PlayStation 2 Emulation Coming To PlayStation 4

Sony have confirmed that they are working on bringing emulation for PlayStation 2 games to PlayStation 4. Digital Foundry spotted that the old PS2 Star Wars games bundled with Star Wars Battlefront on PlayStation 4 were running via an emulator rather than being specifically recoded ports.

“We are working on utilizing PS2 emulation technology to bring PS2 games forward to the current generation,” a Sony representative told WIRED via email. “We have nothing further to comment at this point in time.”

PlayStation 3 games would be much harder to emulate due to the custom hardware inside the old console, which is why Sony has introduced the PlayStation Now streaming service.

Two months ago three PlayStation 2 games were rated for PS4, Ape Escape 2, Dark Cloud 2 (Dark Chronicle) and Twisted Metal: Black.

Source: Eurogamer / Wired



  1. Get in!

    Without the need to properly remaster PS2 games now I hope we’ll see plenty more arriving on PS4. Fingers crossed these will be price appropriately.

  2. I’m guessing there is only going to emulation for digital only games. Do It’ll only be a select few games when it does come. Let’s just hour they get proper trophy support as I saw somewhere GTA San Andreas rated for Ps4. If love to platinum that.

  3. *So *hope autospell does it again

    • I’d*. You’ve had a shocker my friend. ;)

      • Yes I didn’t spot that lol.

  4. Hopefully that means disc play too. I’ve still got over 200 ps2 games under the bed

  5. Fingers crossed for Timesplitters2 and Tekken Tag :D

  6. I guess this is good, for those that want it, but I cannot see me spending a single minute playing any PS2 games on my PS4 – let alone paying for digital PS2 games in 2015/2016!! Nostalgia is always, always cruel to me and I still have my PS2 (or the PS+ freebies) if I want to play something pixelated!

    • It’ll be a novelty for me, I’d really like to smash a few runs on SSX3 and have a quick go on the Atari Transformers game, most importantly I want to be able to play Rez again! I’m sure this backward compatibility will be for Classics only though, which is fine, but the library needs increasing. I’d like one significant PS2 Classic per month in Plus, that’d be quite nice, but maybe debugging emulated games will cost Sony too much? Interesting news though.

      • It is great news for those that’ll utilise it. I just want new IPs for the current gen but today’s news is again a similar story – a remake of RE6, remake of Heavy Rain, remake of Beyond: Two Souls, PS2 emulation – then there’s the announcement of an indie game Jenny LeClue (which I actually like the look of to be fair). The biggest games this year (MGS and Fallout 4) are of old IPs.

        I’d be happy with PS3 back-compatibility but no matter how good a PS2 game is, I just can’t see me playing it as the leap from PS2-PS4 is too big, and like I say the games are never as good as I remember them to be, unfortunately.

      • the novelty will soon wear thin Ron.
        I downloaded rainbow six Vegas on xbone backwards compatibility the other day.
        to be fair it hasn’t aged well,its since been removed from my hard drive.

      • In total agreement with wonkey on that one. I played Rainbow Six for about 5 minutes before deleting it. I also last year played Bully on the 360 and I deemed that to be unplayable too.

      • I’d sort of be in agreement if it wasn’t for the fact that Sony have made some nifty visual enhancements to the games and are adding trophies. Whilst yes I always want new games, I do like being able to return to my favourite games from the past and not be astonished at how shite it looked, or that it’s a passing novelty when there’s a bunch of new trophies and feats to gain.

  7. I always liked the idea of backwards compatibility on the original ps3 but i never used it and i dont think i’ll use it on the ps4 either. I barely have time to play all the new games and the only reason i’d replay an old game is if it has been cleaned up/remastered. The exception being ps1 games on the vita.

    • Did you look at that Digital Foundry article? (Not something I’d usually recommend, obviously)

      They _have_ been improved, in some ways. Looks like anything 2D (or pre-rendered cut scenes) is just upscaled. But anything 3D seems to benefit quite a bit from a higher resolution. Quite a significant difference if you look at the screenshots they provide.

      Not up to the level of a proper remaster (or even a cheap, lazy one?), but a definite improvement. PS2.5 level, if such a thing was real.

