Why the PS4 Doesn't Do PS3 Games

 Pages PREV 1 2 3
 

you know what i took out of this article?

the entirety of Rage is one giant fucking texture! wow. do many games do this?

I didn't know anything about cell processors and these differences but I honestly was fine with no PS3 backwards compatibility. It really didn't seem to have that great of a library and I at least felt like the console was recent enough where emulation actually would be costly or difficult. The lack of PS2 and PS1 backwards compatibility is what pissed me off. Even the PS3 can play PS1 games (I think) and buying my PS2 games again is just ...no.

One thing I suspect that people overlook is that if they were to put a PS2 into the PS4 (which is kinda what they did with the PS3), then the price would easily be an additional $100-$200. I don't know about you, but that is an acceptable sacrifice.

The thing that saddens me most about no backwards compatibility is that the greatest library of games ever will be lost forever.

Just a really damn sad thing to see. On the PC we at least have places like GoG and less reputable sites keeping games up for purchase/download, but what about consoles? That's a shitload of gaming history that'll just fade away. And that's a damn shame.

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

No, it's not "pretty shit in most regards".
The problem is that there is power and happy developers.
You just can't have both with Cell. It's a question of what's more important to Sony and given that the PS3's biggest problem (at the beginning) was that developers said that it's too hard to develop for, it's clear that they took this route. Remember how the 360 versions were the games that usually looked/ran better, especially in the beginning?

martyrdrebel27:
you know what i took out of this article?

the entirety of Rage is one giant fucking texture! wow. do many games do this?

Rage is the only one so far, though future id games may do this as well. The technology is called megatexture. Shamus made a video explaining the tech, if you want to know more.

SonicWaffle:
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'm going to unfortuently cap that hope, the Xbox uses a different type again, and while more compatible than PS3 its still needs work. However both consoles could in theory receive re-releases/HD versions from multiplatform games, Activision etc just need to adapt their PC versions as they already use x86.

I gave the PS3 a complete pass. Both from a business and a feature perspective (sony really ticked me off around the start of the generation). But rage cools, and they could do one thing to win me back: give me PS2 compatibility. I couldn't care less about the PS3 library, but I have a huge pile of PS2 games that I still haul out and play on a regular basis. Let me do that without having to jump through increasingly difficult hoops to replace PS2s when they eventually die.

This was a heart breaking read. I was so looking forward to one day having my entire PS library on one machine and it looks like it'll be at least another decade before that's realistic.

It will never be realistic, unfortunately. Have you talked to many mainstream gamers lately? They don't know what PS1 games are and they don't care. They want bleeding-edge graphics and Halo and emotional experiences.

The video gaming industry: it's business, not art. Businessmen go where the money is, and there's probably very little to be had in backwards compatibility.

What baffles me is that people actually raised this as an issue. Was it not obvious from the financial and power requirements of the PS3 that there wouldn't be backwards compatibility in the PS4? Sure, it's a hard pill to swallow, but you can't actually expect Sony to include a CBBP in there, the right memory on top of the 8GB etc. Getting an OS to work nicely with two totally different assembly languages, for one, is a miraculous feat in itself, and one that surely would raise the price due to dev time. Anyone can see this a mile off.

PS4 without BC - 350 - 400

PS4 with BC = 650 - 700 (maybe less if Sony feel like making a very harsh loss)

Still, here's to hoping Sony will leverage Gaikai for some sort of solution, they're in the position to do so.

xpacerx:

oldtaku:
They're looking at it - but promising nothing. They explicitly said they weren't guaranteeing anything about back compat and that it would not be present at launch

They specifically mentioned the ps3 library is something they are focusing on bringing to the cloud and stated the network would release functionality in stages, its pretty much going to happen.

Uh... Well, I guess you can't argue with 'I want it to happen so it'll happen.' It might!

But what about PSN games? Games that would run just fine on the PS4?
What's the reason for not including them?

I don't know why people are thinking this would be such an expensive thing to implement.

