Can the PS5 Play PS1 Games?


I’m a huge Retro PS1 gamer. 

There’s nothing quite like pulling out the original PlayStation console, plugging it in, and letting the bootup chime tickle your ears. I love it. It’s bliss. 

But there’s a problem. 

Old consoles, like the PS1, are slowly dying out. Every year, more PS1’s call it a day, and make their final journey to that big landfill site in the sky. Others, lay dormant in lofts in perfect working order, only to be unwittingly tossed in the trash, never to be played again. 

Retro gaming is our hobby’s heritage and we need to preserve it. So that got me thinking: Does Sony support its vast PS1 back catalog on the PS5?  

Can the PS5 play PS1 games? No, the PS5 can’t play PS1 disk or digital-based games. However, there are some PS1 remakes available on the PS5 such as Resident Evil 2 and 3, and the Spyro Trilogy.  

Ok, so now you know the PS5 can’t play PS1 games but there are some remakes available that you can play. 

However, that’s not quite the end of the road. 

In the following sections I’ll explore:

  • Whether PS1 games will come to PS NOW
  • Why Sony dosn’t include PS1 emulation in PS5
  • Alternative ways to play PS1 games

Let’s get started…

PS5 can’t Play PS1 games. 

You can’t play disk-based PS1 games on the PS5. 

Additionally, you can’t play digital-based PS1 games on PS5 as there are no PS1 games available to play. 

Sadly, though not surprising, there are no plans for the PS5 to play PS1 games in the future. 

However, there may be a chance of PlayStation 1 games becoming available via Sony’s Playstation Now streaming services. 

However, nothing has been announced yet. 

I did reach out to Sony’s PlayStation Twitter account about the future of PS1 emulation on PS5. However, I did not receive a reply. If I do receive a reply, I will update this article. 

Why doesn’t the PS5 play PS1 games? 

There are a number of reasons why the PS5 doesn’t play PS1 games. These include the cost of emulation, a lack of market interest in retro gaming, and the lack of profitability for Sony supporting retro gaming. 

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why Sony doesn’t support PS1 games on the PS5, below.  

There’s No Market

For whatever reason, Sony doesn’t think there’s a big enough market to warrant creating an emulation layer inside the PS5 to play PS1 games. 

There are, according to them, not enough people interested in playing retro PS1 games on their PS5 to make it worth Sony spending capital on PS1 emulation. 

This is backed up by what Jim Ryan, Sony Interactive Entertainment president, and CEO, has said in the past: 

“When we’ve dabbled with backward compatibility, I can say it is one of those features that is much requested, but not actually used much. That, and I was at a Gran Turismo event recently where they had PS1, PS2, PS3, and PS4 games, and the PS1 and the PS2 games, they looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?”

– Jim Ryan Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO

Emulation costs too much 

Creating software is time-consuming, difficult, and costly. A cost that Sony might not be willing to pay considering they don’t believe there is a big enough market for retro emulation. 

Putting a PS1 chip in the PS5 would cost a lot! 

A long time ago in a console generation far far away, the PS2 actually included backward compatibility with the PS1, not through emulation, but by including the PS1’s original CPU in the PS2’s design. 

In the PS2, the PS1 chip was used as the sound chip when not playing PS1 games. 

So, why can’t Sony do something like that with the PS5? Again, it comes down to cost. 

Sony doesn’t want to spend the extra cash making a load of PS1 chips and then stuffing them into PS5s as it did with the original PS2. 

Though the PS1 chip would likely cost only a few dollars these days, that few dollars chip could cost Sony hundreds of millions of dollars over an entire console generation. 

Think about it. If Sony ends up selling 100 million PS5s, and they included a PS1 chip at the cost of 2 dollars in each console, it would cost them a frankly staggering 200 million dollars over the course of the PS5’s lifespan. When you hear figures like that you can probably understand why Sony didn’t include the PS1 chip in the PS5. 

PS5 is too different

As said above creating software is hard. Creating an emulation layer of software between two completely different alien sets of hardware, such as the PS5 and PS1, magnifies the difficulty. 

That difficulty put emulation beyond Sony’s current resource capacity to employ the necessary skills to get the PS5 and the PS1 talking nicely to each other. 

