Anyone who bought a PS3 over the last couple years is green with envy over the fact that they can't play PS2 games but their early adopter brothers can. That might actually change. It's pretty much unheard of for a video game company to devote resources to an 11-year-old console. But Sony Computer Entertainment Japan has apparently filed a patent for what looks like a PS3 peripheral that would allow gamers to play PS2 games.
When the PS3 first launched in 2006, it basically had a PS2 inside for 100% backward compatibility. To cut costs, Sony took that out and made PS2 games playable through software emulation. Then as it reduced the costs even further, it completely axed the feature.
No new PS3s that are being manufactured today can play any PS2 titles at all. It does, however, still have compatibility with PS1 games because that technology costs next to nothing.
The PS2 is actually, finally almost dead. Except for multi-platform sports titles, no new software is coming out for the old system. The fact that FIFA, NBA 2K, and WWE SmackDown vs. Raw are actually still on the system's release docket is no small accomplishment for such an old system. But it's really more about the dozens of PS2 titles that gamers have amassed over the years. Being unable to play them on their new Playstation system is aggravating and remains an issue of complaint.
Whether this patent will lead to an actual product, and then whether or not it will actually come out in areas other than Japan, is obviously anyone's guess. But it does go to show just how much stronger of a following the PS2 had over the PS3.