1) PS1 emulation can be done through software.
2) PS2 emulation can be done through software (those PS2 games from the Playstation store play on ALL PS3s. Sony just includes the emulator with the game. The emulator is tweaked for each game in this case. The PS4 is more powerful so this level of tweaking would not be required.)
3) The Cell processor and other PS3 chips are from 2006. Not expensive to make.

Sony is doing this because:

1) They want to resell you your games online from the Playstation store.
2) They are probably looking only at the younger demographic (as a lot of game publishers are doing these days). When I was younger I traded in my games as I didn't have the money. Now that I am older I tend to keep what I buy - hence the large library.

What they don't realize is:

1) The used games everyone wants are harder to get and more expensive than the online digital versions. So being able to play older discs wouldn't really affect sales of digital games.
2) I am older and have the money. Adding this compatibility would cost Sony $25-50 more and they could charge $100. Easy money...

Just to continue my rant a bit more...

The Wii U could still be GameCube compatible. (The hardware architecture is very similar so I don't think any additional hardware would be required beyond GameCube to USB controller adapters.) However, Nintendo has deliberately disabled this feature as they have done in later model Wiis. And again, they will be selling digital versions of GameCube games online while not allowing you to play your own disc versions. Anyone see a pattern here?

I am becoming so jaded by the whole game industry that I even expect the PS5 to NOT be able to play PS4 games, even if the PS5 is just an even more enhanced "x64". Instead they will want to sell you your PS4 games again...

Now if you will excuse me I will huddle in a corner by myself with my Super Nintendo...

RicoADF:

SonicWaffle:
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'm going to unfortuently cap that hope, the Xbox uses a different type again, and while more compatible than PS3 its still needs work. However both consoles could in theory receive re-releases/HD versions from multiplatform games, Activision etc just need to adapt their PC versions as they already use x86.

Ouch, you got me right in the optimism :-(

Thanks for making this article. I've grown tired of explaining why emulating the ps3's processor would be nigh impossible.

martyrdrebel27:
you know what i took out of this article?

the entirety of Rage is one giant fucking texture! wow. do many games do this?

Yeah, that shocked me when I saw it too. Crazy stuff. That certainly explains the texture loading issues in the game. I wonder why they thought that was a good idea or if it was just an easier way for them to do things?

Alatari:
I don't know why people are thinking this would be such an expensive thing to implement.

1) PS1 emulation can be done through software.
2) PS2 emulation can be done through software (those PS2 games from the Playstation store play on ALL PS3s. Sony just includes the emulator with the game. The emulator is tweaked for each game in this case. The PS4 is more powerful so this level of tweaking would not be required.)
3) The Cell processor and other PS3 chips are from 2006. Not expensive to make.

I understand the frustration you're having with this move but I assure you it isn't just them being greedy bastards like normal. There are some things that absolutely should be backwards compatible like any kind of ps1 or ps2 games you've purchased on the store.

But the fact is that while the ps4 is significantly more powerful, it is not as exponentially more powerful as the ps3 was compared to the ps2. The ps2 is basically a graphing calculator at this point where consoles are concerned. The requirements to emulate any environment take up more resources than the original environment would. The fact that the ps3's hardware is so alien to anything else significantly harms attempts at emulation as this article explains. Emulating that hardware architecture would take resources that we really don't have faith the ps4 has. It may be viable, we just don't know yet. Do you have any evidence regarding the specs required to emulate the ps3? Probably not since it hasn't been done and may be impossible to do.

Perhaps Sony will come up with an addon or physical device of some kind that will alleviate that system stress somehow, but without some serous innovating it isn't as simple as you think it is. They also can't incure a significant cost on all ps4 consumers with the changes. They can't simply sell you the same games they'd been selling previously. Take inFamous for example, one of my absolute favorite series. This game was entirely optimized for the ps3's architecture and the digital format was the same as you'd get on disk. In order to make that playable on the ps4 you actually have to have a development team go in and parse the code in order to make a port to the ps4 just as if they were going to sell it on the 360. So, from the code level, in order for it to be playable on the ps4 it'd have to be a different license. Doing this on a game by game basis costs significant money and would warrant reselling to comp very real development time. Every single game would have been coded differently so there's no easy software parsing solution that would automatically switch things over. If you know anything of coding you'll understand that.

