Why the PS4 Doesn't Do PS3 Games

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Why the PS4 Doesn't Do PS3 Games

A bad decision made many years ago may haunt the PlayStation 4.

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I am possibly what you could call a Nintendo fanboy and I am getting sick of the complaints over the PS4.

It's good to see the problem explained properly. Hopefully this will lead to more understanding of the issue.

Yopaz:
I am possibly what you could call a Nintendo fanboy and I am getting sick of the complaints over the PS4.

It's good to see the problem explained properly. Hopefully this will lead to more understanding of the issue.

Yep, pretty much. Those of us that understand the hardware architecture issue are annoyed, but get what they're trying to do. We're just hoping they give us options for everything other than PS3 titles, which are pretty much a lost cause for now other than streaming.

It also turns out that the issue may not just be Sony's. If the leaks turn out to be true (like they were with Sony), then we can expect Microsoft's next console to also use x86 architecture, which will also not play nice with the 360's PowerPC architecture. It'll play nicer than the Cell, but it's clear that both of them are making a switch to not only make their consoles easier to develop for, but also easier to port and easier to make backwards compatible in the future. PCs have been backwards compatible forever because of this (OS issues notwithstanding).

I'm resisting an urge to comment about how I hope the new Xbox (because seriously, I'm going to switch back to using the awful Playstation controller again? No.) won't make such a stupid mistake. Partly because some of the rumours I've been hearing about the new Xbox are equally as horrible, and partly because it's bound to trigger an announcement of some other way Microsoft intend to screw me over. I'll just keep my mouth shut look a good little consumer.

I must have been the only one who heard when they said backwards compatibility for ps3 games was handled through the cloud. As far as I know there was no other details as to how that ties into the discs you own whether you put the disc in and the game streams from the cloud or if there is going to be some sort of trade in program like ultraviolet. As far as I'm concerned people just need to wait for further details before assuming the worst.

I always did wonder why sony don't do their bit for the community and make a ps2 emulator so the pile of ps2 games in millions of peoples' closets doesn't gather dust. The only thing I can come up with is that there's no money in it; but we could say the same for ps1 emulation on the psp.
PS3 however, I'm not too worried about: most of the games on it worth playing are remakes, and very few are exclusives. Those that are on xbox, I'm guessing will be much easier to emulate since the xbox is powerPC, and thanks to apple (there's a phrase I don't say very often) we already have powerpc emulation of a sort. It's a start at least.

bunnielovekins:
I always did wonder why sony don't do their bit for the community and make a ps2 emulator so the pile of ps2 games in millions of peoples' closets doesn't gather dust. The only thing I can come up with is that there's no money in it; but we could say the same for ps1 emulation on the psp.
PS3 however, I'm not too worried about: most of the games on it worth playing are remakes, and very few are exclusives. Those that are on xbox, I'm guessing will be much easier to emulate since the xbox is powerPC, and thanks to apple (there's a phrase I don't say very often) we already have powerpc emulation of a sort. It's a start at least.

No one derives any income by writing an emulator so people can play games they have already bought. In the case of Sony they made a loss of $4 billion last year, they simply can't afford to spend time on things that won't show a profit.

Quiotu:

Yopaz:
I am possibly what you could call a Nintendo fanboy and I am getting sick of the complaints over the PS4.

It's good to see the problem explained properly. Hopefully this will lead to more understanding of the issue.

Yep, pretty much. Those of us that understand the hardware architecture issue are annoyed, but get what they're trying to do. We're just hoping they give us options for everything other than PS3 titles, which are pretty much a lost cause for now other than streaming.

It also turns out that the issue may not just be Sony's. If the leaks turn out to be true (like they were with Sony), then we can expect Microsoft's next console to also use x86 architecture, which will also not play nice with the 360's PowerPC architecture. It'll play nicer than the Cell, but it's clear that both of them are making a switch to not only make their consoles easier to develop for, but also easier to port and easier to make backwards compatible in the future. PCs have been backwards compatible forever because of this (OS issues notwithstanding).

