PS4 Not Backwards Compatible: Game Emulation A Possibility

By Hilda Scott , Mar 06, 2013 01:43 PM EST

Sony officially announced its new game console, the PlayStation 4 (PS4) in February at an event in New York City. The PS4 features advanced state of the art technology but will not have the ability to play old Playstation games ... yet.

Although attendees of the PS4 launch event didn't actually get to see the device, the controller and hardware specs were discussed at the presentation. The fourth game console of Sony's PlayStation series, it will be the first of the series to have x86 architecture instead of cell architecture. The PS3 uses a 3.2 GHz Cell broadband engine, while the PS4 will have an 8 core x86-64 AMD CPU.

An example of an x86 processor is an Intel Core 2 duo chip found in most PCs. The good thing is that games on the console will be more realistic looking than ever before and run more like a PC game. Throughout the years, the main goal of game consoles was to match the 3D quality and fluid game movement that users experience when playing PC games.

"In the case of the PS4, we leveraged the building blocks of our 2013 product roadmap - the same technologies you find in the latest AMD APUs powering PCs, ultrathin notebooks and tablets - to create a solution that incorporates our upcoming, low-power  AMD "Jaguar" CPU cores with next-generation AMD Radeon graphics delivering nearly 2 TFLOPS of compute performance," said John Taylor, vice president of Global Communications and Industry Marketing at AMD.

New technological advances with game consoles mean better gaming experiences with life-like and more fluid 3D graphics.  This is a good thing and RPG game lovers can especially appreciate what these advances have to offer. The bad news is that the unit will not be backwards-compatible so all games from PSOne, PS2 and PS3 will be rendered useless on the PS4. This could a deal breaker for some consumers, considering certain versions of the PS3 console were able to play PS2 or PSOne games. This was due to an existing built-in Graphic Synthesizer Chip in specific model numbers of the PS3.

PS4 consumers will have to purchase new games specifically made for the PS4, since the next gen console will not be compatible with old games, digital or retail. It's a shame that backwards-compatibility is not an option for the PS4, even to at least play PS3 games. PS3 owners who built a library of games will have to purchase them all over again. Game emulation on the unit may be an alternative solution sometime in the future; Sony may want to look into making a downloadable app for that. 

"We are not talking about our Emulation plans yet. There won't be native support for those games," said Shihei Yoshida, president of Sony's Worldwide Studios in a discussion about backwards compatibility. With emulation, PS4 would most likely be able to handle PSOne games and not the advanced graphics seen on PS2 and PS3 games, but at least it's something, right?

What do you think? Would the lack of backwards compatibility keep you from buying the PS4 later this year? Let us know in the comments.

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