It's really unfortunate that this is the decision that Sony made for the ps3. I've been bitching about that choice from day one. But this move with the ps4 will only benefit all of us going forward and should make ps4 games playable on all future consoles and much more easy to port to other systems. We'll get a lot of better titles and better ports that would otherwise have been on other systems. This is why a basically more powerful machine got crappy ports and lost some exclusives last generation. This move had to be made.

I understand the cost of ps3 titles in at least the short term may sound like a huge price to pay. But this is one of the first positive steps I've seen Sony make in a generation.

What I don't understand is why Sony couldn't have handled BC like Nintendo did with the Wii U.

Let me explain: when people started tearing apart the Wii U and getting a proper look at the hardware, they found that Nintendo had been very sneaky and clever regarding backwards compatibility. Rather than simply taking the barebone Wii internals and bolting them on the side of the unit, in the same way that the PS2 and early PS3s handled BC, they took the CPU and GPU, broke them down into little pieces and actually integrated them into the circuitry of the Wii U CPU?GPU itself.

Inside the Wii U GPU is a little Wii GPU that allows it to perfectly play Wii games. Not through emulation or anything like that. The Wii GPU kicks in, and the Wii U essentially becomes a Wii.

What's even better, and this is according to some of the tech-heads at Neogaf, is that because the Wii GPU and CPU are actually integrated into the main circuit, then the console isn't in backwards-compatibility mode, those components can be used to give a moderate boost to performance. Rather than having them just sit there as dead weight, Nintendo is getting usage out of those parts even in regular Wii U mode.

Why couldn't Sony do the same thing with the Cell? I mean, obviously it's more complicated than the Wii CPU by a huge margin, but they're already using an 8-core CPU with the PS4. Contrary to popular belief, the CELL isn't a multicore CPU, but a single core with 7 or 8 SPE units to handle smaller computational tasks. Is there no way that Sony could have taken that single core and those SPEs, broken them down and again integrated them into the Jaguar CPU they're using? Couldn't they have potentially spent less on the Jaguar by going for a six core instead of eight, and actually using the PS3 architecture in an integrated way to make up the difference?

I mean, it would have been expensive to R&D, but developing any kind of console is expensive. And they get the knock on effect of having at least a small part of the CPU being absolutely dirt cheap now, yet still being completely functional, and with 100% backwards compatibility as standard.

Is the CELL processor just too weird a piece of tech for that to even potentially work?

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Is the CELL processor just too weird a piece of tech for that to even potentially work?

Something to that effect is what I had in mind when talking about an addon of some sort. A hardware solution would be far more viable than emulation at this point. The processor itself isn't that large (it's still a chip) but the question is how much it'll cost and what other factors are involved with including it (e.g. heating concerns, what additional components are required along with it, etc).

If it even adds $50 to the console, this could hurt Sony's price point. They could probably launch tiered systems again (and will likely do so regardless) but this exposes them to risk.

It is a very interesting question that I'd also like to see answered.

RobfromtheGulag:
Rage only had 1 texture? That blows my mind.

One texture for the landscape, I believe. Characters, cars, buildings all had separate textures. The landscape tech was called Megatexture Technology, or something like that, and it was supposed to make game development easier (so it benefits the devs rather than the gamer). Rage was basically a tech demo for Megatextures.

Lightknight:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Is the CELL processor just too weird a piece of tech for that to even potentially work?

Something to that effect is what I had in mind when talking about an addon of some sort. A hardware solution would be far more viable than emulation at this point. The processor itself isn't that large (it's still a chip) but the question is how much it'll cost and what other factors are involved with including it (e.g. heating concerns, what additional components are required along with it, etc).

If it even adds $50 to the console, this could hurt Sony's price point. They could probably launch tiered systems again (and will likely do so regardless) but this exposes them to risk.

