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40GB PS3 missing key components for PS2 emulation

Many people assumed that the PS3 was software emulating PS2 games, ever since the release of the 80GB model. That system removed the Emotion Engine from the hardware, and required Sony to implement a backwards compatibility solution that involved emulation. Many, including Joystiq, wondered why the new 40GB model couldn't do the same.

SCEE's Nick Sharples sent a technical explanation as to why the new 40GB model loses support for PS2 games. "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." Because each game would have to be individually emulated (much like on the Xbox 360), Sony decided that an effort like that would be much too costly, and opted to remove BC support from the 40GB system entirely. That decision has not only produced a cheaper system for Sony to manufacture, but for consumers to buy as well.

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Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. If people really wanted BC support then they should have brought the 60/80gb models, they carnt really say it was never available

This is quite clever really, SONY released the BC support in early models for the true fans, who would pay alot to get a PS3 (like me).
And then they release a cheaper model, with less features for the more mainstream, casual audience.

Good tactic SONY :D

Posted at 4:49PM on Oct 8th 2007 by JackMichael-

2. That makes sense to me. I guess if you're trying to reduce the price of your system in order to compete, I understand the reasoning. I'm just glad that I bought the 60 Gig with the Emotion Chip.

Posted at 4:51PM on Oct 8th 2007 by Aaron

3. This actually makes sense. They should have announced this sooner. If you want BC, go for the big one. I find the memory card slots very valuable anyways.

Posted at 4:52PM on Oct 8th 2007 by JL

4. Many of us have been saying this was the case since BC was announced as removed. But with anything Sony these days 10 more people spout out how "the end is nigh!".

Posted at 4:54PM on Oct 8th 2007 by DownwardMonkey

5. I only use the Memory Stick Duo slot, but i'm glad its there.

I have the ultimate machine (for my needs at least).

A bought 60GB w/ EE and GS and put in a 160GB HDD.

So I still have the 4 USB ports (of which I have only had to use one at any given time), and the media card slots if I ever decide to use the rest of them. Plus 160GB to rip my dvd collection (70GB are used already), music collection, downloaded games, and videos.

Posted at 4:56PM on Oct 8th 2007 by Justin

6. Sounds good to me. Who needs it once Uncharted and all these games come out next month. I have a PS2. If i need to play a PS2 game I'll play it on that.

Posted at 5:00PM on Oct 8th 2007 by drdre74

7. kool~ i thought they just wanted to screw us.. but i guess sony does have a plan! awesome job! when i bought the ps3, i thought i'd still play more ps2 game... but u know... i dont... cuz it seem like a waste to play ps2 games on ps3... just my opinion...

Posted at 5:05PM on Oct 8th 2007 by SkeetSkiLee

8. This is f*'d up if you ever need to get your BC PS3 replaced. Sounds awfully similar to the PS2 losing firewire/HDD situation. Better just to buy a PS2 now and stock up on spare parts.

Posted at 5:09PM on Oct 8th 2007 by Waruwaru

9. I'd just like to know how much removing the last few ICs for backwards compatibility saved them. It can't be over $50.

Posted at 5:20PM on Oct 8th 2007 by ruibing

10. well you can buy PS1 games from PSN so there's that...

Posted at 5:24PM on Oct 8th 2007 by Random1448

11. As long as they offer both BC and non-BC systems, i dont see what ppl are crying about. If BC is that important to you then you can pay the normal price for it.. ppl who dont care for BC get to save $100.

Posted at 5:26PM on Oct 8th 2007 by phattie

12. I agree. If people don't like it, they won't buy it. I own a ton of PS2 games so I'm glad I went with the 60Gb model. Now my poor friend who doesn't have a PS2 (I know, poor misguided soul) can get in on the PS3 action without spending $$$ on stuff he doesn't need.

Posted at 5:31PM on Oct 8th 2007 by Akamaru

13. By the time the 40GB is released there will be well over 100 games to choose from. Like others have said, if you want BC get the more expensive models. You can't have your cake and eat it too!

Posted at 5:39PM on Oct 8th 2007 by Andy

14. I understand the rationale, but if Sony's smart they'll continue to produce high-end models that continue to support PlayStation 1 and 2 backwards compatibility. That, coupled with the above explanation, would at least justify the cost vs. benefits of the pricier SKU - since a bigger hard drive and a couple of USB slots doesn't really cut it.

Posted at 5:41PM on Oct 8th 2007 by Pajama Party!

15. Biggest Mistake Ever.

Posted at 7:12PM on Oct 8th 2007 by Bryan

16. I dunno, I was pleased to be able to play God of War 1 and 2 on my PS3, as well as the GTA games, Super Bust a Move (competing against the wife and all), Ico, and Shadow of the Collosus. I was primarily an Xbox guy in the late stages of the PS2 (I got my hands on a modded one overseas, so the games were free for the most part). I'm glad I had the option from the beginning to have BC. If you feel screwed, buy the 60GB one. If you have the 60GB one and feel screwed, sell it and get one that fits your needs. I'm sure you'll be able to sell the 60GB one fairly easily. It may not be a big deal after Xmas, but every now and then I like to go back to the classics. Years down the road I see myself starting over fresh in a GTA game. Hell just before the new one comes out, I plan to have a marathon and go through all of them just to build up to the new campaign. At the end of the day, no matter which one you choose, you still have a machine that is built to do well in this generation, and compete years into the NEXT one...

Posted at 7:16PM on Oct 8th 2007 by Titty Pink

17. Because true fans of Sony have no responsibilities, and casual gamers have bills to pay.

Referring to post #1.

Don't be so ignorant.

Posted at 8:16PM on Oct 8th 2007 by J

18. @17

Good point, guess the new price is right up your alley.

Posted at 9:20PM on Oct 8th 2007 by Shattercross

19. Chill people. This is Sony remember? We can expect BC to be added completely in software eventually, enabling the feature on the 40gb models at some point.

Sony's problem is they don't have it working yet, and they need to drop the price ASAP for x-mas. So for now it doesn't have PS2 compatibility, making the 60 (and even 80) gb models more desirable until they sell through. I would be shocked if we don't see EE & GS-free PS3s with full software PS1 & 2 emulation in the spring.

Posted at 11:23PM on Oct 8th 2007 by erac3rx

20. I believe the will 'sell through' the 80/60s to clear the hardware and then announce the software emulation (they've been working on it for YEARS...remember it was even a surprise that the PS2 chips were in the PS3 as SONY had said they were planning software emulation all along.)

Still waiting for my purchase.

Posted at 11:56PM on Oct 8th 2007 by Kspraydad

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