One of the biggest selling points of the PS3 was its full (or pretty darn close to full) backwards compatibility; the system plays 98% of all PS2 games and the vast majority of PS1 games. But the PAL PS3s won't have the graphics synthesizer chip, which means that system will have to rely on a combination of software/hardware emulation to play old PlayStation titles. We had heard lots of estimates since then concerning the exact number of games that will work on the PAL PS3, but now, we have a more official set of numbers.

About 72% of all PAL PS2 titles will work on the PS3 right from the get-go, provided users download the latest firmware update ( Version 1.6 ), which will be ready on March 22, the day before the Euro launch. You'll be able to play 1,782 of the 2,451 games available for the European PS2s. If you'd like to know exactly which games will work and which ones won't, Sony has launched a new website just for you.

You may notice that most of the high-profile titles will work, but as is the case with emulation, some of the b/c titles won't function at 100% capacity. Sony has issued some hints in order to get problematic titles to run better, such as disconnecting non-essential USB peripherals, skipping FMVs, limiting the number of non-network players to seven, and avoiding the 60Hz mode. But emulation is not a perfect science, and David Reeves, president of SCE Europe, has said engineers were "working overtime" to make sure the PS3 was able to play a "significant number of playable PS2 titles for the European launch."

"We will be adding additional titles to this list in future firmware upgrades, but as we have made clear before, in the future our resources will be increasingly focused on developing new services and entertainment features exclusively for PS3, rather than on delivering PS2 backwards compatibility."

This sounds a whole lot like Microsoft's philosophy with the Xbox 360. They've been using emulation from the start – and thereby creating the worst backwards compatibility setup out there – but they've added big-name titles over the past year to the list. However, such work will begin to slow (if it hasn't already) as the generation advances and gamers are less interested in playing last-generation titles. So in other words, Reeves' words make sense from a business standpoint.

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