It is a very interesting question that I'd also like to see answered.

Thing is, as I said in my original post, while it would probably cost money to R&D integrating a CELL processor into the PS4 architecture, the actual component itself is dirt cheap nowadays, isn't it? I mean, it's hardly at the cutting edge of CPU technology anymore. And considering that integrating it into the hardware would give PS4 players the entire PS3 library to potentially play, day 1, that would be a huge potential sell. Work in PS2 and PS1 emulation, and you've got the entire history of the Playstation catalogue potentially there for people to play. That would be huge. Imagine being able to play all your playstation games, from 1995 to now, on one machine. That would blow people's minds.

As for the tiered systems thing... I don't think that would necessarily work. Again, from what I understand, integrating the older architecture into the new can give the overall hardware additional resources to work with. Meaning that a PS4 with integrated CELL hardware would be a bit more powerful than one without. You wouldn't just create a schism in price, you'd create a schism in console performance as well.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Thing is, as I said in my original post, while it would probably cost money to R&D integrating a CELL processor into the PS4 architecture, the actual component itself is dirt cheap nowadays, isn't it? I mean, it's hardly at the cutting edge of CPU technology anymore.

I don't know how much it would cost. If it's $50 then that is an additional sum of money that will be imposed on anyone who gets a system with it in there. If the ps4 is considering this a generation that they can legitimately take market share from microsoft then that $50 is a tough pill to swallow and not one we can bully them into taking.

There are other factors too. The ps3 wasn't the most efficient at heat control and these chips absolutely have heat issues. So you're talking about something that could potentially harm the ps4 and you're also talking about something that requires other components where the ps2 did not demand them.

No telling the cost and potential dangers without being an expert in ps3 hardware.

And considering that integrating it into the hardware would give PS4 players the entire PS3 library to potentially play, day 1, that would be a huge potential sell. Work in PS2 and PS1 emulation, and you've got the entire history of the Playstation catalogue potentially there for people to play. That would be huge. Imagine being able to play all your playstation games, from 1995 to now, on one machine. That would blow people's minds.

[quote]As for the tiered systems thing... I don't think that would necessarily work. Again, from what I understand, integrating the older architecture into the new can give the overall hardware additional resources to work with. Meaning that a PS4 with integrated CELL hardware would be a bit more powerful than one without. You wouldn't just create a schism in price, you'd create a schism in console performance as well.

A few points:

1. Tiered systems already worked for the ps3 early on. Remember when ps3s were backwards compatible with ps2s?
2. You sure as HELL do not want to integrate the cell hardware into the actual hardware of the ps4. That would be unbelievably dumb and would ruin the point of using standard hardware instead of the proprietary shit they tried for the ps3. No, if the ps3's chipset is included at all, it will be its own seperate thing and will share the disk drive. Actual integration would be terrible. Any game that tried to utilize the second chipset would then be unplayable on the ps5. You're talking about making the same mistake over and over again.
3. Many consoles have a price schism. The last generation saw this largely based on HDD space included and aesthetics. There isn't even really a question about whether or not that will happen here, the only question is what will be different between the tiers. Backwards compatibility is a legitimate difference.

Interestingly enough, I'll point out that the next xbox will have a backwards compatibility problem with physical 360 media. The HD-DVD format completely lost to the bluray format so the odds of the next box having HD-DVD readers is nill. Since bluray players don't read HD-DVD format (they use different lasers altogether from what I understand). Digitally purchased formats should be completely playable though.

The issue isn't nearly as bad as complete hardware redesign.

The 360 uses DVDs for game storage.

The HD-DVD player was just an external add-on. So the "720" could read the discs no problem.

If the "720" also goes X64 like the PS4 (that is the rumor) then the "720" will be more like the original X-Box, which was just a Pentium III based system...

Lightknight:

The fact that the ps3's hardware is so alien to anything else significantly harms attempts at emulation as this article explains. Emulating that hardware architecture would take resources that we really don't have faith the ps4 has. It may be viable, we just don't know yet. Do you have any evidence regarding the specs required to emulate the ps3? Probably not since it hasn't been done and may be impossible to do.

