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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

Video game sales skyrocket to record highs

Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

U.S. video game sales in August hit a record $4.4 billion, proving that the bump in gaming seen during the pandemic last year wasn't a passing trend.

The details: It was a huge month for hardware, which the NPD Group reports hit $329 million, the best August sales number since 2008.

Defense taking steps to mitigate civilian harm after botched airstrikes

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia on Sept. 1, 2021. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a directive Thursday to improve the U.S. military's approach to civilian harm mitigation and response, calling it a "strategic and a moral imperative."

Why it matters: The Pentagon has faced criticism for years for amassing civilian casualties in its missions, especially in the Middle East. New York Times investigations have found systemic failures in efforts to prevent civilian deaths, as well as a cover-up of a 2019 airstrike that killed dozens of women and children in Syria.

2 hours ago - World

Mapped: The world's most and least corrupt countries

Expand chart
Data: Transparency International; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

The most corrupt governments in the world are in South Sudan, Syria and Somalia, according to Transparency International's annual index, while the "cleanest" are in Denmark, Finland and New Zealand.

  • Breaking it down: The U.S. is 27th, China 66th, India 85th, Brazil 96th and Russia 136th. Scroll over the map to see each country's ranking.

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