I can't help it; whenever I look over at my giant shelf full of fantastic PS2 titles, or read about a great title like Persona 4 coming out for the lingering system, I look under my television at the shiny PS3 that won't play any of them, and it makes me grumble.
We all know, of course, that in trying to keep the PS3 cost-effective, backwards compatibility was a feature that Sony felt they needed to abandon.
Still, as a gamer who still cares about these things, I found it interesting when I was shown, at CES, just how this had been achieved. While exploring the Digital Experience! event at the Mirage, I visited the Rambus booth, where a pair of PS3 motherboards were on display.
As the helpful Rambus representatives explained to me, their business is the design and implementation of integrated memory and chips in various consumer electronics, including a particular Sony videogame console. They had helped Sony to create the original hardware for the PS3 launch hardware, and later, had also helped refine the PS3 motherboard into a more efficient and streamlined system.
In this photo, the Rambus rep is pointing to a launch-era PS3 motherboard; that particular area on the left is essentially a PS2, contained within the PS3 architecture - the fabled "Emotion Engine." The board above it is a much more recent iteration of the PS3 hardware. You can see, it's quite a bit more compact, made smaller by the conspicuous removal of the leftmost portion of the board. What do you suppose is missing?
Looks kind of like it was removed with a hacksaw, doesn't it? This is why your PS3 can't play Persona 4 or Amplitude or Tekken. And now you know! More PlayStation 3 News...