PS3 backwards-compatibility lag in Australia, Europe due to costs: SCEA boss

When news first broke late last week of PlayStation 3 units in Australia and Europe being less backwards-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, saying that software emulation of PS2 games was the cheaper option for Sony on the PS3.

Sony Computer Entertainment AU managing director Michael Ephraim.

The Australian and European model of the PlayStation 3, which is set for launch on 23 March, 2007, will use different hardware specifications from the models already released in Japan on 11 November, 2006, and in the US on 17 November, 2006. Backwards 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 backwards-compatible PS1/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 backwards-compatibility through software emulation. The software emulation list will grow, and there's a Web site people can check to see what games are backwards-compatible. It will be a progressive emulation."

Ephraim played down the importance of backwards-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 [PS1 and PS2] games. PS1 games are not a problem. I think PS2 backwards-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 backwards-compatibility--just through different means," he said.

Ephraim said the full list of backwards-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 will go live on 23 March.

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Chattys121 posted a comment   

U cant play games from japan on an aus ps3. Thats why i wont buy one.

I was going to buy a slim til i heard bout there being no bc. No bc, no sale.


Sony Mega "Bites" posted a comment   

Sony is doing exactly what cost the Kenwood company their reputation: Substandard quality at premium prices.

Australia is obviously a small market for Sony's products: So do yourself a favour Sony, if you can't do better than this stick to making Walkmans.

On the other hand a world wide internet campaign to boycott the PS3 until there is consistency across the board would help.

Online Gamers and Myspace users unite! :)


Tony Montana posted a comment   

Grow up cry babies. If you want a Japanese PS3 with the improved backwards compatibility, then buy one.


Michael Ephraim posted a comment   

sony moves one step closer towards world domination. All your base are belong to us! Hahaha!?


ivanahumpalot posted a comment   

I think sony really missed the point! of why fans kept coming back! BUT by removing a couple of clips and not following up on backward tech for ps1 ps2!! and oh and the bend over price while they screw what ever left of the fans faith in the lies! like rats jumping ship the accounts that pull the strings of sony have fully screwed the fans and title and the income it would have made if they left the clips and met there promises!


Jimbo posted a comment   

No backwards compatibility? No sale. Screw you, Sony.


KaSa posted a comment   

Hi, I just wonder if I buy either Japanese or Amercian version of PS3, will it be able to play Australian games??


tea;y posted a comment   

It's just Sony trying to cash in through some more deceptive tactics.


bluc posted a comment   

Firstly I am a sony man but the changes to ps3 have swayed me to buy an xbox 360 the two factors that changed my mind were lack of media centre function ie cant stream from xp or vista and backwards compatability(getting an emulator instead of emotion engine blows) wich is dissapointing. Maybe in long run these functions will be added then I will buy one but in mean time I will be gaming on xbox 360


DemonFromTheAbyss posted a comment   

Well I was going to up grade all my PS2 I rent out to PS3 but now there is no point I will just get one. Or I will make my PS1 and PS2 rentals redundant. PS2 success was TOTALLY due to its backwards compatibility. To save money I laugh out loud. IF 1 million Australian need to go to there site ever month for the latest patch upgrade that's a lot of extra hits on there website. That's just cause to up there AD space cost equals a lot more money. So it's really about making more money not saving you users money.

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