Perhaps Sony will come up with an addon or physical device of some kind that will alleviate that system stress somehow, but without some serous innovating it isn't as simple as you think it is.

I think you misread my post as these were my points! What I was trying to emphasize is that the physical CELL processor and related chips are from 2006 and therefore not expensive to make. It would add to the cost (hence my suggestion for the add-on card so if you want this feature you pay for it that way) but not hundreds of dollars as some of the previous posters have suggested.

Lightknight:

But this move with the ps4 will only benefit all of us going forward and should make ps4 games playable on all future consoles and much more easy to port to other systems.

You are much more optimistic than I am! I think they have abandoned backwards compatibility as a matter of policy, not so much technology. On reporting on the PS4 many articles have mentioned the streaming of PS3 games. I believe this will be similar to the PS2 games in the Playstation Store that ALL PS3s can play. The streaming will be for the new game you just purchased only, not any of your disc based titles.

I think that through software emulation and physical chips full BC would be possible. This could be passed on as a charge only to the users that really want it and are willing to pay for it. HOWEVER, this doesn't fit with Sony's new digital sales strategy so that is why we aren't seeing it.

Shamus Young:
While I can understand this frustration, it's interesting to note that this is probably an unavoidable outcome of a Very Dumb Decision that was made over a decade ago.

I dunno man, with our 2013 amazing foresight it indeed seems like a dumb decision, but go back to 2003 when it was made (giving or taking a year) and building a machine around the Cell architecture actually made sense in some areas. They already had experience in dealing with exotic architectures from the PS2, it saved the (then expensive) RAM allowing superior performance with the same hardware compared to a regular x86-64 and naturally prevented emulation among other things.

Honestly the PS3 was the first console to totally blew me out of the water in designs and avobe all in how much they belived in their vision of the product. Never got one because by then I was just too invested in PC gaming and had no interest on a console, but to the date is the only console I don't consider just a cheap totally crippled/wall gardened (portatil gaming-dedicated) computer.

Even if the new machine is ten times faster than the one you're emulating, you're talking about emulating multiple concurrent processors.

I would understand this if we were trying to emulate all six spes with one core, but the PS4 has eight cores ... that seems like enough ... although, there's still the problem of emulating PPC code on an x86, which isn't that hard to do really, but it is excruciatingly slow if you're trying to play something like a PS3 game ...

On a relatively related note, I think more games should be written in Haskell. That language is basically designed to optimize concurrent code automatically, so the same Haskell code would compile equally optimally on the PS2, PS3, and PS4 without major modification, if Sony had put a little energy into porting GHC properly (and if all the game developers learned Haskell, which is more difficult than learning most languages, but not by much). That would make the PS3 much easier to develop for, and then maybe the PS4 would use another Cell with more cores on it, which would make BC trivial.

Alatari:
I think you misread my post as these were my points! What I was trying to emphasize is that the physical CELL processor and related chips are from 2006 and therefore not expensive to make. It would add to the cost (hence my suggestion for the add-on card so if you want this feature you pay for it that way) but not hundreds of dollars as some of the previous posters have suggested.

I wasn't bringing up a new point, I was asking if you had any evidence to support the claim that the ps4 would be capable of emulating the ps3 since emulation of the ps3 has not been successfully performed on any machine that we know of.

Yeah, I would expect something like $25-$50 of chip cost and something more regarding additional hardware to connect it. The problem may come in if it specifically requires additional hardware to operate properly.

You are much more optimistic than I am! I think they have abandoned backwards compatibility as a matter of policy, not so much technology. On reporting on the PS4 many articles have mentioned the streaming of PS3 games. I believe this will be similar to the PS2 games in the Playstation Store that ALL PS3s can play. The streaming will be for the new game you just purchased only, not any of your disc based titles.

Actually, the standardizing of hardware will mean there would be no further excuse for saying that the system can't be backwards compatible. The console is now officially more computer than not or at least the line it thoroughly blurred. They've had legitimate reasons to claim incompatibility for most systems in the past but not really anymore.

