Everyone is talking about the need for a PlayStation 3 price cut, but let's not forget that Sony loyalists have been craving another feature for the past few years…
It was included in the original 60GB PS3 machine that launched back in late 2006 in North America, but it was the last console to boast the graphics synthesizer chip that emulated 99% of all PS2 software. The next PS3 switched to emulation and only handled a certain percentage of PS2 software and as it stands now, the standard 80GB PS3 doesn't support PS2 games at all. However, Sony just got finished saying at their E3 press conference that they'll continue to produce their last-generation machine and according titles as long as its relevant in the marketplace, so the call for PS3s to play PS2 games hasn't died. So with all this talk of a potential slimming of the PS3, might they also re-institute what that lacking Emotion Engine did? What if the cell processor could finally support the latter? Well, according to a US patent filed by Sony, this may no longer be a dream. The schematics you find via that link represent the evidence: Figure 4 is "an example of a host system based on a cell processor that may be configured to emulate the target system." The target system in this case is Figure 3B; the Emotion Engine.
So, what do you think? Has Sony finally decided to listen to all the fan demand for the re-implementation of backwards compatibility for PS2 software? Will the new PS3s – slim or not – have the capability the very first systems had? It now seems likely. We'll definitely keep an eye on this and keep you up-to-date…
It's so strange, whenever I hear about anyone having a b/c PS3 it's the 60gb one, but …although mine is currently being shipped off to Sony for repairs, mine was an 80gb with b/c. Strange… maybe there was just a short supply of them or something.
Last edited by Zemus101 on 6/29/2009 9:36:13 PM
Nothing strange about that. The 1st 80gb Skus in 2007 had the emulator. The last PS3 to do it was the MGS4 bundle.
Not really, the 80GB that came with MGS4 bundle and the 80GB before that did Partial Emulation. It has some of the hardware to emulate the PS2 and whatever else it lacks on hardware it emulates via software.
My 80GB MGS4 edition so far has played everything I have thrown at it, and I do still play quite a lot PS2 games on it.
Most likely you were one of the lucky ones that got the 80GB with BC.
My 60 gb just took a dump on me. 80010514. Blagh! Cost me a 150 bucks. If this is true. Ill buy this one.
I still use my PS3 (original 20GB sku) for PS2 games so there are ppl out there that want it. And just to add, playing games like SOTC, GoW2, and FF12 support progressive scan. I never had a HDTV back in those days, so to play games like that again on my HDTV in progressive scan…give it a whole other experience.
Wouldn't it be cool if Sony could do this with a firmware update?
Last edited by King James on 6/29/2009 9:43:05 PM
Hey King, that is exactly what I did, plays SotC in full Progressive scan glory with widescreen support on my HD TV.
GoW1, 2 looked amazing and I'm happy I waited to play those games after getting my PS3 and HD TV!
I was surprised how well they ran on the 3.
As long as they can do full software PS2 emulation, then yes, it could done on ALL PS3s sold via a FW update. Theoretically, the PS3 should be powerful enough to do it (if you buy the 40X faster than PS2 stat for the PS3), but unless it's close to perfect, it could be more of a headache than a blessing, which is probably why they dropped it in the first place.
Last edited by xnonsuchx on 6/29/2009 11:10:09 PM
umm…what's progressive scan? i've seen the option on god of war 2 but i have no idea what it does.
in "1080p" the p stands for progressive scan.
Progressive scan is where the entire image is sent with each frame. Interlaced images are sent as two half frames each with half the lines – think in terms of the odd lines and then the even lines being sent on alternate clock ticks at 60 ticks a second. Every second clock tick, the two halves are merged into a single image – so called de-interlacing.
With the progressive scan, every line of the image is sent with every frame so unlike interlaced images, each clock tick a full image is sent, and builds line by line – progressively, without having to be merged with another image.
Normally in fast moving video, progressive scan will look far sharper and clearer. Interlaced video sources tend to have slightly smudged edges, and with poor de-interlacing you can see tearing where the individual lines are visibly shearing apart as part of the image visibly moves faster than the other.
it'd be great to replay San Andreas, Black, and SOTC, but I won't hold my breath.
