Can PS5 Players Play with PS4 Players Online?

We’ve all been there before. You or a friend got the new PlayStation console, and whichever one of you did not buy it still has the old one. You’d still like to play together, but you aren’t sure if you’re able to, or how. Can the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 access the same online network? 

Yes, PS5’s cross-generation gameplay compatibility will allow PS5 players to play with PS4 players. However, this is dependent on whether or not your chosen game is equipped with cross-platform and cross-generation compatibility.

This has been a long-awaited change in the gaming community, as it will help make the transition between generations a lot less painless, and allow you and your pals who don’t have the same generation of PlayStation to have some fun before everyone gets their hands on a PS5! 

However, it isn’t always so black and white. There are situations where it will be possible, and also situations where it won’t. Read on to find out when and how you can play your PlayStation games with a buddy who’s got a different console than you!  

Game Dependency 

First and foremost, the most important variable for whether or not you and your PS5 can play with a friend who still has the PS4 (or vice versa) is what game you are attempting to play.  

This is due to the fact that in order to play games online cross-platform from PS5 to PS4, the developer will have had to specifically put this feature in the game. This is less likely with newer games as they come out, as games that were never on the PlayStation 4 obviously will not have this capability.  

Don’t fret, however, as there are a ton of popular games that have cross-platform enabled. Notable games include Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Minecraft, among many others! There are many lists online of games that have this capability, so a simple google search should let you know if the game you are trying to play will allow you to play with a different generation of consoles.  

If you don’t have a particular game in mind and are looking for a new one, this should be relatively easy information to find with a google search as well!  

Cross-generation and cross-platform gaming is an easier process than it sounds. Move on to the next section of this article to find out how to do it!  

How to Crossplay 

In order to find out whether or not you can crossplay, you’ll need to actually fire up the game and see if it works, unless a cursory google search can answer your question (which is more than likely the case).  

There’s only one surefire way to make sure that it works, though, and that is to simply try it! Invite a friend to a lobby in whichever game you want to play, or have them invite you. 

If the game is able to cross-platform, you should be able to enter their online multiplayer lobby in whatever game you want to play seamlessly, provided you both have PlayStation online for your particular console.  

You can also simply try to join a friend’s game session. This is only available in certain games and if your friend is online and in an active online multiplayer lobby. If you want to do this, navigate to your friends list and open your friend’s profile. 

There should be a section that shows what game they are playing. Select that option and a dropdown menu will open. If one of the prompts says “join game” this game is joinable, and will allow you to enter the multiplayer lobby and cross-platform game with your friend! 

If you are unable to play between the two consoles cross-platform on the particular title you’ve selected, the player who is using the older version of the console (the PlayStation 4) will simply not receive the invite. This could just be a bug or bad connection, so try a few times before you give up! 

Non-game Features 

Now, it’s all well and good if you can play games with your friends, but what about some of the non-gaming features that the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 offer? After all, online gaming is about more than just joining your friends’ lobbies and playing the game with them.  

You may be wondering if you’ll be able to see your friend’s activity online, achievements, game progress, and other things. There are many non-gaming features that are important to the quality of console gaming online, especially things like messaging and voice chat! 

The good news is, these features are all available. Not only will you be able to see what games your friends are playing, and what kind of progress they’ve made in those games, but you’ll also be able to join their lobbies, send them messages, and even chat with them on voice!  

This basically makes it so there’s no difference from how you would’ve played with your friends if you had the same console. This is great news and a long-overdue change from SONY.  

Cross-Platform with Other Consoles 

Inevitably the question will come up of whether or not you are able to play with your friends that have Xbox Ones, Xbox Series X, PC, or Nintendo switch. In the past, cross-platforming with people who have consoles of different brands was entirely impossible.  

However, with the same technology that allows you to play with your PlayStation 4 owning friends, you are now able to play some games with the owners of gaming PCs, Nintendo Switches, and Xboxes of all kinds!  

Again, just like with the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 cross-platforming, this is dependent on a few variables. The most important of these is that you are playing a game that allows players of different consoles to play together. This is not the case for every game and is a case-by-case basis for whether you and your friends can game.  

For instance, a game may be able to function cross-platform between PlayStation 5 and PC, but not between PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch. This has a lot to do with things like licensing rights, tech requirements for certain games, and other factors that make it so cross-platforming is impossible.  

