PS5 version for free. This is separate from backward compatibility in that these versions are made specifically for PS5. If you see Free PS5 Upgrade listed on your game, it means it’s eligible. Keep in mind, this upgrade program is available on a publisher-by-publisher basis and does not work with all games. Examples of games with free PS5 upgrades are No Man’s Sky, Borderlands 3, and Mortal Kombat 11.

You should also be aware of how to apply a redemption code for PS4/PS5 games. Certain retailers sell codes for entire games just like a PSN currency card or PS Plus membership card. To apply a code, head to the PlayStation Store from the PS5’s main menu by following the steps above. Then scroll all the way to the right and click the three horizontal dots. This opens up a submenu that features many options that pertain to your account and its purchases. One option is Redeem Code, so select it and input the 12-digit code for your game, currency, or PS Plus membership. This applies to PS4 games, as well.

PS4 game saves

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Finally, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the most recent save files for your PS4 games installed onto your PS5. If you performed the system transfer when you first set up your PS5 system, all the saves on your PS4 system will have been transferred to PS5. However, you might want to utilize PS4 saves that were stored in the cloud, as well. To do so, head to System Settings by clicking the gear icon at the top right from the PS5’s main menu. Then, scroll all the way down to Saved Data and Game/App Settings. Next, you’ll want to select Saved Data (PS4), where you’ll see several options. Here, you’ll have the choice to either use cloud saves or saves that are stored on an external USB drive.

Select Cloud Storage and then Download to Console Storage, and you’ll be brought to a list of all your PS4 cloud saves (provided you’re a PS Plus member). From here, you can select which PS4 game saves you’d like to download onto your system. You can also download all at once by using the Select All feature in the top right. We recommend doing this as soon as you can so you have all your PS4 saves ready to go right away.

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Joseph Yaden
Joseph Yaden is a freelance journalist who covers Nintendo, shooters, and horror games. He mostly covers game guides for…
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