Is This How We'll Play PS2 Games On A PS3?

Sony has patented a means whereby you can play PS2 games on a PS3. And they're some kooky means.

Rather than releasing (or, well, re-releasing) a new model of the PS3 that's PS2-compatible, or a firmware update allowing PS2 games to run on all PS3s, or porting PS2 games to the PlayStation Network so they can be downloaded, Sony is thinking that maybe a disc-less PS2 that you plug into your PS3 might be the answer.

That's what this patent suggests at any rate, showing a small box that's essentially a PS2 sans the disc drive (it contains a CPU, memory, GPU and RAM), which you plug into your PS3. When the two are connected, you put a PS2 game in your PS3 and the box lets you run the game.

It's messy, tricky and will cost money, but for those who absolutely must play PS2 games - and lack the will or means to leave their older console plugged in - it mightn't be such a bad idea.

Note though that this is just a patent. Companies patent crazy ideas all the time, and it in no way suggests that this is something that will turn up in the marketplace one day.

Those not up to speed on PlayStation backwards compatibility, know that Sony's initial run of PlayStation 3 consoles included the ability for the machines to play PS2 games, a feature that was later - and controversially - removed.

Sony's PS2 adaptor patent explored [DigitalFoundry]


    I still don't understand... why can't they simply update the firmware? Surely it's a software issue, rather than a hardware issue?

    If someone has a bit more of an idea of the inner workings of the PS2/3, I'd love to know why they need extra hardware for the PS3 to run ps2 games.

    I really don't care for backwards compatibility at all... but I know there are hoards of people who want it. It will be interesting to see if the sales reflect these requests if sony do release some sort of peripheral

    I'd have liked a firmware update (if that was even possible), but hey, at least they're addressing the issue finally. If they release this, I'll snap one up on day one.

    I once heard, so there is absolutely no evidence for this that for a seamless emulation you needed almost 4 times the original specs of the machine to achieve.

      The more similar the hardware the easier it is to emulate, but the PS2 & PS3 are sooo different. Without a hardware solution, you'd have to emulate the function & performance of everything that's inside the PS2 within the memory of the PS3 eg. graphics, sound & memory addition to the game itself, which requires a lot of horsepower like you said.

        The original PS3 had emulation. It's not a hardware issue. Sony are just doing this because it's something they can charge for.

          The original PS3 did PS2 backwards compatibility with a mixture of hardware and software, hence it is not possible on current systems. They cited the additional hardware costs as the reason they stopped it in the first place.

            Yes it is an hardware issue cause Sony removed the hardware that allowed PS2 emulation in original PS3's to cut costs.

          Or by patenting it, they block others from creating and selling it.

    Wow, so those of us who have a PS3 with only 2 USB ports are pretty screwed. If you've got a PlayTV and a PS2 adaptor thingy then there's no available ports for charging the controllers!

      you have a computer, use that.

      Use a USB Hub man, converts one USB port into 4! Amazing 40 GB PS3 has 8 USB ports now...

    I wonder how much it would cost? Attachments, accessories all mean $$$. An optional backwards compatible software update with a price tag would be unpopular with the community - an acessory wouldn't have that negative stigma. Well not as bad I would think.

    I don't care how they do it, just do it already!

    Just buy a USB Hub, they aren't expensive.

    To be honest... I'd like one of these.
    My tv cabinet is completely full with the PS3 slim, 360 slim, Wii and Dreamcast. If I can shove this thing somewhere like on top or underneath the PS3 I will be very happy. I hate having to pull out my old consoles just to play a game! Convenience dammit!

    Oh and yes, I shouldn't need to explain why my Dreamcast sits next to my current gen consoles over others that could take its spot... Except maybe the SNES.

    Hmmm -imagines a Dreamcast and SNES taped together-

    they should just make an emulator and charge $50 for it

      Thats pretty much what this thing would be, an external emulator.

    They should make an emulator available to PSPlus subscribers... stop subscribing, lose the ability to play PS2 games.

      -Stuffs a rag in your mouth- Nah, Sony, he didn't say anything.

    The idea comes from PS3 Jailbreak (or maybe it's the other way round)

    Originally the first run of PS3's incorporated both the physical GPU and CPU of the PS2 to serve backwards compatibility to those of us who have a substantial dollar investment in our games collections. This was because emulating the functions of both these items was not possible.

