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"Gran Turismo 2" from the original PlayStation. Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Jim Ryan, Sony's head of PlayStation, wants people to know that he doesn't hate old video games.

Why it matters: A dismissive quote about older PlayStation games has dogged Ryan for years and been used to boost theories as to why Sony has not supported its back catalog of games as well as rivals Microsoft and Nintendo.

  • In a 2017 interview with Time, Ryan recalled seeing versions of the PlayStation racing game series "Gran Turismo" running side-by-side on PS1, PS2, PS3, and PS4.
  • "The PS1 and the PS2 games, they looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?" he said at the time.

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

  • "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."
  • He points to PS5 launch game "Astro's Playroom," in which players collect classic items of PlayStation's past, as proof the company supports its past.

The questions about Sony's belief in its back catalogue have merit.

  • While the Xbox Series S and X run games from all prior Xbox generations, the PS5 only supports PS4 natively, with select PS3 and PS2 games only running via a paid streaming service.
  • "What is important to recognize 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 said, before listing some of the PS5's cooler features.
  • He said the PS5's compatibility with PS4 games was due to fans' "real desire" for that support. But he had no comment on whether Sony had plans to officially enable compatibility with PS1 games in any way.

What's next: Ryan pointed to the PS4 remake of a classic PS2 "Ratchet & Clank" game, plus an original sequel on PS5, as a model Sony likes.

  • "We believe this approach keeps our IP fresh and contemporary," he said.
  • As for that old quote: "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."

Go deeper: Sony’s PlayStation boss moves past console wars

For more about PlayStation, E3 and everything else gaming sign up for the new Axios Gaming newsletter here.

Go deeper

Why some young people aren’t gaming

Expand chart
Data: Generation Lab's GAMING tomorrow prospectus; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Time is more of a barrier than money when it comes to why some young adults don’t play video games, according to a new poll from Generation Lab, shared with Axios.

Why it matters: There are more entry points to gaming than ever, but there’s no guarantee that young people will embrace games simply because they’re more commonplace.

2 wildfires ravage Northern California homes as thousands evacuate

Firefighters monitoring the scene as flames from the Dixie Fire jump across highway 89 near Greenville, California, on Tuesday. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Two massive California wildfires have triggered new mandatory evacuation orders for thousands of people and destroyed homes and businesses in the state's north overnight.

Details: The Dixie Fire, California's biggest blaze, razed houses and businesses as it ripped through the town of Greenville and surrounding areas in Plumas County Wednesday night. The rapidly spreading River Fire burned "multiple" homes as it tore through Placer and Nevada counties, KOVR notes.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Team USA's Ryan Crouser competing on Thursday in the men's Olympic shot put final in Tokyo, which he won. Photo: Andrej Isakovic/AFP via Getty Images

🥇: Ryan Crouser breaks his own Olympic shot put record to win gold for U.S.

🏐: U.S. Olympic beach volleyball duo one step away from realizing gold medal dream

🤼🏿‍♀️ "Making history": Mensah-Stock first Black woman to win Olympic wrestling gold

🛹: 2 teens and girl, 12, sweep board at women's park skateboarding

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

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