Sony Patents Method To Emulate PS2 On PS3

My single biggest problem with the PS3? The loss of backwards compatibility. It's a gaping hole in the system's feature set. Then again, it may also be one that's on the way back.

Some background: when the PS3 first launched, it was backwards-compatible, meaning you could play PlayStation 2 games on your new PlayStation 3. The 20GB and 60GB units released in North America and Japan featured hardware emulation (they literally had a PS2 chip inside), while those released in PAL territories featured software emulation (similar to how the 360 handles original Xbox games).

Later, though, this feature was removed. Anyone buying a 40GB, 80GB or 120GB PS3 couldn't play a single PS2 game on them. It was a stupid, stupid move on the part of Sony.

A patent discovered by Siliconera, however, suggests that Sony might be re-thinking this stance. Filed in December 2008, it's basically a patent for a method that would allow the PS3's Cell chip to translate code from the PS2's Emotion Engine. Not half-assed software emulation (which in previous PS3 models couldn't run some games), full, total replication of the functionality of the Emotion Engine.

Which means, theoretically at least, you could play any PS2 game on any PS3, regardless of the model or year of release.

Whether this would allow you to play actual PS2 discs, or would just be the advance party for the sale of PS2 downloads on the PlayStation Store is unclear. We'd like the former, but with Sony being a business and all, would expect the latter.

Sony Patents Emotion Engine Emulation Technology For Cell Processors [Siliconera]


    Anyone know the full reasoning behind taking out software emulation from the PS3 at all? Was it because it was so half-assed? Frankly, being able to play any limited number of titles could still be better than none at all.

      I'm guessing a cost/price thing. They dropped a few features for the 40gb. Less card/usb slots and the backwards compatibility was dropped. Cost less to make, therefore they could "afford" to sell it for less money.

        The emulation for PAL was done in software. It actually took more effort to take it out than to leave it in.

        Also, Sony openly admitted it was because they wanted people to buy (more expensive) PS3 games instead.

      My undestanding is that the PS2 emulation on European 60Gb was a hybrid, part software part hardware (as in the software expected certain hardware support). My guess is that later PS3 models had that hardware support removed.

      Software emulation, specially of a complex system like the PS2 is extremely difficult.

    Hopefully its the former, would love to be able to just use the one console to play both libraries.

    Saying "Not half-assed software emulation" is a somewhat deceptive choice of words, because that implies that all software emulation is half-assed, and this new method is not software emulation. Which it is. Unless they are putting a new PS2 chip into new PS3s, it most definitely is software emulation. All they've done is build a better emulator (possibly leveraging a new emulation technique).

    I actually had to go and buy a new PS2, since getting an original run PS3 here is so damn expensive.

    Best decision I made all year, since then I got games like Okami and Psychonauts that I never had time for with my original PS2.

    Would love Sony forever if they released a proper emulator in the firmware. Let's all cross our fingers for it being in 3.00.

    I really hope they do go through with this - one of the things that I was impressed with when I upgraded from PS1 to PS2 was the backwards compatibility. My only regret in getting my PS3 was not trying to track down a 60GB, but I figured that they'd eventually patch it in. Here's hoping still.


    -The original PS3 had a complete PS2 chipset (EE and GS). Compatible with ~99.9% PS2 stuff.

    -The next revision had -part- of the PS2 chipset with the other part emulated in software. Compatible with <99.9% (much less) PS2 stuff.

    -The latest PS3 has no PS2 hardware. No PS2 compatibility - yet...

    If Sony are looking at making all PS3 versions capable of playing PS2 software, this would mean full software-based emulation (half-assed or not?), for it to work with the last version PS3.

    I suspect this will be a download service with a "selection" of PS2 games modified/patched to be usable with PS3-hosted software emulation.

    Just a guess.

    I'm still impressed that the 360 can emulate an original Xbox, (a more powerful machine than the PS2). Yet the supposedly "superior" Cell based PS3 cant emulate PS2 let alone something more powerful...

    Supercomputer indeed!

      Xbox smu is very, very limited. It plays far less games than PS3 emu. It's similar to bleem, tailored to specific games.

      Also, it's been dropped, so no additional games will be supported. Part of the "drop the original xbox as fast as possible" policy at MS.

    Xbox 360 emulation is a joke, if you cant make a title run 100% like it should don't emulate it at all. Best example Red Dead Revolver and the missing textures.

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