PlayStation backwards compatibility patent filed by PS5 lead architect, Mark Cerny

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,
PlayStation 4 and 5 lead architect, Mark Cerny, filed a patent on January 6th, 2022 called “Backward Compatibility Through Use Of Spoof Clock and Fine Grain Frequency Control” that suggests the issue is currently being solved by Sony.


Shaun Mcilroy found the patent that was later reported on by PSU. The patent is called “Backward Compatibility Through Use Of Spoof Clock and Fine Grain Frequency Control” as was filed by Sony's chief PlayStation architect Mark Cerny and David Simpson, a Naughty Dog programmer. The application background specifically states that "aspects of the present disclosure are related to a system or a method that provides backward compatibility for applications/titles designed for older versions of a computer system." Later, the background notes that this is in relation to video games and video game consoles.

The filed patent appears to be a method of determining whether "an application loaded on a current version of a system is for the current version of the system or a less powerful version of the system." Bear with us here, but it essentially means that two systems, one less powerful than another, can be synchronised in order to run the application at a higher clock rate. In short, you could get an old game running on a new console.

ps3 carousel

A lot of the background to the patent is interesting here, as it describes the pitfalls that Sony has run into. Basically, it sounds like previous eras of games are running so much slower than the PS5, that backwards compatibility was tricky because the console speeds couldn't ever sync up. This is obviously something that Microsoft has already figured out with local backwards compatibility for 360 on the Series X|S and the Xbox One.

If we aren't wrong, it sounds like older games will be able to connect to peripherals, online services, and data storage devices. Backwards compatibility would essentially include a catch-all service to ensure all functionality previously offered by the application would run fine on new systems. It is also worth noting that this patent has been updated several times over the years and could simply apply to the PS4 to PS5 backwards compatibility that already exists.

What do you think about the news? Did you spot anything in the patent? Let us know in the comments, and we will see you there!
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Hey, I'm Kes! I'm a Staff Writer, and I've been here since 2021. What do I like? The Outer Wilds is top notch. The Witcher 3 blew my mind over the course of five years completing it. I want Burnout back — I really miss crunching mechanical wonders into walls to the sound of Guns N' Roses. Cool, now we are acquainted, I'll see you around.