PS3 backward comp change due to costs

Sony Computer Entertainment Australia boss says software emulation cheaper for Sony PS3 models in Australia, Europe; downplays effect on prospective PS3 owners.

Sony AU managing director Michael Ephraim.

When news first broke late last week of PlayStation 3 units in Australia and Europe being less backward compatible than US and Japanese models, many speculated that the move was all about cutting costs on Sony's next-generation console. Sony Computer Entertainment Australia managing director Michael Ephraim has now confirmed that to GameSpot AU, saying that software emulation of PlayStation 2 games was the cheaper option for Sony on the PS3.

The Australian and European model of the PlayStation 3, which is set for launch on March 23, 2007, will use different hardware specifications from the models already released in Japan on November 11, 2006, and in the US on November 17. Backward compatibility is one of the key differences, with the new PS3s compatible with only a "limited range" of PS2 titles and a "broad range" of original PlayStation games. Ephraim said the main reason behind the different compatibilities is that Australian/European PS3s will not ship with the Emotion Engine chip installed. The Emotion Engine is the name Sony coined for the PS2's CPU. While the list of backward-compatible PS/PS2 games will be limited on launch, Sony will be providing regular updates to expand that list, Ephraim said.

"Clearly cost is one of the [reasons]. If software is cheaper than the cost of the chip, then why not do that?" Ephraim said. "We will be working on delivering backward compatibility through software emulation. The software-emulation list will grow, and there's a Web site people can check to see what games are backward compatible. It will be a progressive emulation."

Ephraim played down the importance of backward compatibility on the PS3, saying that the new console has plenty more to offer prospective buyers.

"People will be able to play quite a few [PS and PS2] games. PS games are not a problem. I think PS2 backward compatibility is important, but when you look at what PS3's doing with new games, digital content, and so on, that specific functionality may not be as important as previously felt. But then again, that is something the consumer has to decide on. We are intending to deliver backward compatibility--just through different means," he said.

Ephraim said the full list of backward-compatible games that will be ready for the PS3's Australian and European launches was still being confirmed. Sony's Web site will feature a full list that goes live on March 23.

Written By

Randolph is the managing editor of GameSpot, and needs more time to play games.

Discussion

515 comments
juan99692k6
juan99692k6

Sony has failed us in that promise of BC I admit it. however, there's something we could do about it. If you wanna play your PS2 Games so bad just get a damn ps2 people. Now Sony makes it slim so that saves you space and they are cheap too !!! from $100 to $120 so there you go. to check the prices from gamestop.com go here: http://www.gamestop.com/search.asp?PerPage=25&N=139+83

Sing_loon
Sing_loon

Whaaaat! To play on PS2 games its advised to skip FMVs!! Grrrr! I just wanted to play my Final Fantasies anf MGS! They don't even work properly!! Please Sony make the emulation software perfect!!!

southpark11
southpark11

I dont understand u guys saying i wont get a PS3 coz of no BC, when most of u have a PS2 to start with? Also with a blue ray player being nearly double the price of a PS3 !!!! I dont c why people r such Tight with the Cash, But Spin so much Bull

SeanBond
SeanBond

You won't regret your decision, blade_tek. Welcome to the darkside ;)

blade_tek
blade_tek

Like many of you I have cancelled my PS3 pre-order. I don't care about you people comparing PS3 to 360. I was promised BC and now you don't get it to its full extent. This is only half the PS3 that was originally unveiled all those years ago. It really is like buying a V6 car and being told, oh sorry were a cheap ass company so you only get 5 cylinders with your model. Oh you'll be waiting another 6 months before you can get it as well. But still buy it we have only lied to you twice now. A 360 and Wii for the same price as a PS3, I'll be picking them up on the weekend. Only thing I can't do with them, watch Blu Ray Movies. Big Deal there are none in Australia anyway. Those of you still reeling from the Sony Hype engine like I was, just take a step back and look at the other options on the market. They really are quite good. Good luck to you all, don't ignore the truth.

rl21277
rl21277

Well this is quite a load of @($@*!!. If they are going to takeout the Emotion Engine then they should also lower the price at launch. Paying 160% more for a console that is going to be downgraded is not cool. Australian and European players have had to wait, will be paying more than US & Japan counterparts and for an inferior product.