Last edited by Superman915 on 6/29/2009 9:40:35 PM
Not sure about San Adreas, Black looks OK and SotC looks great, it natively suports widescreen and progressive scan so it looks better than playing it on a regular TV.
Just as a side note, many PS2 titles did support progressive scan and Widescreen on the PS2 itself, so if you had it hooked correctly to a HD TV it looked amazing. Try Prince of Persia:SoT and GoW1 and 2.
Im not holding my breath because a firmware update is unlikely because I don't see them giving away what cost them so much to ass before for free although man I would love to throw my old ps2 fighters on my 80gig.
haha i noticed where you said there was a typo
oh well it's all good, so no worries
if it is true, then it is such a rip-off for gamers who purchased the PS3 40G,80G,160G consoles during the period from the discontinued b/c consoles to the new consoles with new emotion engines.
to make this fair, sony should refund all the consoles without b/c and replace them with the new consoles that have the emotion engines.
Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 6/29/2009 11:29:10 PM
that would probably cost more than M$'s big fiasco with the 360
yeah probably not. but bummer for me, i just bought my pS# and it'd suck big time if the new SKU were to have the b/c… just by a couple of months.. darn….
If this is indeed full software emulation, then ALL PS3s would be able to utilize it, not just new ones.
Yeah, it come via a firmware update.
They are probably going to add it to the slim so it can justify the $399 price tag and the current one would come down to $299;Or all of this could mean absolutely nothing and we are just reading to deep into it.
I still have my orig 60gb that I got on day 1, and have loved going back and playing all the Ratchet and Clank, GoW, DMC games that I missed last gen. It would be awesome for other people that are just now getting into the PS3 to experience this too, or even the upgraders from the PS2 to still have a valid library in the current generation.
Sorry my key board skipped I meant "mass produce" and not "ass" please excuse and respond (^-^)
So is it possible for an update to be rolled out that will enable some PS2 BC for people that have PS3s with no BC? That would be awesome!Or is it just for new PS3s that will be produced in the future?
I'm glad I have the 60 gig one, I really like being able to play PS2 games on it
I am one of those that missed the best generation of gaming (PS2). I always hoped that BC is brought back to the PS3 so i can try what i missed.
i think they would make it installable for older PS3s, and included for newer versions.
Guys it says that the Cell processor will emulate the PS2 emotion engine, every single PS3 has a Cell in it. I am sure it should be possible on all PS3 across the board, so cool it!
what they SHOULD do is release a free update, to 40, 80, and 160 gb ps3's to add some ps2 bc. then they SHOULD add on this new technology to the a slim, model, sell it for 299 and increase advertising. This is what they SHOULD do to save the PS3.
Coming this Fall, mark my words.
When i saw the title of this article, i was really happy until i saw the question mark….
300$ slimmed down with emotion engine ps3.
200$ Very light psp 3000 with touch screen, slid text pad where the screen is, second analog stick, and removable R2 and L2 buttons and camera
( http://psp2hacks.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/psp2concept2ac4.jpg ).
Last edited by SnipeySnake on 6/29/2009 10:22:49 PM
I don't own any PS2 games (lost them/sold them), so I am not so concerned about BC. However I would like to be able to buy some on PSN, and from what I understand they need an emulator for this. In my opinion they are sitting on a gold mine there, they should get on that, a lot of people would pick up some of those games.
Why would anyone give me a thumb down on this? I think I know who it was…why so petty?
Well, bringing back B/C would truely be an added bonus for all those who don't already have it.
Got a couple questions for anyone in the "Tech-know" fields(such as our resident guru, Highlander).
Q1. Are there any differences in a PS2 game playing between an emulator, and the actual Emotion chip itself?????
Q2. I've heard that the emulator in those older 80 Giggers only played about 80% of the PS2 games, so is that correct that it won't or can't play the full 100% of PS2 games? And if so, then why?
