Being the second most popular gaming platform after PC (according to Truelist), PlayStation 5 offers game developers worldwide a decent platform full of outstanding technical solutions and a huge audience of loyal gamers. This makes many game developers interested in PS5 ports for their games.
Porting a game to PS5 isn’t an overly complex process but it does require you to plan ahead as a developer. Typically console ports work a lot better when during the production cycle, the intention is already there to port. Building a game intending to port means you can streamline the process of not only development but also the process of porting a game to PS5.
In this article, we’re going to go through not only how to port a game to PS5 but the benefits of this process as well as some guidelines in regard to game porting. We’ll touch on the hurdles and difficulties of the process and provide some useful tips to ensure your game gets to shine on all platforms, including the renowned PS5.
The PS5 is an incredibly powerful piece of hardware that is capable of bringing you the pinnacle of game graphics and performance, but what is equally essential to the modern gamer is being able to play titles from previous consoles and get access to titles that have come from other platforms. Porting a game to PlayStation 5 is no more complex than other porting processes but the trick is to understand this process or consult a studio that has extensive experience in this process, like Pingle Studio.
Currently, there are 4000+ PS4 games that can be played on PS5. Why is this important? Value. Being able to access a previous library on new hardware is a massive draw card with gamers and consumers, as there is a current resurgence of nostalgia titles with a wave of remakes and remasters coming into the market. This is the significance of porting a PS4 game to PS5.
Essentially porting a game to PlayStation 5, old or new, means giving users another avenue to enjoy your game title, and it can often breathe new life into an older release.
As of the second half of 2023, the PS5 is no longer new on the market. According to Statista, Sony sold more than 19 million PS5 copies just in 2022, which is a huge part of the games market.
If you’re in the process of developing your title, or perhaps you are looking at porting a game to PS5 that you’ve already released, you’ll be gaining a huge level of exposure to gamers who may not have had access to your game title before.
Rather than a list of specific stages, we’re going to provide some tips on porting a game to PS5 that most developers, whether it be indie or commercial, may overlook initially, especially if they’ve not been involved in the process of porting a game to PS5.
First of all, when game porting to PS5 from something like PC, you need to have access to the devkit, and whilst a devkit is just a package that contains all software and content required for the content to be accessible on both platforms, without it, your port will be at a standstill.
- What are devkits? A devkit for the PS5 is a specialized hardware and software package provided to game developers to create, optimize, and test their games for the PlayStation 5 console.
- How to get access to a devkit? There are two main options for the devkit, you can develop your own that provides you access, or alternatively, and more popular, is to sign a deal with a publisher who can handle the access to a devkit for you, making game porting to PS5 much more achievable.
- Software packages you need. To port a game to the PS5, a game developer typically requires software packages that include development tools and libraries optimized for the console’s architecture, enabling efficient utilization of its hardware capabilities. These packages may encompass software development kits (SDKs) offered by Sony, which provide access to APIs, performance optimization tools, and debugging utilities essential for adapting the game to the PS5’s specifications. Also, middleware solutions for graphics rendering, audio processing, and physics simulation can further stream the porting process and maximize the game’s performance on the PS5 platform.
What a lot of developers, especially indie developers, don’t realize when looking to port a game to PS5 is that PlayStation has a code of standards that are a requirement in order to have your game title on their store and available to their users. Generally speaking, with the process of porting a game to PS5, passing the test provided offers you, as a developer, access to platform plugins that will ensure your title is PlayStation-ready.
Most users would consider Optimization the most important factor when game porting for PlayStation 5. Gamers are notoriously unaccepting of poor-performing game content on next-gen hardware, and a port or release that doesn’t meet those performance benchmarks are often ridiculed heavily. Ensuring high-quality optimization is one of the key components of Game porting for PlayStation5, as users have high expectations of their PS5 consoles in terms of performance.
- What is optimization? Optimization in the context of porting a game to the PS5 refers to the process of fine-tuning the game’s code, assets, and rendering techniques to leverage the console’s hardware capabilities efficiently, ensuring smooth performance, reduced loading times, and enhanced graphical fidelity for an optimal player experience.
- Why is it important for PS5 porting? Optimization is crucial in porting games to the PS5 as it enables the game to fully harness the console’s advanced hardware, unlocking higher frame rates, improved graphical quality, and faster load times, thus delivering a seamless and immersive gaming experience that takes full advantage of the platform’s capabilities. Poor optimization can lead to underutilized hardware, resulting in subpar performance and failure to showcase the potential of the PS5.
