The European model of the PlayStation 3, due to launch on March 23, will use different hardware specifications from the models already released in Japan on November 11, 2006, and in the US on November 17, Sony announced in a statement today.
The European PS3s will be designed differently, meaning that a "new combination of hardware and software emulation" will enable the new PS3s to be compatible with only a "limited range" of PS2 titles and a "broad range" of original PlayStation games.
A Sony spokesperson told Reuters that "the backwards compatibility is not going to be as good as the US and Japan models."
SCEE president David Reeves added, "PS3 is first and foremost a system that excels in playing games specifically designed to exploit the power and potential of the PS3 system. Games designed for PS3 offer incredible graphics quality, stunning gameplay, and massively improved audio and video fidelity that is simply not achievable with PS and PS2 games. Rather than concentrate on PS2 backwards compatibility, in the future, company resources will be increasingly focused on developing new games and entertainment features exclusively for PS3, truly taking advantage of this exciting technology."
In a statement, the company added that some additional titles would be made compatible through regular firmware updates--a similar setup as in the US, where initially some previous Sony format games experienced problems, but many were fixed through online updates for the console. The Japanese and American PS3s play an estimated 98 percent of the old games. The first update is planned for the European and Australian launch on March 23, and gamers can check out compatibility on Sony's Web site, which will go live on the launch date.