rarson
rarson

I agree that we shouldn't be blaming Sony for passing the cost to the consumer, because they're already eating well over this cost. You're still paying less to own it than it costs Sony to make it. But the problem is, it's not our fault that Sony's hardware costs so much more. Microsoft and Nintendo have the right to break even or even MAKE money because their price points make them worth buying for the software that's available. The fact is that Microsoft's hardware is more than competitive with Sony's and it's a lot cheaper. Nintendo didn't even bother trying to buy the best hardware, they just tried to make games more fun and more accessible to new gamers and it worked. You can't blame them that their cost is so low that even selling it for profit, the price seems reasonable. After all, that IS how businesses usually operate: selling their products to make a profit.

metalisticpain
metalisticpain

People are using the argument, but but 360 did it to so you can all stop whining. Did Microsoft promis it? No Did sony? Yes The fact is Sony Promised BC. Now they shaft it for Software emulation because they are losing money on a console that shouldve have been attempted for another 4 years. So they must now srimp and save after seeing the amount of money flowing down the drain after the japan and America launch. People may say, oh stop whining it will have good BC anyway" But that isnt the point. The point is. WE are PAYING MORE for LESS, We waited 3 month longer and then they cant even give us the same build for the console. Microsoft didnt promise BC like Sony did thats why it doesnt matter. Sony did promise and now they are going into damage controll to try and stem the flow of money going down the drain.

thakingrocka
thakingrocka

this could be good. the 360 BC is far superior thru emulation. we get 720p with 4x AA. if the ps3 does that, then it jumps up a notch in my book. that's 100 times better than the full range of games at 480p. for real guys, the ps2 games are looking pretty rough on the hdtv and emulation is the better approach in my opinion.

chikahiro94
chikahiro94

@pencilpusher69 Can't argue with you there - I've had similar arguments about the PS3 as well. I was more pointing out what I disagreed with in SteelSamurai101's post. 1) Sony isn't (realistically) in a position to lower their retail prices yet. They're eating $200+ per PS3 sold. So that's at least $200 million per million PS3's sold. Expecting them to pass on a $30 saving on manufacturing, but not considering the R&D costs of reengineering the PS3 for the change or for BC development, and the losses incurred on hardware subsidization is a little silly. If Sony was selling everything at cost, that would be a different story, but they're not. 2) If someone is going to harp on Sony for not lowering their price despite them losing money as is, they should be screaming at Microsoft (who isn't losing money per 360 on manufacturing costs, but isn't profitable yet) and Nintendo (making a profit per Wii sold and bragged about it before launch) even more, as they can lower their prices but aren't doing so.

brreed68
brreed68

Nice. Cutting costs by leaving stuff out and still charging more than the motion equipped US and Japanese console. Sony...I really want to like you but you seem to be shafting Australian gamers all the time. For me its the last straw. No PS3 for me.

Beards_Mahoney
Beards_Mahoney

I just seem to remember a certain Sony Exec at a certain very large trade show saying some certain unkind things about a certain competitor who went with software emulation for their backward compatibility. Funny how these things turn out.

Autolycus
Autolycus

alessimaynn i dont see why everybody is downgrading sony when microsoft went and still goes with software emulation....so emmmm lets talk trash about only one company that does this and not two.....----- at first launch, people could still play some games that have high replay value. Plus the sucess of the original xbox, wasnt that great in the customers eyes(though its extremely impressive considering how brutal the console market is, just look @ ps3 now, its not doing well at all and this is a cut throat market). PS2 has thousands of games and to take thousands down to a a hundred or so to save 30 dollars and still make the customers pay the same amount is BS. I wouldn't have a problem with is, if they still had the same library of games to play, but they dont and other countries do. it alienates your customer base and right now, thats the LAST thing sony wants to do(besides stopping the hemroging(sp) of money on a system that isnt doing nearly as well as they hoped)

Moggraider
Moggraider

Everyone only has a limited amount of space for their consoles. With the PS3 unable to play PS2 games, that's just one more disincentive to buying one and replacing our PS2's.