I got a PS3 less than 3 months ago and I still haven't finished the games that made me buy it. Of course I am annoyed that I wont be able to play them if I choose to update, but I understand why. It's a sad, but it's probably better for the developers to be able to work with one kind of CPU. I don't love the idea and it will make me hold off a future purchase for a game I really want though.

albino boo:

bunnielovekins:
I always did wonder why sony don't do their bit for the community and make a ps2 emulator so the pile of ps2 games in millions of peoples' closets doesn't gather dust. The only thing I can come up with is that there's no money in it; but we could say the same for ps1 emulation on the psp.
PS3 however, I'm not too worried about: most of the games on it worth playing are remakes, and very few are exclusives. Those that are on xbox, I'm guessing will be much easier to emulate since the xbox is powerPC, and thanks to apple (there's a phrase I don't say very often) we already have powerpc emulation of a sort. It's a start at least.

No one derives any income by writing an emulator so people can play games they have already bought. In the case of Sony they made a loss of $4 billion last year, they simply can't afford to spend time on things that won't show a profit.

Somebody always has to bring money and reality into my little dreams. Luckily, there are fans with enough competence to make ps2 emulators with no thought of how they'd make profit; you know, for the good of mankind.

Good article, you've explained the issues clearly and concisely. On one hand, I'm glad to see Sony apparently learning from its mistakes (or - to put it in corporate-lingo - leveraging its opportunities for improvement). Maybe it's a bit of wishful thinking, but I took some of what they were saying at the announcement to mean they were planning on making the PS4 a more open ecosystem - and thus welcoming to independent developers as well as being easier for all developers to work with. I'm not sure I entirely understand the issues with a cloud-based approach to backwards compatibility - other than it's not even a feature yet, more like an aspiration. How will it function, what games will be available, will I have access to old saves or am I starting from scratch on everything?

I suppose I'm being cautiously optimistic. I've had some of the best gaming experiences of my life on Sony systems. I'm disappointed in the mistakes they've made this round, but certainly not ready to write them off just yet.

I'd love it if they emulated PS2 games, that would bring back a lot of great games that I want to play (although all the disks are scratched and nasty by now).

Shamus Young:
Why the PS4 Doesn't Do PS3 Games

A bad decision made many years ago may haunt the PlayStation 4.

Read Full Article

So, in short, the PS4 lacks BWC because "Teh Cell" is actually pretty shit in most regards. Makes sense...

The fact that the PS4 doesn't emulate the PS2/PS1 even with virtual software is SHAMEFUL. Modern computers have had the ability to do this for years, and not to include it is ridiculous. Hell I own a PS1/2 and it is still easier to fire up software on my PC instead of dragging my consoles out. Even more so, this is Sony. They own the rights to the PS1/PS2 and therefor for an extra 40-60 dollars could implement the needed hardware for perfect PS1/2 emulation. If the PS4 is going to be a glorified PC with no backwards compatibility, I think I am done with consoles for good.

"WOULD" be a nightmare? Have you LOOKED at a PS2 emulator. Shit eats up resources.

albino boo:

bunnielovekins:
I always did wonder why sony don't do their bit for the community and make a ps2 emulator so the pile of ps2 games in millions of peoples' closets doesn't gather dust. The only thing I can come up with is that there's no money in it; but we could say the same for ps1 emulation on the psp.
PS3 however, I'm not too worried about: most of the games on it worth playing are remakes, and very few are exclusives. Those that are on xbox, I'm guessing will be much easier to emulate since the xbox is powerPC, and thanks to apple (there's a phrase I don't say very often) we already have powerpc emulation of a sort. It's a start at least.

No one derives any income by writing an emulator so people can play games they have already bought. In the case of Sony they made a loss of $4 billion last year, they simply can't afford to spend time on things that won't show a profit.

It seems to me that Sony could derive a great deal of income from it. If they ship their new consoles with good emulation for previous generations, some people may consider that a killer feature. Income is derived from having more people buy the new console (and then the games) because of this.

I figured that was the reason. Now I feel smart.

I'm guessing this is an old article because Sony have confirmed the system uses an x86-64 processor made by AMD.

Emulating the Cell this isn't possible as the machine to do so would require quite a lot more power then it has. Creating a cross-compiling JIT (basically what Microsoft did with the Xbox games on the 360) isn't nice to write but performs a lot better. The memory layout of the SPEs doesn't help here as you'ld have to shim a fake DMA layer into the converted code, but you could probably do it.