It isn't optimism, it's a basic understanding of the difference between proprietary hardware and standardized hardware. Proprietary usually means compatibility issues with any product or service, not just consoles. Standard means that there's even a potential to play the same disks on a computer, think about that one.

Take a look at the current 360. The next gen won't have HD-DVD readers because that would be dumb. So the 360 will have a similar problem for completely different reasons. It would actually require a seperate reader to use.

I think that through software emulation and physical chips full BC would be possible. This could be passed on as a charge only to the users that really want it and are willing to pay for it. HOWEVER, this doesn't fit with Sony's new digital sales strategy so that is why we aren't seeing it.

It doesn't benefit a console company with such stiff competition to purposefully strangle their library. It would be a significant boon to them to have their ps3 library readily available on the ps4 if they want to acquire more market share this time around. With them releasing first they are well poised to do that and this only hurts them.

The successful implementation of the physical chip by itself would solve the problem. That's all the multi-core is, it's a chip like any CPU that's about the size of your thumb. The real questions are what else is required to make that successful and how much does it cost? If it's just as easy as slapping the chip in there then that's great, but it may require other hardware and it may have compatibility issues with the existing resources. There's also a potential heat problem, maybe, we don't konw. Beyond that, if it does cost more then you're absolutely talking about a tiered console pricing scheme again, which is the new norm anyways.

It was only a matter of time before their arrogance came back to bite them in the ass. They wanted to make the ps3 so different and not even give developers english translated manuals with the expectation people would just take it as they would always maintain their number one position. How is that complicated hardware treating you NOW sony?

Oh and no thanks to rebuying all the digital downloads again on your ps4 simply to fill your greedy pockets at my expense. It's simply worth it in the long run to continually upgrade your pc so you don't have to get burnt by sony and microsoft corporate greed.

Zeckt:
It was only a matter of time before their arrogance came back to bite them in the ass. They wanted to make the ps3 so different and not even give developers english translated manuals with the expectation people would just take it as they would always maintain their number one position. How is that complicated hardware treating you NOW sony?

Oh and no thanks to rebuying all the digital downloads again on your ps4 simply to fill your greedy pockets at my expense. It's simply worth it in the long run to continually upgrade your pc so you don't have to get burnt by sony and microsoft corporate greed.

It wasn't arrogance so much as poor foresight. The multi-cell processor could outperform other platforms in theory and they thought developers would utilize that instead of just porting games over.

It was just too difficult to program for and it had some file size limitations that they just didn't foresee at the time (some assets can be too large to fit in any one cell and some files bloat with use. E.g. Skryim on the ps3). Additionaly, Sony didn't really provide the tools in a way that they should have. They were afraid that developers would immediately unlock the full potential of the ps3 and then we'd have nowhere to go from there (they should be so lucky to have had 2013 quality games in 2007). The current CEO stated that they wanted it to be hard and that is also just them being dumb.

On the other side, they correctly called the bluray format and did a decent job providing media resources from the desktop. This saved them in my opinion. So what we're hopefully seeing now is them learning from a mistakes rather than trying to overcome part of their culture.

I think it's now up to the publishers of certain games to make sure their old games don't fade away. Lavish packs of "classics" might be the answer, but then it's till a nightmare to change the code to work on the new machines. Remember what a mess Konami made of the Silent Hill HD remake.
Digital distribution would be key in this working.
A thought occures though. If it's such a hassle to remodle a PS3 game for the now more PC-esk PS4, if a given PS3 game was also available on PC or 360, might it be a simpler task to port from those formats to PS4?... would there be some legal hassle with Microsoft if they chose to do that?

Livid.... This makes no sense. GTA V comes out in September which I will buy instantly on PS3. The PS4 comes out in November and I would only afford it if I traded my PS3 in for one which I won't do as I won't be able to play GTA V on it? I think there are a lot of people in this position and I expect this one game (GTA V) will impact people's decisions to buy a PS4 on release. I can see early sales of the PS4 being low.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here