There hasn't been any great news concerning the upcoming launch of the PlayStation 3 in Europe for as long as I can remember, and this one is no different. As if the late launch and high price point weren't bad enough, Sony's latest press release brings even more bad news! Today, while announcing the PS3's hardware specification for Europe, they subtly hinted that the PlayStation 3 will only be compatible with a "limited range" of PlayStation 2 titles:
"The European PS3 will feature the Cell Broadband Engine, 60 GB hard disc drive, Blu-ray Disc player, built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, SIXAXIS wireless controller. It also embodies a new combination of hardware and software emulation which will enable PS3 to be compatible with a broad range of original PlayStation (PS) titles and a limited range of PlayStation 2 (PS2) titles."
Just how limited are we talking about? Well, a Sony spokesperson was already quoted by Reuters as saying that "the backwards compatibility is not going to be as good as in the US and Japanese models", so prepare for the worst. SCE Europe president, David Reeves basically says so himself, as well, in the communique:
"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."
As a "brilliant" measure to cut production costs, it appears that Sony is removing the Emotion Engine (PS2) chip from the European units. So, instead of using hardware emulation for running PS2 games, the European PS3 will use software emulation - hence the lower compatibility rate (PCSX2 comes to mind...).
This also means that additional PS2 titles will only become compatible on the PS3 system through future firmware updates, the first of which will be made available on day one of the console's PAL launch. Also on March 23, users will be able to check whether their favorite titles are compatible with PS3 at faq.eu.playstation.com/bc.
Even the look of the PAL console could be less impressive, as suggested by analyst Datamonitor, who believes that Sony will launch the PS3 in Europe with a "new chassis", designed to bring down manufacturing costs. What's next? Throwing out the Blu-Ray drive?
This is good this if it brings price cuts who buys a ps3 for ps2 games anyway?