PS3 News: European PS3 Getting Inferior Backwards Compatibility - PS3 News

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European PS3 Getting Inferior Backwards Compatibility

  In what is perhaps one of the strangest turn of events a console has seen, Sony Computer Entertainment of Europe issued a press release stating that the European/PAL region PlayStation 3 will not be utilizing internal PS2 hardware for backwards compatibility. The ambiguously written press release cited that the PAL PS3 would feature less compatibility with PS2 and PSOne games, because it will be emulating the software via PS3 hardware and not PS2 hardware.

   “PS3 is first and foremost a system that excels in playing games specifically designed to exploit the power and potential of the PS3 system,” said David Reeves, President of SCEE. “Games designed for PS3 offer incredible graphics quality, stunning gameplay and massively improved audio and video fidelity that is simply not achievable with PS and PS2 games. Rather than concentrate on PS2 backwards compatibility, in the future, company resources will be increasingly focused on developing new games and entertainment features exclusively for PS3, truly taking advantage of this exciting technology.”

   Not exactly what I'd call smart PR work by the folks at SCEE. It'd really be in SCEE's best interests to retract that statement. But the press release does state that compatibility will improve with firmware updates. Also, in a statement issued to Yahoo, a Sony spokesperson stated: "The backwards compatibility is not going to be as good as the U.S. and Japan models."

   Again, these statements feature a dose of ambiguity that I can't discern. It's improbable that backwards compatibility will be anywhere below the 80% mark, and considering that there are 4000 PS2 games out there, that isn't too bad. Then again, it could be something trivial and compatibility issues could end up being a few percent worse than other PS3s. Currently Japanese and American PS3s feature a phenomenal 98% compatibility for PSOne and PS2 games.

   But good news can come from being emulated via Cell, PS2 games will have the ability to run better than before. Meaning enhanced resolutions (480p, 720p), cleaner visuals, better loading times, and improved framerates. Additionally, this is one of the forecasts mentioned when Sony spoke about cost-reduction measures for the PS3, which may (or may not) lead to a price-cut. It's all very possible, but still speculative at this point. Stay posted and we will bring you more as it comes our way.

2/23/2007 Arnold Katayev

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