Sony Patent Backwards Compatibility Device

Sony have filed a patent for a new device that will allow any PS3 to play PS2 games, hence returning the much sought after feature of backwards compatibility to its next-gen system. Famously, Sony removed the necessary hardware to support playing older games on its newest console in an effort to drive down costs and reenter the console race; a race they were seriously flagging behind in. It worked. Soon after the PS3’s surgical inner reimagining we saw a price-cut that ultimately helped PS3 sales surge. Of course, a lot of people still lamented the price that had to be paid.

The patent in question describes the ability of playing games through the use of an external removable adaptor deemed “200” on another more up to date system designated “300”. Use your own imagination as to what these code-names may refer to. Hint: we’re not talking about the 3DO.

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By essentially repackaging the guts of a PS2 into an attachable doohickey, Sony would be capable of returning the feature to the PS3 through the use of this proxy device.

The approach is simplistic if a tad crude. It is, however, also quite ingenious as, considering the maximum throughput of a PS3 USB port is 35MB, the device would plug in to the PS3 through the systems’s gigabit ethernet port. As Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry speculates:

“This offers a 125 megabyte per second connection between the host console and the “removable adaptor”. The theory is that the PS2 game disc is inserted into the PS3 with data from the drive combined with input from the controller(s) being beamed over the LAN port. The adaptor then decodes the data and processes it exactly as a PS2 would. The output data is then transmitted back to the PS3.

Quite what form that data takes remains unknown, but an educated guess would be uncompressed video and audio which is then displayed (and perhaps upscaled) by the PS3: a 480p video signal at 24-bit RGB running at 60Hz would probably entail around 72MB of bandwidth with a minimal amount of overhead for audio. That’s way beyond USB 2.0, but should be manageable via the gigabit Ethernet port.”

It’s not all good news, though, with Eurogamer’s “techsperts” also hypothesising that any PS2 game would still suffer from latency issues due to the large amounts of game data flying across the LAN ports.

Regardless, it would bridge a gap many people still feel quite strongly about. It’s also worthwhile to note that, with the advances in technology of late (and the fact that there would be no need for an optical drive in this device), it’s quite possible this magic box could be quite compact and cost-effective. Retail it for less than a £/$/€100 and we could see a lot of people being interested.

Of course, this is just a patent, and you know what they say about patents. Easy to file. Not so easy (or even potentially warranted) to execute.

Source: Siliconera (thanks to all those that sent this in)

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33 Comments

  1. release the ps2.5 sony???

  2. I remember my 60GB PS3 played PS2 games, I used to laugh when I saw 40 and 80GB owners moaning that theirs didn’t play them :) but it broke and I want PS2 bc on my slim :(

    Luckily I still have my good ol’ trusty PS2, and this would come in handy if the old girl packs in :P

  3. Sounds highly dubious, I see this is a pre-emptive attempt at stopping the homebrew community coming up with a PS2 emu. Sad really that they’ve wasted the time, money and staffing resources to come up with a patent just to kick an extreme minority of users in the teeth.

  4. I have a 60Gb and have never put a PS2 disc in it, lol. Too many other games to play to go back to the old PS2 titles. Although I’m now getting an itch to play Driver now I’ve just said that…

  5. Yeah I don’t think we will ever see this, just blocking the homebrewers. To be honest though I would rather play the HD remakes with the trophies than have an ugly litle black box sticking out the back of my lovely PS3 :)

    • OI! i have playTV… :P

      • lol so do i, speaking of playtv, i just got round to updating it and noticed that theyve tried to appease peoples clamouring for series link by adding a scheduler, asking if the recording is to bet daily, weekly etc. Im going to start using it more now, as before it was only used once or twice a month, usually for match of the day when im out on the piss

      • I forgot about that little box of tricks, I suppose it doesn’t look to bad. I never got round to getting one as I’ve only got a 60GB PS3 ….. for now, planning on a 320for GT5 release!

  6. If this were to ever come out isn’t it basically selling you a PS2 adaptor that just is a PS2? Well worse than a PS2 as it may have latency and you can only use it with the PS3.

  7. It’d have to be priced well, but I’d defo pick one of these up for my slim.

  8. No one has mentioned the fact that you get up to 500GB worth of memory cards with ps3 instead of my 2 ps2 ones which gt4 takes nearly half and all the sims games takes the rest up. £40 is a good price.

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