PS2 Backwards Compatibility for European and Aussie PS3s Severely Limited

Europeans were frustrated when they heard that the PS3 launch would be delayed from November 2006 to March 2007, but Europe and Australia in store for another setback. The PS3 models they receive will differ from those released in the US and Japan. These models will be less backwards compatible with PS2 games due to being driven by software emulation instead of a PS2 hardware chip. PS1 games, however, should remain unaffected.

Michael Ephraim, Managing Director of Sony Australia confirmed the bleak news to Gamespot AU and said that PAL PS3s would have a "limited range" of backwards compatible PS2 titles.

Ephraim stated that cost concerns were a major factor in scaling back the machines from hardware-driven backwards compatibility. "Clearly cost is one of the [factors]. If software is cheaper than the cost of the chip, then why not do that? We will be working on delivering backwards-compatibility through software emulation. The software emulation list will grow, and there’s a web site people can check to see what games are backwards-compatible. It will be a progressive emulation."

Sony Europe President David Reeves said that PS2 backwards compatibility would not be at the top of Sony’s to-do list for the PS3. "PS3 is first and foremost a system that excels in playing games specifically designed to exploit the power and potential of the PS3 system. 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."

European and Australian gamers are already upset with the premium prices they will have to pay for the PS3. In general, the rest of the world can expect to pay as much as $300-$400 more than what gamers paid in Japan and the US. With the delays, higher pricing, and the less extensive backwards compatibility, this new revelation may further displease potential buyers.

Michael Ephraim dismissed the lack of complete backwards compatibility as a small matter for the PS3 because, in his estimate, the PS3 will have enough games in its own library to keep customers satisfied. "People will be able to play quite a few games. PS1 games are not a problem. I think PS2 backwards-compatibility is important, but when you look at what PS3’s doing with new games, digital content and so on, that specific functionality may not be as important as previously felt. But then again, that is something the consumer has to decide on. We are intending to deliver backwards-compatibility–just through different means."

While this makes sense in the corporate world of spreadsheet profit and loss columns, to the PlayStation faithful in Australia and Europe, it is an unintentional message that their countries may have entered a second class citizenship status at Sony headquarters. Gamers in these locations might begin to develop a negative sentiment towards Sony–assuming, of course, that this hasn’t happened already.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.