PS3 News: No PS2 Software Emulation For 40GB PS3 - PS3 News

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No PS2 Software Emulation For 40GB PS3

Well, we thought we understood how the new 40GB PS3 was going to approach backwards compatibility for both PS1 and PS2 titles. Initially, we learned the new model wouldn't feature the graphics synthesizer chip, which makes nigh-on full b/c possible for PS2 titles, but the system would also be capable of fully emulating most PS1 games. Furthermore, it was believed Sony would offer firmware updates to provide PS2 backwards compatibility in the future, but now, this last bit appears to be incorrect.

Speaking to Joystiq, SCEE Director of Corporate Communications, Nick Sharples, said Sony currently has "no plans" to offer emulation software as downloadable content. This may come as a small shock to consumers, but bear in mind that Sony's official statement a few days ago stated backwards compatibility wasn't a major concern anymore.

"We have no plans to do so at the moment. The sheer numbers of PS2 titles available, together with the increased complexity of using a software only solution for each and every title means that to ensure accurate software emulation for the majority would be technically challenging, time consuming and costly," said Sharples. "As we have mentioned on several occasions, our engineering resources are now focused on developing new and innovative features and services for the PS3 and, as a result the 40GB model does not have backwards compatibility with PS2 titles."

Thankfully, this doesn't affect the 60 and 80GB models currently in circulation, as Sharples said Sony would "continue to support backwards compatibility" for those PS3 versions. He also said they worked with publishers to insure any new PS2 titles work on the PS3. As for the report of the 40GB PS3 coming to North America, Sharples had no comment. However, here are Sony's official statements regarding backwards compatibility for both PS1 and PS2 games on all PS3 models:

Regarding PS1 emulation

"The PS3 has never been equipped with either the CPU or GPU that were used in the original PlayStation, and the backwards compatibility for PS one titles has therefore been made available through software emulation from the beginning. Therefore backwards compatibility for PS1 titles remains the same no matter how many times the model is changed."

Regarding PS2 emulation

"On the other hand, backwards compatibility for PS2 titles is largely made possible through the use of actual semiconductors, supported by the PS3 system software. The 20GB and 60GB PS3 models launched in Japan and the USA were equipped with both the PS2 Emotion Engine and Graphics Synthesiser chips and we could therefore guarantee over 90% backwards compatibility for PS2 titles.

The 60GB model launched in Europe was a new model (shared with the 80GB model launched subsequently in USA) which contains only a modified version of the Graphics Synthesiser chip from the PS2 and not the Emotion Engine chip. The European launch model therefore used a combination of software and the modified version of the PS2 Graphics Synthesiser chip to deliver backwards compatibility for PS2 titles. As a result the percentage of backwards compatible PS2 titles was slightly reduced.

The 40GB model, to be launched in Europe on 10th October, is a new model and is not equipped with any of the semi conductors from the PS2, and backwards compatibility would therefore have to be achieved by software emulation alone. The sheer numbers of PS2 titles available, together with the increased complexity of using a software only solution for each and every title means that to ensure accurate software emulation for the majority would be technically challenging, time consuming and costly. As we have mentioned on several occasions, our engineering resources are now focused on developing new and innovative features and services for the PS3 and, as a result the 40GB model does not have backwards compatibility with PS2 titles."

10/9/2007 Ben Dutka

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