However even if you managed to do that you'ld still be stuck because of the RSX (which I think is the real reason backwards compatibility isn't here).

On earlier consoles the GPU was just a polygon pusher. Take this texture, this vertex buffer and draw it here. Nothing too terrible to convert over to a different GPU if you had a nice API in-between.
The RSX however is an NVidia part with full Cg support, which from what I've read, was used quite a bit to offload non-graphics tasks to.
At this point emulation really isn't an option. On GPUs you're talking about hundreds of cores, simple ones compared to a CPU, but there's a lot of them.
Going from what you can find online (specs of 136 shader operations per clock, and clocked at 550MHz) that's around 7.48^10 operations per second.
Now the Jaguar processor is supposed to have a 10% faster clock (as per AMDs released information) and if we take the top-end AMD part that gives a new max clock of 1.87GHz.
That means if you just used the CPU for emulating the RSX (completely ignoring the Cell) you'ld need to perform 5 shader operations, per clock, to equal the RSX, which is going to be hard going.

This pretty much means the only option would be to cross-compile Cg over to the AMD version, which really wouldn't be nice. I've seen quite a few cross-compiling JITs but never one for a GPU.

In short, just the Cell might have been doable, but that and the RSX made this pretty much impossible.
If Sony do get their streaming system for PS3 games working I'm expecting them to just make rack-mount PS3s with virtual storage systems (e.g. Blu-ray/SATA via iSCSI).

Hopefully since Microsoft use DirectX and have written quite a few cross-compilers before (for the 360 and for several of their research projects) they'll be in a better position.

Yeah, I figured the problem had something to do with hardware and/or software.

I notice you didn't mention the reason why Sony chose the cell architecture. It was specifically to screw over the other consoles (and anyone who hadn't bought a PS3) because they thought developers would flock to the PS3 and wouldn't bother porting their titles to the 360/PC/Wii leading to more exclusive games on their own console.
Now their own crappy business practices have come back and bitten them twice.
Here's hoping we get a decent console this time round, but that press conference was filled with so many warning signs for crappy games that I'm probably setting myself up for disappointment.

Sony Displayed a lot of arrogance when they released the PS3. My guess is they expected the Cell would make more developers jump to the PS wagon exclusively since it would be a pain to port to other platforms and the PlayStation brand was already stronger than ever after reigning supreme the previous generation.

Jordi:

albino boo:

bunnielovekins:
I always did wonder why sony don't do their bit for the community and make a ps2 emulator so the pile of ps2 games in millions of peoples' closets doesn't gather dust. The only thing I can come up with is that there's no money in it; but we could say the same for ps1 emulation on the psp.
PS3 however, I'm not too worried about: most of the games on it worth playing are remakes, and very few are exclusives. Those that are on xbox, I'm guessing will be much easier to emulate since the xbox is powerPC, and thanks to apple (there's a phrase I don't say very often) we already have powerpc emulation of a sort. It's a start at least.

No one derives any income by writing an emulator so people can play games they have already bought. In the case of Sony they made a loss of $4 billion last year, they simply can't afford to spend time on things that won't show a profit.

It seems to me that Sony could derive a great deal of income from it. If they ship their new consoles with good emulation for previous generations, some people may consider that a killer feature. Income is derived from having more people buy the new console (and then the games) because of this.

That would be nice, but I'm willing to guess not enough difference in sales would be seen to justify the cost

Shamus Young:
Having said that, I can't fathom why they wouldn't emulate PlayStation 2 games.

Did they state they won't?
I don't remember a clear statement on that issue.
The ps4 has so much juice, it could most likely run a ps2 emulator so there should be no reason not to do it.

So that's why the PS3 had all those issues. I see.

Wait... then why don't they make the PS4 back compatible with the PS2? That should be far simpler, right? I still have a metric crapton of PS2 games (including Persona 3 and 4, Xenosaga Episodes 1-3, and Silent Hill 2-4) so that would allow for the "instant library" while avoiding the PS3 pitfalls.

WanderingFool:

Shamus Young:
Why the PS4 Doesn't Do PS3 Games

A bad decision made many years ago may haunt the PlayStation 4.