    In order to cut costs the second production run of PS3's incorporated a part software part hardware solution. The functions of the PS2 CPU were emulated while the PS3 retained a physical PS2 GPU as the functions provided by the GPU were to complex to emulate in the PS3's CPU due to the considerable dfferences in arhitecture.

    Eventually they dropped backwards compatibility altogether when they dropped the PS2 GPU out of all (at the time) new PS3's. The reason why they dont or wont release a software only solution is because it would be extremely dificult to implement if nigh on impossible. The only option for those of you with new PS3's who wish to preserve and enjoy your investment in your older games is a hardware solution. This is reasonable, though frankly I would look into incorporating it into a new line of PS3's as well and charge a premium for those.

      i completely disagree.

      everything is emulatable in software, and surely we have fast enough hardware now to do ps2, i mean isnt there a emu for the iphone for the ps2?!!!!

    I have enough issues keeping on top of PS3 games, I can't imagine when let alone why I would ever play a PS2 game again. I put in a few PS1 games recently and laughed my head off that I used to play them.
    I could understand a few years ago when there was so little content, but now..... There are so many great games in HD.


      Your assertion that everything is emulatable in software is not exactly accurate, in the same way that emulation is not exactly perfect. Emulation is a poor substitute for physical components period.
      This can be demonstrated very capably if you take a look at the last compatible software list for the PS3's that incorporated partial PS2 emulation. It is not perfect, as a matter of fact it's as far from perfect as you can get. The inherent complexity in fully software emulating the PS2 on the PS3 is still not fully resolved. Sony filed a patent in 2008 that discussed a possible method for achieving this. To date no complete product or workble solution has been offered.

    To all these people who claim that PS2 emulation via software is not possible on the PS3, I'd like to direct your attention to the PCSX2 emulator which requires little more than your average Pentium4 to operate quite well, and that's been done by reverse engineering, so clearly Sony with their access to the specs of the PS2 could surely do a better job. You can't tell me that a PS3 is not more powerful than a 2ghz P4 now can you ? So why is emulation so "impossible" if a 5 year old PC can do it with ease ?

      But see, it's not all about processor speed - you've got to factor in the architecture you're working in. Reproducing the dual core setup of the Emotion Engine isn't actually that hard with a single core P4 chip, you just jam all the parallel processes into alternate clock cycles and you're there.

      Contrast this with spreading these two command threads across eight different co-processors efficiently, and then re-integrating the output into a simulation of two processors - and doing it as quickly as the Emotion Engine did it, or customers whinge. That's a much bigger job, especially when PS2 devs spent years finetuning for the EE hardware architecture so you have to reproduce all those quirks.

      The PS3 is really powerful, but it has some unique development challenges that take some getting around - if they wanted to devote the resources to proper emulation in software, they'd have to charge for it, and if they're going to charge money, they might as well save themselves the hassle and flog the old hardware again for cheap. And here it is...

      (I just wish I still had my launch 'staysh.)

      Err. That kind of emulation isn't completely perfect. There are some glitches and as well as refusal to run the games given some specific code switches.

      To be honest, it'll be interesting if Sony does release an external emulator.

      Producing an emulator requires effort. If Sony is going to expend that effort, then there needs to be some return on investment.

      Presumably they don't think they'd see that ROI on sales of boxed PS2 games in stores. I've always thought that they'd release an emulator when it becomes cost effective to sell the games on the PSN store.

    all i see here is something that rather looks like what they connected to allow hacked games on the PS3 and something that would be even more prime for hacking to allow hacked games in the future

    I'm just gonna take comfort in the fact that if this was Microsoft, they would probably ask me to buy an entire console instead of a small peripheral.

      All 360's have backwards compatability built into them from the get-go.
      No extra charge required.

        Almost... they have a list of games that work, and there's a team always adding more... but not everything is guaranteed to work on a 360.

    Do PS3s still have the memory card option in the menu? Man, that was a real kick in the balls buying a 40gb...

    Depending on the price, this'll probably be an insta-buy for me.

    can we just have a mega awesome external device? i'm sure people are starting to find they are running out of USB slots by now and hate having to change me :P

    Too late Sony, I went with 360. Loving KotOR!

    If they make it so it can up-res so the PS2 games don't look like turds on my tv, I'm in!

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