Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) just announced its new Playstation 3 price point and 80GB model. Along with the announcement came the system specs for the 80 GB ($499) and 60 GB PS3 ($499). The specs were the same, except for the HDD size of course.
In addition to the specs came a footer on the PS2 backwards compatibility on the PS3: "*Backwards Compatibility-- Some PlayStation 2 or PlayStation format software titles may perform differently on this system than they do on PlayStation 2 or PlayStation systems, or may not perform properly on this system."
We weren't sure if the footer meant that the PS3's Emotion Engine and Graphics Synthesizer hardware was removed from both 60 GB and 80 GB PS3 models, so we contacted SCEA for clarification.
"The current 60 GB model utilizes a hardware and solution for backwards compatibility, namely the Emotion Engine chip. The new 80 GB PS3 will use a software solution for backwards compatibility, similar to that currently found in the PAL model," said Kimberly Otzman, SCEA Corporate Communications Representative.
So the 80 GB PS3 release will be the first NTSC PS3 to use a software engine for PS2 backwards compatibility. Will this mean PS3 80 GB owners will have to download updates to play their PS2 games on the PS3, as Microsoft has done with its Xbox 360 Backwards compatibility list? Most likely, but the PAL PS3 has has a head start in using the PS2 software engine since the initial PS3 release. A listing of PSone and PS2 backwards compatible games on PAL PS3s can be seen here.
An official US Playstation 2 Backwards Compatibility list has not been specified, but we'll post an update once it is announced.
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