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Patent Shows PS3 to PS2 Backwards Compatibility - No PS2 Chips!


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270w 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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Comments 27 Comments - Go to Forum Thread »

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semitope's Avatar
#7 - semitope - 270w ago
I don't really understand. I have a 60g launch Pal PS3, without Emotion Engine, and it plays Ps2 games just fine...

How comes this is news? Of course Ps3/Ps2 backward compatibility was emulated somehow at least on the model I have...

Your launch ps3 had the hardware to play the ps2 games, my 40gb does not so this is big news to me. The latest ps3s can only play ps2 games by a method like this.

aries2k6's Avatar
#6 - aries2k6 - 270w ago
Hmm, in my opinion they got the label on the source article wrong.
They should have put "Full ps2 emulation on all ps3"
That's what I make from those diagrams. It seems to emulate the ps2 completely.

Heh, some of the devs here had said that the ps3 has had ps2 emulation a few firmwares ago and here's another confirmation

I wonder when they'll release this. Maybe they are saving it for the ps3slim to launch.

PS3 News's Avatar
#5 - PS3 News - 270w ago
For some reason the source article didn't link to the patents.. after a brief search, I believe these are the ones mentioned for anyone interested:


aries2k6's Avatar
#4 - aries2k6 - 270w ago
Ya, I'm a little confused about that myself. I wish my pal ps3 had the EE chip but I had to settle for emulation. It still has the GS chip though.
So what would emulate the GS chip on new ps3s, the CELL or the RSX?

BlingOnMyWrist's Avatar
#3 - BlingOnMyWrist - 270w ago
I don't really understand. I have a 60g launch Pal PS3, without Emotion Engine, and it plays Ps2 games just fine...

How comes this is news? Of course Ps3/Ps2 backward compatibility was emulated somehow at least on the model I have...

Because it could bring backwards compatibility to ALL PlayStation 3s. (Right? or is this just for the new slim model?)

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