Sony blog Three Speech talked to Sony Computer Entertainment of Europe about last week's announcement that the PS3 wouldn't be fully backwards compatible.
People weren’t expecting this announcement. Surely we have the right to know the number of PAL supported games before the launch?
We have been assessing the extent of backward compatibility, and will continue to do so right up until launch. It is therefore not possible to provide a specific number of backwards compatible titles at this stage, but close to launch consumers will be able to check whether their titles are compatible with PS3 by looking at the list of compatible titles at http://faq.eu.playstation.com/bc. This site will be available on 23rd March to meet launch day.
Does this mean that the PS2 hardware chips have been removed completely and replaced with software-only emulation?
The original PS3 used the Emotion Engine/Graphics Synthesiser to emulate PS2 titles. With the latest European specification we have removed the Emotion Engine, retaining the graphics chip. This has an impact on the number of PS2 titles that will be backwards compatible.
If this is a business decision to save cost, why are users left to bear the burden, having to purchase a system inferior to those sold in the US and Japan at a higher price?
The PS3 launching in Europe is every bit as powerful as the PS3s available currently in North America and Japan. PS3 is defined by key features such as the CELL broadband engine, its Blu-ray drive, the SIXAXIS Controller and its ability to output full 1080P HD game content which makes it an entertainment system for the future, without equal.
PS one titles remain backwards compatible and we will continue to assess the compatibility of PS2 titles right up until launch We will continue to offer firmware upgrades to increase the number of titles that are compatible, but 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.
How will consumers be able to tell the difference between the fully compatible launch model available in America and Japan and the new degraded model?
On the external packaging of the PS3 there will be a small ‘PAL’ logo to denote that the PS3 is built for the European market (North American and Japanese models have a ‘NTSC’ logo). The model number will also appear on the label stuck to the top flap of the PS3 packaging (beginning CECHC followed by two digits – see below).
In addition, each PS3 carries a barcode and serial number on the back of the system. At the end of the unique serial number for each console is the model number. In the SCEE territories there are four model numbers:
UK and Ireland: CECHC03
Australia/New Zealand: CECHC02
Will the new updated hardware version improve the quality of the images of PS2 games on the PS3, as the current crop have been highly criticised?
This has already been achieved by a firmware upgrade, which will be incorporated in European launch models