231w ago - PlayStation 2's use the emotion engine as a processor, which was removed from PS3s to save money.
This killed off PS2 backwards compatibility, but Sony has a new software solution.
A patent filed by Sony has a method for the cell processor to emulate the emotion engine which can bring PS2 backwards compatibility to all PS3s.
To quote: There are two main ways to emulate hardware. Interpretation is when target code is decoded and converted into a language the host can understand. The other strategy is to decode and recompile programs in the host's language.
Maybe the concept is better explained another way. Interpretation is like having someone constantly translating English to Japanese for you, non stop, twenty four hours a day wherever you go. Decoding and recompiling is like someone translating a sets of words and putting them in a dictionary you can reference.
Sony developed a way to translate instructions from an Emotion Engine chip into chunks that can be referenced.
Figure 2 from the patent is a schematic drawing of how the system works. Figure 3A is a drawing of the PlayStation 2's chipset. Figure 3B is the emotion engine. Figure 4 is where the whole story gets interesting! It's "an example of a host system based on a cell processor that may be configured to emulate the target system." The target is figure 3B, the Emotion Engine.
There aren't too many reasons why Sony would want the PS3's Cell processor to emulate the PS2's Emotion Engine and the key one is backwards compatibility.
Perhaps, a firmware update or the new PlayStation 3 slim, which Ars Technica say is coming this fall, will utilize this technology.
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I wouldnt expect Sony to implement it into a FW update until PS2 HW sales have died down a lot.
Its just a good marketing strategy that way. It would be a great reason for PS2 owners to upgrade (i.e. want to play next gen games also) and I think Sony realises this so I may be wrong lol.
I have to admit, I never understood why BC was always made such a big deal. I rarely (if ever) go back and play old games once I've moved to the next generation. And if I do, I just use the PS2 I have sitting around to do that (actually I got rid of mine already, but that's because I didn't want to play any old games, and sis wanted the ps2).
I mean I understand the benefit of it and all, just alot of times I hear it hyped like it's one of the most awesome features ever. And THAT is what I don't get, it's nice, but not THAT awesome imo (maybe that's just cause I always keep the old system til I realize I'm not playing any old games at all anymore).
That being said, this is good news because evidently alot of people do want this. And this should prove to help Sony with the evident demand for this feature to be put back in.
And who knows, I might even get around to going back and finally playing the old Ico games and GOW games, without having to go get another ps2 (or bothering getting that one back from my sis). I think where this will really shine is in being able to download ps2 games and it actually work now.