I can tell you mine won't run Soul Calibur III, the thing is slower than hell. So yeah there's just some games it won't run. Why? Hellif I know.
The BC in an original 20/60GB unit is essentially the same as having a slim PS2 stuffed into the casing. The 80GB BC systems (MotorStorm bundle) use a partial software, partial hardware solution, and no original PS2 hardware is involved. The EE is fully emulated in software and the GS is partially emulated, and mostly 'replaced' by a custom chip solution that was presumably cheaper for Sony (can't see how, the PS2 is a single chip these days…)
The difference is that with the 80GB systems some high profile games – such as soul Calibur III – don't work well, or at all. The problem is that some really good developers used the GS hardware in ways that are not standard. These non-standard methods, sometimes exploiting hidden functions or undocumented features of the GS often helped performance greatly. However the software emulation of the GS is based on the specifications and PS2 platform specs. Many of these hidden features or shortcuts are not emulated, and so some games will fail to run, or run with issues – such as poor performance.
Sony has updated the emulation several times improving it as they go. Even so the emulation only covers 80-85% of all PS2 games.
I've got the 80 gig Motorstorm bundle with software B/c and so far I've only got one game it won't run. Sony's history of listening to their fans is the only thing that makes me think this might be for real. Hang in there guys, it'll happen. On a sidenote, it's just a good idea because I don't wanna buy more memory cards for my PS2 and that sucker is full. I'm sure many people are in the same boat. Delete my saves? are you crazy?
I wouldn't read too much into patents. At best it means their investigating the possibility. It's standard practice at large companies like Sony to patent anything that's even potentially useful, whether you end up using it or not.
This is sweet, maybe when they release the firmware or however they plan to release this I'll buy another PS3 so like that my family can stop bugging about watching movies or playing PS2 games.
I noticed a couple of people saying that the progressive setting is "better." Well I beg to differ. If you set the upscale on the picture looks more smoother and defined than opposed to having the standard 480p on. I've tested this on a few of my games like GoW and the picture looks beautiful.
Ah, late to the party I am….
Alright, here goes.
The Cell BE already emulates the Emotion Engine, and in fact does a fairly excellent job of it too. It's been doing it for about two years, and every BC system sold in Europe and all the 80GB BC systems sold elsewhere has it built in.
The problem chip for a fully software backwards compatible solution in software isn't the EE, it's the Graphic Synthesizer.
The Cell is almost tailor made to emulate the EE since the EE features a single general purpose core and two math units which the SPEs on the Cell are well suited to emulate. So emulating the EE on the cell is relatively straight forward, of course the trick is to do it sufficiently fast enough that the emulation can execute the same millions of instructions a second that the EE processor itself can do.
The original 20GB and 60GB systems include the entire PS2 chipset resulting in a backwards compatibility that matches the slim PS2.
When Sony brought the original 80GB units with backwards compatibility they did away with the Emotion engine and Graphics Synthesizer chipset and replaced it with a software emulation of the EE and a partial emulation of the GS along with a specially designed custom chip that emulates the functions of the GS that couldn't easily be emulated by software.
The compatibility in the 80GB units has improved greatly since it was originally launched. When it first arrived the compatibility was something like 80% of all PS2 games ever released, but there were many key titles that didn't work. However firmware updates have improved the compatibility of that emulation. I don't know the compatibility figure now, but I do know that there are fewer high profile titles that don't work, and fewer games that have glitches.
When Sony yanked the BC solution completely in a fit of pointless cost cutting, everyone expected that they would make good on their stated intent of doing BC completely in software. They haven't done it yet, although lots of people remain hopeful.
The biggest hurdle is that the GS chip is a tad on the unique side, and has a very, very wide data bus in it that results in peak bandwidth (how fast it can shunt data around from place to place) that is difficult for a software emulation to match. The Cell and RSX have hardware internally that is capable of handling that requirement, however it's difficult to balance that requirement with the rest of the emulation. Many of the online articles you can find on the topic talk in depth about this, and it seems like it's a hurdle that may not be overcome. However there are other methods, for example emulating the graphics of the PS2 at a software level, and not simply emulating the hardware.