Read Full Article

So, in short, the PS4 lacks BWC because "Teh Cell" is actually pretty shit in most regards. Makes sense...

Well... not "shit" per say, it's an extremely powerful bit of tech, it was just a stupid decision to try and use it in a games console.

It's worth noting that the streaming-based backwards compatibility they're talking about is powered by Gaikai which, in my (admittedly limited) experience has lower latency and better video compression than OnLive, and I'm sure both facets of the service can and will improve with time. I wouldn't want to play a fighting game like that, but it's pretty darn tolerable for a good chunk of the PS3's library.

P.S. Thanks

loa:

Shamus Young:
Having said that, I can't fathom why they wouldn't emulate PlayStation 2 games.

Did they state they won't?
I don't remember a clear statement on that issue.
The ps4 has so much juice, it could most likely run a ps2 emulator so there should be no reason not to do it.

They won't put an emulator for ps2 games on there because then they couldn't sell the ps2 games on the vitas virtual store. The virtual store and maybe the the personna remake are the only things the vita has going for it right now.

Moriarty:
They won't put an emulator for ps2 games on there because then they couldn't sell the ps2 games on the vitas virtual store. The virtual store and maybe the the personna remake are the only things the vita has going for it right now.

That's the thing, if I could play my literal bookshelf full of ps2 games on a ps4, that would be an actual reason for me to get it.

Backwards compatibility to the PS2 is just about the only thing which would get me to pick up a PS4 at this point. I just don't want to deal with yet another big, bulky plastic box that only handles its own small library of titles, necessitating that I keep all my old plastic boxes around and plugged in.

I'm wondering why they banked on the x86 rather than the Power-PC architecture. I mean, I guess it makes it easier to transition PC games to the PS4 that way, but even so, most PC games are operating system specific and there is no way that Sony is going to use anything that could be tagged as windows. Anyhow, it's fairly clear that Sony didn't consult anybody who does much parallel programming before they landed on the cell architecture.

Rage only had 1 texture? That blows my mind.

First 6 core cpus, now DDR5 memory, Sony just likes these big tech numbers.

This is by far the best argument for why the PS4 not having backwards compatibility is a bad thing that will not be easily fixed, gratz Shamus!

Interesting. I had known the PS3 was a bear to code for, but I don't think I'd fully appreciated how that tied into the difficulties in emulating it on the new hardware. Thanks, Shamus.

I sort of knew this, but thanks for clearing it up more. I'm getting sick of losing my game libraries though. It's really annoying. I'm currently debating between the PS4 or moving to the PC gamer world. PC's are a bit daunting to get into though.

Yopaz:

I got a PS3 less than 3 months ago and I still haven't finished the games that made me buy it. Of course I am annoyed that I wont be able to play them if I choose to update, but I understand why. It's a sad, but it's probably better for the developers to be able to work with one kind of CPU. I don't love the idea and it will make me hold off a future purchase for a game I really want though.

Well, I'm sure I'm not the only one but, they are losing my potential money.
I'm an Xbox gamer--so I don't own any PS games. However, I've been very interested in a couple of the PS3 exclusives (Quantic Dream and Naughty Dog). However, it doesn't make much sense to me to buy a console that is on its way out for four games. So I was considering buying a PS4, thinking erroneously that it would be backwards compatible. But now that I learn that it won't be, There is very little chance I'm going to buy the PS4 or any of that PS3 back catalogue.

"I'm currently debating between the PS4 or moving to the PC gamer world. PC's are a bit daunting to get into though."

They are really not that bad. I have been a PC gamer for quite some time, grew up on the snes, and psx. Things with newer PCs are far more friendly for a person used to console gaming then ever before. I find it amazing that with games like the new Fallouts and Skyrim, my old "budget build" PC with an el-cheapo midrange video card still manages to eat my PS3 alive in terms of graphics and responsiveness (not to mention no 20min Loading times). You can now pretty much treat your PC as a console like I do. Plug in an HDMI cord to your TV or AV-Box, plug in a ps3 or xbox controller and you are all set, you will never know the difference (Aside from missing a few old pals, Jaggy and Pixie)

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