      And for very little extra work. Presumably someone has to decide on trophies and do whatever’s necessry to implement them (which appears to be done in the emulation layer, so no changing the original code), and I’d assume some testing is required. I can imagine running better than the original can cause issues, probably down to timing. Wouldn’t want to find a game that runs at 30fps originally suddenly runs at 60fps but the sound also runs at twice the speed. All the music shifted up an octave and everyone sounding like Smurfs? I guess any games with issues like that can’t be fixed until the actual emulator itself is updated to handle it.

      • Thanks, I’ll have to check it out.

        I think one of the main reasons I didn’t bother with BC on the PS3 was that the games I did try had really awful lag and I didn’t enjoy them. And BC was one of the features I wanted most before the PS3 came out but when my original PS3 died (YLOD) and BC was scrapped in the PS3 Slim, I wasn’t bothered at all.

        When the PS4 came out I kept hold of my PS3 because I thought I’d want to go back and play a few PS3 games that I’d missed but I haven’t switched it on for over a year. I still have over a hundred PS+ games on the HDD which I’ve downloaded and never played.

        I’m not saying I wouldn’t try BC on the PS4 but it wouldn’t be something I’d use very often or even at all. Most of the PS2 games that I would want to play have already been remastered for the PS3 and I already own them.

        It’s great for those that will use it though. I’m looking forward to trying Alan Wake on the XB1 (when they finally add it the list of compatible games).

  8. I’d certainly like to play SW Bounty Hunter again, but I could do that on the PS3 at the moment. If they were to port the Socom games, then they’d get my attention.

    Apart from this I played everything I wanted to play on PS2. The gap between PS2 and PS3 was so large it’s taking a massive step back revisiting an old game just for nostalgia.

  9. It’ll be interesting to see how they implement the emulation. I expect that, like with XB1, due to licencing issues we won’t get a feature where we can just play any and all ps2 games.
    I don’t have a PS2 any longer but i kept a small selection of favourite games, i would love to play The Getaway again.

    • Surely the issues with the XBone is you have to download the 360 games to play them? Which obviously limits what they’re allowed to make available.

      Why is that? Is it because you’re not just playing a 360 game on a new console? Is the download not quite the original game? Cleverly recompiled to run on an entirely different processor?

      If the PS4 is just using a simple emulator to run PS2 games, there’s no reason why they can’t let you use your old discs. There was no issue with the PS3 running PS1 games from discs.

      Obviously they might not all run perfectly, and Sony might decide that’s not worth the hassle. And they wouldn’t let you buy a PS2 game and download it to use on a PS4 without it being tested first.

      But the situtation might not be like it is with MS. There might be no licencing issues affecting it.

      • Hopefully you’re correct about the licencing, but now i’m also wondering how trophies will be implemented across the board.

      • XB1’s emulator isn’t quite an emulator as such. From what I’ve read it’s literally an Xbox 360 running on an Xbox One. The 360 guide, achievements and multiplayer all operates as though it were on a 360, but because it’s ultimately software that’s running on an XB1 there are the added features of suspending the game, GameDVR, Party chat, and streaming to a PC.

        Nothing actually changes to the 360 game files as far as I’m aware. They’ll be slightly different in format in the sense that they have to be installed and recognised on an XB1, but when the game code is running it is essentially running on a 360. Quite clever, because it’s easier for them to just dump loads of games in the BC scheme and not have to worry about adapting how the game code it will run.

        Now it’s a sure bet they can’t run the game off the disc because it’s ultimately running on an XB1 with all the GameDVR, game suspension and all the rest of the features which relies on reading games from a HDD and not the disc.

        Intrigued to know how exactly the PS2 emulation works, and whether PS4 features will extend over to the games. I know that trophies work on the emulation level, and there’s some visual enhancements made.

      • Just guessing here, but if it’s just a pure emulator, and no fancy recompiling and downloading the recompiled version, I presume trophies would be down to the individual developers.

        Maybe you could (if Sony let you) stick a PS2 game in and play it, and some, but not all, games get added trophy support. Which seems to be handled by the emulator.

        It’s quite likely Sony won’t let you play games you already own, and it’ll only work for the ones they/the publishers decide to let you buy again. Presumably with trophy support being something Sony insist on.

      • Good points there and i’m looking forward to finding out more.

