251w ago - What is it above all else that the PlayStation 3 is missing? Access to the vast PS2 library. Backwards compatibility is the most obvious chink in the PS3 armour.
It is a strange strategic decision by Sony not to have a download service running by now considering that rivals Nintendo and Microsoft both have backwards compatibility in their respective consoles. The replaceable HDD on the PS3 makes the system ideal for a download service as space shouldn't really become an issue.
Lets briefly cover why such a service would be a guaranteed hit:
• The PS2 Library - There are thousands of games in the PS2 library and there are many classic games among that number. Giving gamers the chance to replay or experience for the first time games like Kingdom Hearts, ICO, or Shadow of the Colossus is surely a recipe for success.
• Cheap games - Obviously the pricing in such a service would be the most important consideration. Pricing would have to be very competitive. Even though Sony could populate the service with classic games the fact remains that the majority of them will be several years old. That has to be taken into consideration above all else so I would suggest a maximum price of €9.99.
I think that would be reasonable as you can already get PSOne games on the PSN Store for €4.99. The price point needs to be kept to a level that will encourage people to indulge in a little impulse buying.
• Hardware sales - I suspect that it would convince some gamers to finally dispense with their PS2s and move onto the PS3. I'm sure Sony would love anything that would add to hardware sales.
• No need to line GameStop's pockets - We all know that the second hand game market is massive and that developers don't see any money from it. It is pure profit for the likes of GameStop. Some gamers might feel guilty about buying games in this way but when there is no alternative what can you do?
In some cases you might not even be able to find an old game that you are searching for. I know if I had the chance to download a PS2 game or buy a second hand copy I'd pick the download every time. The option to have a selection of great games accessible immediately from the XMB would be irresistible.
I have already suggested a few games that would would grace any service Sony were to set up. What PS2 games would you like to play on your PS3?
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I think Sony needs a lower cost console more than they need PS2 backward compatibility to drive sales. Newer model PS3s do not contain the GS graphics chip, which is needed to emulate the awesome fillrate on PS2, which is in some ways not matched even on the new consoles. Presumably Sony removed the chip to drive down the cost of the PS3, so they agree that lower cost is more important.
Sony needs to do something to up there hardware sales for the PS3. This could be a step in the right direction. I would love to have an online service to access games like the other systems have. In my opinion, Sony hasn't even tapped the full potential of the PS3 which I believe is hurting them in the long run. I hope Sony decides to do something soon to help this underrated system before it dissapears.
It's a hard one to plug, though. The PS2 was pretty odd architecturally. Even with the actual hardware graphics chip, and just emulating the CPU, there are problems.
Writing an 80% emulator, though, and tweaking maybe 20% of the game code to avoid the hard-to-emulate stuff would be easier. That would make downloadable versions possible, but each one would need some work. They'd really only have time to produce a 'greatest hits' line, and only for ones they had the code for (i.e. Sony originals).