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Default Euro PS3 Scraps Hardware Backwards Compatibility

February 24th, 2007, 03:30
1UP pointed out that as usual, we're screwed:

Sony needs to start finding ways to save money on manufacturing PlayStation 3s, but most assumed that would come from cheaper chips became and more affordable Blu-ray production. Not so for Europe, however, as Sony Computer Entertainment Europe announced today they're actually removing the chips that allow for hardware-based backwards compatibility. They're going the Xbox 360 route and attempting software emulation for the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 game libraries.

We've contacted both SCEE and SCEA for comment on the issue. What's to stop Sony from instituting the same policy on future revisions of American hardware?

SCEE's rationale is a bit reaching. The company claims the change means to generate a focus on PlayStation 3 software, rather than the old 'n broken machines. Does someone want to remind Sony that PS2 actually outsold PS3 in America last month? Clearly, the best response would be to start ignoring that hardware base. SCEE president David Reeves explains:

"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."

The press release says the European PS3 will be compatible with a "broad range" of original PlayStation games (they're easier to emulate) but a "limited range" of PS2 releases. They'll be launching a website on March 23rd with a searchable list of what will work and promise downloadable patches for more games. Based on experience with Microsoft's updates, however, this announcement says backwards compatibility will be forgotten a year from now.

What happened to Sony's old mantra of complete "legacy" backwards compatibility? Let's help Ken Kutaragi rewind to last fall:

"…the PS3 will feature backwards compatibility with PS and PS2 games from day one. I'm emphasizing this because, from what I hear, there are some platforms that haven't been able to completely do this. It's costly in terms of hardware, but we'd rather [invest] firmly on compatibility from the beginning, rather than to have issues later on."

From what we hear, that's not true anymore.

I'm having Sega flashbacks.
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February 24th, 2007, 05:12
It's only a console, so who cares!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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February 24th, 2007, 13:39
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February 24th, 2007, 14:28
This is idiotic. I'm sure that there are any good PS3 games out there yet, but there are tons of great PS2 games even I find interesting (God of War and Devil May Cry quickly come to mind), to say the least.
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February 24th, 2007, 16:28
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
It's only a console, so who cares!!
I know you don't think much of consoles, but the problem is that Sony keeps treating European customers poorly. It's inexcusable that a feature that has been touted as one of the main features is now being taken back. Even if we take into account that in the videogame industry a company's word is not always final - if at least videogame developers' promises are anything to go by - it begs the question of why only europeans get the shaft. If it's proven to be costly because of their adherence to Bluesomethingoranother, why not scale back the compatibility for all consoles instead of just european models? If as they say backwards compatibility will still be possible to a degree, nothing would prevent them from adopting that mindset to all versions.

Unfortunately, it seems european customers aren't willing to take a stand or send a message that this kind of treatment is unacceptable.
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February 24th, 2007, 17:53
Why would you use a canon to shot a bird? It all comes down to saving less than a quarter of cubic feet of space.
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February 24th, 2007, 18:25
Well, there is a possibility that the software based emulator will be up to the job. Look at the amazing PCSX2, for instance.

Naughty Corwin, trying to stir up the console crowd I will always be a PC guy but damn, the PS3 is pretty sweet.
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February 24th, 2007, 18:35
I'm not part of the "console crowd" per se I only went back to console gaming fairly recently. I'm not even thinking about buying a PS3 for now but at the chance of getting one, I'd appreciate proper backwards compatibility was there.

Maybe the software emulation will be good, of course. But if this was an issue it seems ludicrous that only cutting down the feature on European consoles would matter since the American and Japanese market are bigger and as such, more money had to be invested in those markets to release fully backwards compatible consoles.

It also seems like a last minute decision seeing as how they're claiming only a "limited range" will be compatible, and are only at the "maybe we can see if a downloadable patch will fix it" stage. If this had been a concern longer ago there should have been a better or more solid solution available longer ago.
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February 24th, 2007, 18:54
Originally Posted by Role-Player View Post
Unfortunately, it seems european customers aren't willing to take a stand or send a message that this kind of treatment is unacceptable.
Yes I am. I own a PS2, but there is no way in the world I will purchase an overpriced, underperforming, stuffed with unwanted hardware console. If we ever deceide to buy a next-gen console it will be the Xbox 360, not the PS3. And I know i am not the only Europian to feel that way…

Why buy the PS3 when you can buy the Xbox360+Wii for the same price?
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February 24th, 2007, 20:11
This hardware compatibility was always a *strong* point in my buying decision. Now the PS3 is out of sight. I'd rather a PS2 instead now.

I won't support Sony treating European customers as such.

Worse, this decision fuels the cliché of "Americans get everything" - according to my rule "bigger, better, first".

*still wants to bang his head onto the nearest wall… *
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February 24th, 2007, 23:51
I was thinking before I read this message to buy a PS3 in 2008 (lower price), but now they can shove it up somewhere the sun doesn't shine.

so very, very tired (Star Trek XI quote according to the Simpsons)
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February 25th, 2007, 01:23
I don't really care overly much about consoles either but I'm kind of certain that the US and Japan will be getting this new PS3 edition sooner or later as well. Probably "later" if the PS3 continues to sell like crap.
Maybe they are just using Europe as a testbed for this globally planned change (i.e. the next batch of PS3s that is going to be produced once the current batch has finally sold)? Who knows? What I do know is that Sony must have figured out by now that they really, really, really need to bring that price down.

Also, I agree that one should wait and see how the emulating software that is to be included with a new firmware turns out. If the results are comparable to the hardware solution then it doesn't make too much sense to complain about this decision (and -no- it does not automatically mean that Sony needs to cut the price of the European version because last time I checked emulating software and firmware upgrades don't grow on trees either… though it certainly would have been a nice sign of "goodwill" if Sony would have slashed off a few Euros, of course ).
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February 25th, 2007, 19:45
Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
I don't really care overly much about consoles either but I'm kind of certain that the US and Japan will be getting this new PS3 edition sooner or later as well.
That is my assumption as well … perhaps they thought that between the PSP and PS3 they weren't generating enough ill will with their customers, so they need to broaden their reach a bit.

— Mike
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February 26th, 2007, 09:11
So it will cost 30% more in EU and have less features. Well that sure is gona make me buy it. I payd 100 for PS2. Anymore for PS3 would be waste.
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February 27th, 2007, 14:11
If anyone doesn't like Sony's behavior (which would be quite reasonable in my opinion), I think the only proper way to react is to not buy their stuff at all. And even if I've never considered buying PS3, I'll be sure to choose different TV, audio, whatever I buy in future.
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