      • So the 360 emulator on the XBone really is just an emulator then? Emulating the entire 360. And the download is just to repackage the original game? No fancy clever stuff done to it?

      • Yeah it is pretty much emulating the entire 360. It’s clever imo because a lot of focus has always been about adapting the games themselves, and the arguments over differing architecture of the consoles in question and trying to adapt the enormous library of games in the quickest and easiest possible way. Plus in a new age of multiplayer and achievements trying to bring all that over as well.

        MS have pretty much tackled all of it and in a very simple but innovative way by emulating the entire console rather than the individual games. The work gone into it though is not as easy as it sounds, emulating what was a PowerPC CPU clocked at a much higher speed to an x86 based CPU with more cores but clocked significantly lower. Frankly no form of modern emulation is an easy task.

        It also puts the common claims of PS3 BC being out of the question due to differing architectures in a different light. Arguably Sony could just emulate the entire PS3, dealing with the architectural difficulties in one clean sweep. Though in fairness, PS Now is a clever way around the core problem all the same.

      • Don’t know about PS3 emulation, that would probably require a lot of horsepower to simulate all the spu jiggery-pokery.
        Just did a google to see if there are any PS3 emulators for pc out there, found this one but i think it might be fake .. in it’s list of compatible PS3 games it includes Agent – the Rockstar game which never even materialised!

      • If they’re not doing any recompiling beforehand, the differences between PPC and x86 might explain some of the reports of poor performance (depending on the game). Or some of that might be down to other issues (I read that it forces v-sync on all the time, which can lead to big drops in framerates)

        I’m not denying that it’s very clever though. Not convinced Sony could do something similar with emulating the PS3 either (famously weird hardware?).

        And it’s not just “no form of modern emulation” not being an easy task. I’d argue that any form of emulation is the same. Or that it’s all actually fairly easy, if you can throw enough resources at it. Something I suspect the PS4 hasn’t got when it comes to emulating the PS3, and something the XBone has, sort of, when it comes to emulating some, but not all, 360 games.

      • Well I say ‘modern’ because I know there’s quite a few emulators out there for playing very very old games on the PC, and I don’t much about them.

        I’m not fully aware of the performance issues yet as I’ve only played DiRT 3 and it’s buttery smooth and with very clean picture quality. I’ve heard there are some hiccups with Mass Effect because of that forced V-Sync, but that in runs no worse than the 360 version did. It’ll be interesting to how the rest play out in the future.

        I’ve also just looked at the Digital Foundry video below and it’s fantastic how they’ve sharpened the image up and improved the colour (probably the best that can be achieved short of remastering them). I’d happily play quite a few PS2 games if they were thrown my way for a fair price and ran with a sharper image quality and trophies. Anything Star Wars for sure.

      • Isn’t PlayStation Now an emulator on a cloud computer? Or is it the cell architecture built into a server?

      • PS Now runs on a real PS3 (or many of them) in a server farm somewhere. Somewhat modified PS3s, but still an actual PS3. Kind of.

        Just Googled it, and it appears (early last year, so might be different now) they have 8 PS3s crammed onto a single board. Some hardware tweaks might have been made to try and reduce latency. (It was suggested that things like HDMI might not be necessary. Rather than take the image in memory, encode it for HDMI output, then encode that for streaming, you can connect the image straight to hardware to encode it suitable for streaming. Saving some number of milliseconds)

        So it’s not an emulator running on a server somewhere, it’s actual, real hardware with modifications made to save time (essential for streaming, and something they’ve done very well) and space (many PS3s in the space of 1 or smaller) and power (which would quickly add up with real PS3s)

      • Yeah the 360 OS is run as a program, with the game running above that. It’s ridiculously intelligent software engineering that includes some real time code translation if I remember.

        Not sure how this PS2 thing works. I can’t see them allowing PS2 games to be read and verified, but then I didn’t expect MS to be able to get it to work with 360 BC.

      • The 360 OS running on the Xbox one explains why the games are so slow. That’s a lot of baggage.

        10fps, its hardly worth bothering with.

        I might be tempted to pick up GTA Vice City on PS4 using ps2 emulation, perhaps SSX games too. But that’s about it, I’m more about looking forwards not relying on past glories

  10. Video here of the emulator in action

Comments are now closed for this post.