alessimaynn
alessimaynn

i dont see why everybody is downgrading sony when microsoft went and still goes with software emulation....so emmmm lets talk trash about only one company that does this and not two.....

ringbling
ringbling

ccputgat2m: Uhhh, maybe to play PS3 GAMES? Pull your head out.

ccputgat2m
ccputgat2m

if it icant play ps2 games, why get a ps3? :)

munsoned
munsoned

more system nerfing and still the same 600$ price tag..ouch

wackoss
wackoss

"Players are playing more older games than ever. Look at the success of the VC and LiveArcade. Used GC game sales are up due to the Wii's perfect backwards compatibilty." It's true that BC is great for gamers but in Sony's eyes it's just something adding to the cost. (I however do agree that replacing hardware BC at this time isn't a good idea considering the PS3 game library still doesn't offer much) I would guess that Sony sees little money as a result of BC - remember you said USED GC game sales are up. Used games don't help the developers or console makers. The concept of VC and XLA isn't the same as BC and is a totally different subject. Sony still has their PS store which offers downloads of older games.

LordelX
LordelX

Man....the PS3 needs to play every PS2 game possible right now. Another fairly ill-concieved decision. Backward compatibilty means alot now. Players are playing more older games than ever. Look at the success of the VC and LiveArcade. Used GC game sales are up due to the Wii's perfect backwards compatibilty. Take a look around Sony, this isn't 1995 anymore.

icemancell
icemancell

things like this makes people want for sony to fail. people would love to say that its cuz of sony's ignorance.

Autolycus
Autolycus

Oh well. Let's hope Sony gets their **** together, because otherwise this "console war" is going to be remembered as a "console bust."------ That shouldnt take to long, considering i think the PS3 is already known for that. I just feel bad for the people that arleady ahve up 800 bucks:( oh well, is uppose if you have that mch money to burn, its your own fault!:)

rootATdarkstar
rootATdarkstar

A couple interesting things here: 1. The price has not been lowered in Austrailia. (If I remember what I read correctly, the 60GB PS3 in Austrailia costs $790 in American dollars) 2. Sony executives laughed and mocked the Xbox 360 when it launched, making claims like, 'Microsoft doesn't care about its fan base, they are launching with limited backwards compatibility.' Oh well. Let's hope Sony gets their **** together, because otherwise this "console war" is going to be remembered as a "console bust."

SeanBond
SeanBond

And Sony fanboys wonder why so many other people hate Sony...

SonOfSparda018
SonOfSparda018

OK so they are removing some hardware, but the big question is... ARE THEY LOWERING THE PRICE OF THE PS3??

Autolycus
Autolycus

PS3 games will be better than 360 games due to blu-ray.------ yeah because its shown us that so far :roll eyes: ever heard of compression? PLus people that makes games arent going to make it for blu-ray because in today's industry you need to make things for all platforms. Why alienate millions of paying customers because you want more space. every heard of compression? (that way all the studios can use 1080p images for textures, which is what a 1080p is all about, and still fit it onto a multilayer dvd). Only uncompressed(DV) or bad video compression(mpeg4) take a lot of disc space. things like h.264 (ever seen one of those BINX logo's inthe beginning?) and mp3's and JPEGs instead of RAW files is what makes the world of difference. Long story short, blu-ray doesnt help anyone except Sony in the long run.-----R3DN1N3 ----- while i agree, a lot of people dont like to have more then one system hooked up in the living room(or parents if you are a younging) and all of that is thought about before chucking out 800 bucks(system + game + tax, not to mention another controller)

razu_gamer
razu_gamer

PS3 games will be better than 360 games due to blu-ray.

MattDark
MattDark

Mmhmm, the PS3 may be free online, but it online service is that poor that it makes sub-par look amazing. Microsoft are in the right zone, charging the price of a game for a years worth of FULL content considering the amount of content they provide. (You can still do alot online without having to pay on the 360) @Samad5 - A least when bluebl gets a 360, he wont have to sacrifice decent meals and heating to play great games.

