Backwards Compatibility Returns With New PlayStation 3 Model?
Sometimes, we game journalists have to play sleuth; we have to slip into the shoes of a Sherlock Holmes disciple to uncover possible truths. In the wake of today's gigantic rumor regarding a PS3 with a massive hard drive and Dual Shock 3 controller, we decided to put two and two together...and came up with the following.
It wasn't long ago when we heard the news that Sony Computer Entertainment Japan was seeking an engineer capable of delivering backwards compatibility in some form to one of Sony's platforms. The job ad doesn't specifically mention the PS3, which is why people were speculating this position could relate to either the PS3 or the PS4. Now, despite Sony's insistence that backwards compatibility will continue to be less and less important as this generation moves on, plenty of gamers out there still want the feature. More than a few were disappointed to learn the current 40GB model doesn't support PS2 games at all, and the one that does - the 80GB PS3 - only partially supports the PS2 library through software emulation. Furthermore, it's becoming painfully obvious that the latter model is on its way out.
Considering ArsTechnica's "inside source" is talking about a new PS3 with a huge hard drive (either a 120 or 160GB) and the Dual Shock 3, wouldn't it make sense to consider backwards compatibility for this new model? After all, once the 80GB is gone, no PS3 will be able to play any of the games from the absolutely gargantuan PS2 library. Factor in the 120 million PS2 owners out there, many of which want to leap into the new generation but would rather not leave their PS2 games behind...and we think it's suddenly a distinct possibility. Sony may have heard the disappointed cries of gamers who miss backwards compatibility, and with SCEJ looking for an engineer with exactly that kind of skill, the pieces fall into place.
It seems obvious the graphics synthesizer chip, only available in the 60GB model for Japan and North America, was too expensive to keep. It allowed for almost full b/c with PS2 titles, but Sony wanted to cut production costs and it's probably no surprise that this chip was one of the first features to go. But if they're looking for a cheaper way to tackle b/c, and they're really planning to replace the 80GB model with a new one, we'd love to think our case holds water. Will backwards compatibility return with the new model? Let's hope so.
1/28/2008 Ben Dutka