Problems getting backwards compatibility working on the PS3 could lead to PS2 hardware being jammed into the upcoming box purely for that purpose, according to reports.
The Cell processor is proving not so hot at emulating the PS2's Emotion Engine, with the complexity of programming for the PS3's new architecture not making things any easier. Sony has committed to a November launch for the PS3, and it doesn't have time to muck around. It views backwards compatibility for its console as being a major selling point, so doesn't want to have to go down the Microsoft route of partial system emulation.
The slim PS2 that is currently on sale integrates the PS2's processor and video engines onto a single chip, and it now seems likely, according to games website IGN
, that this chip will be built directly into the PS3 to get around the software issues.
Sources suggest that when the software issues are fixed down the line, the chip can be pulled out from new boxes shipping, reducing cost.
Whilst it may seem like a bit of a dirty hack, if it works, does it really matter? Does backwards compatibility even matter? I mean, if you're spending $600 on one of these things, are you really going to be skimping by playing old PS2 games on it? I don't think so. But don't just agree with us - voice your own thoughts over in the forums.