R3DN1N3
R3DN1N3

cherrytwister Check out this link, it clears up all the negative things you have to say about the Playstation 3: http://www.playb3yond.com/ ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Awww LOL! ahahaha! Awww OH MY GOD OHH MY GOD!!! wait wait wait! .......ok I'm done. Can u guys believe this fanboy?! Really this clears up all the negative reports? Hmmm....yeah considering this website comes directly from Sony I'm calling it BS. Anways....going back on topic. That's alot of BS what the Sony rep is saying, but as nice as backwards compatibility is it's not everything. You wanna play all your old games? Well guess what? PLAY IT ON YOUR OLD SYSTEM FOOLS! JESUS CHRIST PEOPLE! "oooh how am I gonna play all my PS2 games????" .....easy, play it on your PS2! U bought the PS3 right? (or the 360/Wii also), then play the current games. U might as well stick with the PS2 instead of shelling $600+ on the PS3 if all your gonna do is play old games.

dbeddow
dbeddow

you dont pay for the "online feature" you pay to play against other players, everything else is free. And NO, I dont feel ripped off by that.

Autolycus
Autolycus

bihboy69 "The 360 can and does do anything the PS3 does, and better. " lol. you sadcase fanboy nikefreak. here's one point about the ps3 that will always beat the 360. free online. don't you ever feel ripped off, that you have to purchase a game....then pay again to use the online feature? microsoft is the money grabbing whore. youll end up spending more than the money to buy a ps3 on online with 360 alone.------ The main reason people dont like Microsoft is they are jealous(second could be their business tactics and lack of quality products). All I have to say, is have you played both the PS3 online AND the xbox 360? 360 is a much more complete package and better user experience. If you want crappy online and crummy games, stick with the PS3, by all means. However, if you want a quality online experience that goes WAY beyond PC(for simplicity reasons) and sweet games(both are capable of looking equally in terms of graphics), get a 360. If 50$ a year is an issue($4 a month) you simply shouldn't play video games and should get a better job or a job to start.

Autolycus
Autolycus

oh boy sure must suck to be a sony fan. Luckily I got a clue about 5 years ago. Sorry peeps, its what you get for not doing your research on a company(scea)

rome0061
rome0061

Why don't they just send all the extra ones that we have in the states? The only thing keeping me alive right now is the backwards compatibility! What games do I have to entertain myself with? Nothing. Sorry Australia, sorry Europe. And Sony isn't even an American Corp... Way to go J-Pan.

HighlyToxic
HighlyToxic

Sony is pretty sneaky. They yank out the Emotion Engine chip to save money, but this makes the PS3 less backwards compatible. This prolongs the sales of the PS2 if people want to play new PS2 games. It's win-win for Sony, and lose-lose for the consumer.

samad5
samad5

bluebl, calm down man and get a grip of yourself! What will you do when the 360 packs in after a year? Commit Suicide?

bluebl
bluebl

enough is enough. I'm European, i don't use pounds, and using a standard price for whole Europe is incredibly unfair, it's a rip off. Wanna know why Sonny does this to us including removing important features?It's trying to compensate the loss it's been having in japan and US with production costs. We are supposed to make up for that. It's insulting, it's pushing it way too far, and i personally will assure that i won't buy a PS3. Get an Xbox360, and i never thought i would say this. But Sony needs a lesson. If u want it to stop once and for all, do this.

paulsh_d
paulsh_d

What has just occured to me is this must have been premeditated right back when the console first launched in the US. They would have had to have made the production changes months before to manufacture enough of these consoles for the European, Australasia release. Or am I wrong and a retooling and subsequent manufacturing run could have been done quicker?

Chadius
Chadius

I've said it once, I'll say it again: Sony should have waited another year before releasing the PS3. Getting a good but late system is better than a buggy but late system out.

cwhistler
cwhistler

Not a fanboy, I had a PS1 and I have a PS2, XBOX, Wii and a 360. Sony is a business and has to make tough decisions, I just don't feel that any of their decisions regarding the PS3 have been good ones. And I for one think this is funny considering how much BS they spouted about the 360 BC. Meanwhile I am enjoying the best wireless controller ever, the best console with all of its arcade, movies, tv and oh yeah the awesome games! Dead Rising Lost Planet Crackdown Table Tennis (yeah it really is a cool game) Viva Pinata (try it, you'll like it) just to name the few that I'm playing right now with so many more to come! Guitar Hero II (yes I know it is already on the PS2) Bioshock