- How to optimize your game for PS5? The process of optimization when doing a port of a game to PS5 can be particularly brutal, especially if you are porting a title from PC to PS5. Whilst the PS5 boasts some pretty impressive hardware, it does have its limitations in terms of memory usage, which means you have to be considered clever about what you strip back from your PC title to get the game to perform consistently on the console. Typically it is far easier to bring a console title to PC, as you aren’t as hindered by hardware capabilities going that way. Regardless, if you’re looking to port a game to PS5, put optimization at the top of your list, as that is what consumers will pay the most attention to. Touching further on optimization, bringing a title from PC can be made a little easier if you’re porting an Unreal Engine game to PS5, as it is a considerably efficient engine that is capable of downscaling quite easily, especially if you have experienced developers or access to experienced porting studios. Porting an unreal engine game to PS5 also provides you consistency, as it’s capable of offering high fidelity, even with less memory usage.
An important factor to consider, especially for a new title, less so for porting a PS4 game to PS5, for example, is certification. Next to developing your title and even the technical side of porting the game, certification often takes the most time. Each platform has strict rules for the content it provides its user base, which means time will get spent on ensuring your product meets those expectations. However, porting a PS4 game to PS5 would be faster, as certification would have previously been achieved on the last-gen platform, in comparison with bringing PC games on PS5.
- What is certification? Certification in the context of porting a game to the PS5 refers to the process where game developers submit their completed or updated game builds to Sony for thorough testing and approval. This ensures that the game meets technical, performance, and quality standards set by Sony, ensuring a consistent and reliable experience for players on the PS5 platform.
- How to get your game certified for PS5? At this point, you may be concerned that if you’re not a developer there are a lot of hoops to jump through for your game title. However, the process of porting Unity 5 game to PS5, for example, is not a big of a chore as you’d expect, even for a non-developer. You can go through a third-party studio that handles this process independently for you, like Pingle, for example!A third-party studio can handle things like licenses for exporting, version checks, user identification, social integration, certifications, and importantly optimization. You can be offered advice, essentially hiring them to handle the technical and paperwork side of the porting process.
As you can see so far, porting a game to PS5 requires a lot of knowledge, commitment, and time, but you can save yourself the stress by working with a third-party studio with extensive porting experience. At Pingle Studio, we can handle all the ins and outs of game porting, including but not limited to:
- Assistance with Certification Processes
- Forward Planning
At Pingle studio, we’ve provided successful porting processes for games like Tails of Iron, in which we adapted existing code to meet console requirements whilst implementing smooth control schemes for fantastic functionality on the new consoles. When met with challenges, we broke them down into achievable goals that add up to successful ports and we’ve regularly dealt with all the hurdles that can come with the porting process. We’re also able to create solutions and test in-house, meaning you can sit back whilst we handle the process for you, letting you focus on other elements of development and the release of your title.
With our long and proven experience with Unity Game Engine, we were also able to successfully port the hit game Eldest Souls to consoles including PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S, all on the same day. Not only that, but this process had only taken the team 4 months to deliver what ended up being a critically acclaimed port that exceeded the developer’s expectations. Eldest Souls game architecture was also not developed with porting in mind, which meant the team had to focus on providing high-end optimization to ensure great performance on consoles, something the team has a lot of experience in doing.
The porting process is complex and full of hurdles. However, what is great is the number of resources available to you as a developer.
Here are some tips for porting a game to PS5:
- Focus on utilizing the PS5’s hardware advantages, like Haptic Feedback or Adaptive Triggers, and other DualSense controller features;
- Ensure fast load times;
- Follow Sony’s certification requirements
- consider additional content or features to enhance the game’s value on the platform;
- Focus on decent resources while doing your game, like Sony Developer Portal, which offers official documentation, SDKs, and technical guides.
Whether you want to go through the porting process yourself or you want to use a third-party studio like us at Pingle, you will be able to successfully navigate the seas of game porting to PS5 or any popular console. If you want further information or perhaps have an inquiry regarding porting to PS5 or other great consoles, contact the team at Pingle Studio any time via this form and experience first-class service that will elevate your game to new heights.