After the announcement that European PS3s wouldn't include the graphics synthesizer chip to enable full backwards compatibility, the Internet exploded with discussion and critique. But since then, the impact has dissipated, as it was estimated that around 1,000 PS1 and PS2 games would still be playable on launch day. And today, Sony's head of Worldwide Studios, Phil Harrison, has confirmed that PAL PS3s will indeed be able to play around 1,200 PS1 and PS2 titles, provided gamers download the necessary firmware update from the PlayStation Network.
Harrison issued the confirmation yesterday at a European demonstration of Home and LittleBigPlanet . He said the Euro PS3s will already have firmware update version 1.5 installed, and the backwards compatibility update (1.6) will be ready directly on launch day, March 23. And of course, he ensured everyone that Sony would be working to make more old games compatible with the PS3 as times goes on.
Update 1.6 will also include the activation of the PS3's Remote Play feature, which lets users download media on the PS3 and watch it on the PSP. Or, on the flip side, you can tap into the PS3's web browser via the PSP.
In the end, while 1,200 isn't as good as the 98% backwards compatibility the Japanese and U.S. PS3s boast, it's still not bad. And besides, with the emulation, they now have the option of perhaps upscaling old games, which is the one added benefit of hardware/software emulation.