The PS1 Mini Classic

The PS1 Mini Classic, along with other mini consoles such as the SNES and NES Mini, has shown Sony they can make a lot more money by releasing a retro-inspired console. Spending millions developing emulation on the PS5 would offer nearly zero return on investment for Sony. 

What options do you have to play PS1 games? 

Sadly, Sony and Jim Ryan have decided for us that retro gaming, and its “ugly” low res polygons, are best left out-of-site and in the past.

But what if you’re desperate to play Some of Sony’s golden PS1 oldies in all their pixelated low-poly awesomeness? 

Well, there are actually a number of options you can take. 

Let’s take a look at a few of them:  

Buy a PS1 console with HDMI Adapter

If you already have a PS1, you probably already know that most modern TVs can’t be connected up to it. That’s because the original PS1 console doesn’t offer a modern TV connection method such as HDMI. 

Fortunately, all is not lost: 

You can buy an adaptor that’ll let you hook up your PS1 (and your PS2 for that matter) to your modern TV via HDMI. 

Just head on over to Amazon and buy the LevelHike PS1 HDMI adaptor. I’ve got 1 along with thousands of other people and it works perfectly with my 4K TV. It does do a little bit of upscaling, but don’t expect miracles, it is upscaling 240p images 2140p after all. 

Also, if you don’t have a PS1 console, they are readily available to buy on eBay.

Buy a PS1 Mini Classic 

Another option is to buy Sony’s PS1 Mini Original console. This console comes pre-loaded with a number of Sony classics such as Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy 7. However, there are some notable absentees such as Gran Tourismo. 

You can learn more about Sony’s PS1 Mini here

Buy an original PS2 (Again you’ll need an adaptor)

Yet another option (I’m full of options today!) is to buy a PS2. 

Every single PS2, from the original fat one, to the slim model with the flip-top lid, comes with the original PS1 chip baked into it. So, it is essentially fully backward compatible with every single PS1 game. 

Luckily, Sony sold mountains of PS2s which makes them readily available on the used market.

Just head over to eBay, and pick one up. 

Just keep in mind you’ll also need an HDMI adaptor for the PS2 to work on your modern TV.

Get an HDMI PS2 adaptor from Amazon here.

Buy an original FAT PS3

The original FAT (George Forman Grill) PS3 has PS2 and PS1 backward compatibility. 

Though these consoles are pretty hard to find, the original FAT PS3 is the ultimate retro console for PS1 and PS2. 

You can find them readily available on eBay. Click the following link to take a look at what PS3s are currently listed on eBay. Just make sure it’s the original FAT one. Later consoles didn’t come with backward compatibility. 

Emulation on a PC/Android console 

Another option is to use your own emulation on either a PC or Android console. 

Emulation on PC is a little out of the scope of this article. But you can get started by taking a look at this LiveWire article. It lists some of the best PS1 emulators available on PC. 

Alternatively, you could buy yourself a mini Android emulation console. Most are shipped straight out of China and come pre-packed with some games. I’ve had hands-on time with one of them in the past and they do work well, especially for PS1 emulation. 

You can take a look at one such Andoird console on eBay, here,

Play PS1 classics remade for the PS5/PS4

Another way to get your retro fix is to play remade PS1 classics that have been released for the PS4 and PS5.

For example, you can play: 

Take a look at Sony’s website for a comprehensive list. 

Summary 

Let’s take a look at the main points from the article: 

  • You can’t play PS1 games on a PS5
  • There are no plans to include PS1 game emulation in the future on PS5
  • However we may see PS1 games appearing on PlayStation Now in the future
  • Sony hasn’t included PS1 backward compatibility on PS5 because:
    • Sony doesn’t think there’s a big enough market 
    • Emulation costs to much to implement 
    • Sony doesn’t want to spend the extra cash including the PS1 chip in the PS5
    • PS5 hardware is too different 
    • Sony can make more money selling PS1 products such as PS1 mini 
  • If you want to play PS1 games, you can: 

What Next? 

Does the PS4 play PS3 games? The PS4 can play digital PS3 games streamed over the PS NOW se

Nick Sinclair

Having played games since the golden age of the Commodore 64, Nick finally took the plunge and studied Creative Game Design in university. After 3 years of "Study", Nick co-founded a games company where he soon discovered his true calling: writing about games. 11 years later Nick writes about a tower of topics, but gaming is always stacked neatly at the top.

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