There are plenty of games that are able to cross-platform though. A simple google search should allow you to find out what consoles the game you are trying to play allows to cross-platform.  

Types of Cross-Generation Cross-Platforming 

There are two major types of cross-platforming when it comes to playing between two consoles that are of different generations.  

First, we have a PlayStation 5 playing a PlayStation 4 version of the game with a PlayStation 4. This one is far more simple, as backwards compatibility has been a feature of gaming consoles for a while now. This should be relatively easy to do. The only downside of this is that the PS5’s graphics quality and speed will not be on full display.  

Second, we have a Playstation 5 playing a PlayStation 5 version of the game while a PlayStation 4 plays a PlayStation 4 version of the game, and they are playing online together in the same lobby. This is more common with newer games, or games that have experienced major long term success and have frequent updates (think Fortnite or Call of Duty: Warzone).  

This second option raises a few potential issues with the way that the two games may look and play compared to each other. Read on to find out about this issue, as well as a few others you may run into while cross-platforming.  

Potential Issues 

Cross-platforming is a relatively new phenomenon. Because of this, it is not a perfect science. There are certain problems that may arise if you are on a PlayStation 5 and a friend of yours is still using the PlayStation 4. Read on to find out what kind of issues you may run into when cross-platforming like this.  

Firstly, there is the problem of the difference in quality between the two systems. The Playstation 5 is an upgrade in every way over the Playstation 4, which is a much older and more outdated console. Certain problems may arise because of this.  

Remember, this will only be a problem if you are using a PlayStation 5 that is running the updated PlayStation 5 version of the game you and your friend are trying to play while your friend is using a PlayStation 4 with the older version of the game. 

If you are both playing on the PlayStation 4 version of the game, using the backwards compatibility feature of the PlayStation 5, then this will not be an issue.  

One such problem is that the PlayStation 4 has much longer load times than the PlayStation 5. This will make it so the PlayStation 5 player may have to wait a little while before the PlayStation 4 player has loaded into the game. 

Although it isn’t the end of the world, PlayStation 4 consoles that are in worse shape may take up to a few minutes to load a game that a brand new PlayStation 5 can load very quickly.  

Another issue that can arise from the difference in quality between the two systems is the quality of the graphics that each player is seeing. Although this may only seem like a quality of life difference at first, and in many cases, it is, there are certain circumstances where a player on PlayStation 4 will be at an inherent disadvantage when playing with newer generation players.  

The Playstation 5 has much better graphics, therefore making things much easier to see, especially in games that are extremely fast-paced, where split-second information reading and reaction time are needed. You most certainly can play games like this on the older version of the console, but the new generation will give you far better graphical capabilities than the PlayStation 4.  

There is also the issue of how long cross-platforming will be a viable way of playing the games together. If a game currently has cross-platform, then you’ll be able to play that game together permanently. That part hasn’t changed at all.  

However, as more and more games are released for the Playstation 5, the likelihood that they will also be available on the PlayStation 4 goes down. Over time, they will stop producing games for the PlayStation 4 and move on to focusing only on the PlayStation 5.  

This change will make it so slowly but surely, you will be unable to play the newest most popular online games with your friends who still have PlayStation 4s. You will still always be able to play the titles you are able to play now, but those may be out of date or played out in a year or so.  

Final Thoughts

So, now you have your answer! It is entirely possible to continue playing games with your friends, even if some of you have the new generation of the PlayStation, the PS5, and others have the older version in the PS4.  

It will depend on a few things, most notably what games you are trying to play together and if they have cross-platform and cross-generation support. It isn’t too tough to find some great games that have these capabilities, though, so don’t let one game being unable to do this stop you from having a blast with your friends, despite the difference in your consoles! 

Remember, a few issues can arise, especially as time moves on and games update to be more optimized for the PlayStation 5. However, for now, you are able to play many of the most popular titles on either console with players who own the opposite generation that you do, so take advantage of this while you can.  

So, there’s only one question left. Why are you still reading this article? You and your friends have gaming to do! Look up if your favorite game or games can play cross-platform or cross-generation and send your friends an invite! You’ve got gaming to do.  

Steven Carr

Steven is a certified IT professional and gaming enthusiast. He has been working in the tech industry for over 10 years, and specializes in all things Tech-related. When he's not geeking out over the latest hardware or software release, he can be found testing out the latest video game.

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