Jim Ryan cites "important trade-offs" in explaining PS5's lack of support for old PlayStation games

"... time, engineering resource, and money are all finite."

PlayStation boss Jim Ryan has insisted he doesn't hate old games while responding to controversial comments he made in 2017, and explained the PS5's lack of support for PlayStation's entire back catalogue of games.

Speaking in the latest Axios Gaming newsletter, Ryan was asked about a 2017 interview with Time in which he recalled seeing different versions of Gran Turismo running side-by-side on PSone, PS2, PS3 and PS4.

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"The PS1 and the PS2 games, they looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?" he said at the time.

This quote is often brought up when Sony's commitment to older games hits the headlines. It was used, for example, to explain Sony's controversial decision to close the PS3, PSP and Vita digital stores this summer - a decision the company walked back after a backlash.

Discussing that infamous 2017 quote with Axios Gaming, Ryan said he gets "frustrated" whenever it's brought up.

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PlayStation boss Jim Ryan.

"It goes with the territory, but I get a little bit frustrated at still being hit over the head with this one," he said.

"The point I was trying to make - obviously not very well - was just how great the PS4 version looked and how far the series had evolved. I certainly wasn't trying to be disrespectful to our heritage."

Ryan then pointed to PS5 pack-in launch title Astro's Playroom as evidence of Sony's commitment to its past.

Despite this, Sony's support for its older games on PS5 differs to the strategy employed by console rivals Microsoft and Nintendo. Xbox Series X and S run games from all prior Xbox generations, whereas the PS5 only supports PS4 and some PS2 games natively, leaving paid subscription service PlayStation Now to run some PS3 games.

"What is important to recognise when considering this question about designing a new platform, is that time, engineering resource, and money are all finite, and that important trade-offs have to be made in terms of what's included, and what's not," Ryan told Axios Gaming, explaining Sony's strategy.

Does Sony plan to officially enable compatibility with PSone games in any way? No comment.

Sony, Ryan said, likes the franchise remake and new entry model, pointing to the PS4 remake of Ratchet & Clank PS2, and this week's release of a brand new Ratchet & Clank on PS5.

"We believe this approach keeps our IP fresh and contemporary," Ryan said.

It sounds like Ryan has learned from the fallout from the 2017 Time interview: "I guess my big learning from all of this is that when Kazunori Yamauchi unveils the next Gran Turismo side by side with its history, that I will keep my mouth shut."

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Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

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Wesley is Eurogamer's editor. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.

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