Some point to PC based emulation as an example and say that Sony must be able to do it. One thing to remember is that even with all the ridiculous GPU hardware and the latest quad core systems from Intel, there is no PS2 emulation on PC that plays more than a handful of games in anything like real time. Even the best PC based emulation is incompatible with or unable to run, more than 90% of PS2 games.
I'm not sure when this patent is from, the linked article didn't contain a patent number, but this seems suspiciously like one of the early Cell patents.
It's entirely possible that Sony has solved the technical problems with the GS emulation, they have had the time to work on it, and heaven knows that no one else knows the PS2 better than they do. Personally I think that either they have solved it, or they know how, and eventually PS2 compatibility will arrive via a PSN downloadable application that they'll charge something like $20 for. The new emulation will more than likely be able to play downloadable PS2 games as well as PS2 games on DVD. This is pure speculation on my part, but it makes the most sense as that way Sony can transition not only PS1 and PSP games to PSN, but also the very lucrative PS2 library. It makes too much sense for it not to be on the agenda at some time.
So what your saying is that my 80gb MotorStorm bundle doesn't have the PS2 chipset in it? I thought it did.
Thanks for the info.
The only PS3s with hardware PS2 support were the original launch PS3s.
BTW Highlander I think you should talk to Ben about possibly writing some articles. You not only know what your talking about but you take the time to explain it to us common folk.
Thanks. Ben is a far, far better writer than I.
Besides, I'm happy to contribute from the peanut gallery when I have the time. Less pressure and no deadlines. Plus when I'm wrong about something, the worst that happens is I have to apologize for my error.
Yeah, thanks for the info. I thought my 80 gigger had the chipset to, although I did notice that a few games are a little glitchy sometimes. Any FMV sequence in GT4 always seems to be a little off.
Either way though, I'm still loving it, and it's good to go back and play the classics once in a while, but if I didn't have that option? There's still lots of PS3 games that keep me entertained.
The 80GB systems do have some hardware built into them, but it's not the EE chip, or the original GS chip. It's more of a helper chip for the GS emulation, with the EE done completely in software. That's why the compatibility of the 80GB systems is different from the 20/60GB units.
Way, way, way back…Sony said that they wanted to do PS2 and PS1 compatibility in software without the use of hardware, but the software only PS2 compatibility wasn't ready when the PS3 was nearing launch. So Sony went with the option of including the PS2 chip set on the PS3 motherboard. It's not a very elegant solution and does add cost and complexity. The 80GB systems were a step in the direction of software based PS2 compatibility, but it wasn't as good as hardware, and it still included some hardware, and so there was still some additional complexity and cost. Once that hardware was removed, PS2 compatibility could only be provided through software.
The full software based PS2 emulation either isn't ready, or Sony isn't ready to release it. For everyone with 40/80/160GB PS3s that do not have any PS2 hardware at all (not even the helper chip). You need to understand that a fully software based PS2 emulator *would* work just as well for you as any other PS3 model, so don't worry. So long as PS2 compatibility is provided through software *ALL* PS3 models are are covered.
3 "Harrah's" for highlander!
He's always coming through in the clutch when this non-techie bonehead only holds a vowel, but still hasn't any clue.
Well i used to have a PS3, but then it stopped reading all the discs, I'm not getting a new PS3 for a while (Start Uni this year o.0) but if they did make it compatible like my old 60GB that would probaly encourage me enough.
this could be good news for most ppl,i for one still use a couple of ps2 games i was very excited when i found out the ps3 was going to support this feature..i mean why wouldnt it..im an old skool ps veteren,ive been online since it got turned on..some of you would proberbly remember one of the first games to come out online,a game called hardware online arena,it was a flop at first not selling many copies,then sony released it for free with the network adaptor,then it became very popular,so when the ps3 came out i sold my ps2 thinking i was gonna play my favourite game on my shiny new monster,only to find out it doesnt bloody work on it,i was gutted.im still not giving up hope though,i have faith