Foster City (CA) - Sony has launched a website that allows users to check the backward compatibility of the 80 GB version of the PS3, which scraps the PS2 processor in favor of cheaper emulation.
The included PS2 processor, otherwise known as the Emotion Engine, was once one of Sony's major selling points for the PS3. It allows nearly flawless playback of thousands of Playstation and PS2 games.
However, as a move to cut back on its cost, Sony scrapped the Emotion Engine from the European version of the PS3 and has brought the same strategy forward with the 80 GB model in the US.
The less compatible PS3 models run with specifically coded emulation, kind of like what Microsoft does with Xbox playback on the Xbox 360. The drawback is that this comes with significantly more backward compatibility problems.
Users can check Sony's PS3 compatibility site, and enter the name of a Playstation or PS2 title to see if there are any problems. For example, a search for God of War shows the problem, "During various FMV sequences throughout the title, the audio plays overlapped by static audio distortion."
Sony says it will be able to improve compatibility through continuous PS3 firmware updates. When the European PS3 launched, Sony estimated that "over 1000" of the 5000+ PS2 games would be immediately compatible. Playback of original Playstation games are not as significantly affected with the Emotion Engine exclusion.
Sony also has a site to check backwards compatibility problems with the 20 GB and 60 GB models. However, since these versions of the console include the Emotion Engine, very few titles show up with significant problems.