PS3’s changing backwards compatibility has been a bone of contention throughout the console’s life. Arguably, now that there are so many games on the PS3, BC simply isn’t needed any more. And yet, the PS2 is still a powerful force in the console market and a linchpin in Sony’s games business. Now a new patent has come to light, pointing to a possible return of backwards compatibility in Sony’s latest console.
The patent describes a means of directly emulating the PS2’s Emotion Engine chipset using the PS3’s Cell Processor. Those with a keen memory for PS3 hardware models will recall that when the console first launched in the US, the original 60GB came with full PS2 backwards compatibility via an Emotion Engine chip.
In the UK we weren’t blessed with the same hardware backwards compatibility support, but in those early days there was a software solution that at least makes most games run to some degree. More recent PS3 models, including the 40GB and 80GB versions, have dropped backwards compatibility altogether, after the Graphics Synthesizer was removed to lower production costs.
This latest patent seems to imply that backwards compatibility may be on its way back. The only reason Sony could really have for wanting proper Emotion Engine emulation on the Cell Processor is to enable backwards compatibility. It’s even possible that it could be enabled via a firmware update, so in one fell swoop, every PS3 on the market would be capable of playing PS2 games.
If Sony coupled that with a massive PlayStation Store PS2 games sale… well, let’s just say it would have several gamers going weak at the bowels right here.