Britesparc
Britesparc

OK, software emulation instead of having the PS2 hardware - that doesn't seem too bad from my point of view. The only Xbox game I wish I could play on my 360 is Project Gotham (moot now, though, as I have PGR3). But if they've taken the Emotion Engine out to cut costs, I hope they'll pass that on to the consumer, because otherwise it just looks like they're stiffing their customers to make a bit more cash. I know they're losing a ton of money on the PS3 as it is, but the way it's been handled is absolutely appalling. Backward compatability mightn't be that much of an issue for most people, not being a greedy bugger is.

legofreak99
legofreak99

why is it that every news article about a next gen console's comments are filled with arguments?

pavel_btn
pavel_btn

Backward Compatibility not Important? Surely there must be a huge number of PS3 games at launch, and those are gonna be killer-flix - oh, actually, No and NO. Of course we wanna play our old PS2 favorites and of course PS2 games are still in demand - remeber MGS3, Tekken, God Of War? - those are the reason I choose Sony, and perhaps it is the reason not to get rid of your old PS2 just yet. In The United Kingdom, the PS3's popularity and public anticipation is now really low - the price is higher than anywhere in the world, the launch is much later than in the USA and the actual machine is crappier too! Sony gaming industry dominance in 2007 - Doubtful.....

jigglespot
jigglespot

Why oh why, Sony did you not go this route for the US and Japan version? I remember reading about the Emotion Engine being bolted-in at the last moments prior to the November launch. I just can't see where they've been heading with these decisions. There have already been a series of firmware updates for the US/Japan console to update compatitbility. I'm sure nobody there would have minded waiting for a little longer to get PS2 compatibility through updates (chances are if you have a ps3 then you probably had a ps2 anyway). Maybe they thought they'd never get PS2 games running on the cell? Has anybody cross-reffed the list of games to see which are affected by this change? It would be nice to know if the latest raft of games for ps2 (specifically biggies like GOW2 and FFXII) are going to fall by the wayside. Are the games affected only the ones that have been tweaked to squeeze every last ounce out of the PS2? Ironically enough the recent upsurge in PS2 sales means that developers have been slow to relinquish it as a platform choice. This means that many great games are in still in development for PS2 ... with these games on the market Sony would be daft to lose this game revenue by denying PS3 owners the chance to play these games. I have a PS2 so it doesn't matter to me, but if I only had a PS3 then I would like to be able to play the latest PS2 titles especially considering the lack of good games available for PS3 at this point. As for those complaining about the prices - I remind you that this setup was the original plan for Sony - Emotion Engine was a last minute hack. You get a more refined console without it so go play with your dolls in the corner (and read the good news about Sony's game pricing in Europe).

ObiKKa
ObiKKa

"Clearly cost is one of the [reasons]. If software is cheaper than the cost of the chip, then why not do that?" Ephraim said. And, "clearly" they're ripping us off by more extra dollars! F#&% them Sony execs. Just look at his extremely clasped lips - that's why he totally suits the image of Sony - "lying exec son-of-a-b#tches"!

NinjaFoot
NinjaFoot

Does anyone besides me see the irony in this story, after all the BS Sony threw at Microsoft for having this type of backward compatibility (i.e. emulation and only certain games)?

HDready
HDready

so glad i gave up on the ps3

Manatassi
Manatassi

So let me get this straight... Sony are charging European gamers alot MORE money for each console. However they are giving LESS for that money? How does it feel to be royaly screwed by Sony? Playstation fans? I will say that this is Uncharachteristic of Sony Europe , especialy the UK is Sony's play area and they have had a massive lead there for a while. Well I guess they are taking the Lovin they've given the UK in the past to a WHOLE new level. Wait a go and shaft one of your strongest markets Sony whilst Nintendo are busy walking away with Japan and Microsoft are eating up the US market this seems like the stupidest thing they could have done right now. Hmmm then again with Sony the last couple of years who knows what they will do next. Thanks for the PS2 sony but I for one wont be getting screwed over and buying the P$3. Try again in a few years, and this time learn from Nintendo.