Gamasutra has followed up on a report by popular consumer gaming website IGN, citing Japanese monthly technology magazine Ultra One as claiming that backwards compatibility for the PlayStation 3 is being made possible using hardware.
The article claims that the PS3 will be enabling backwards compatibility with PlayStation 2 games through the inclusion of the PlayStation 2's core chipset (including the combined Emotion Engine and Graphic Synthesizer chip found within the slimline PlayStation 2) within the hardware itself, rather than through software emulation.
Responding to an inquiry by Gamasutra regarding the validity of these claims, a SCEA U.S. representative responded: “At this time, that news from IGN is just speculation, and Sony has no official comment at this time. However, we will be sending out more concrete information regarding the hardware in the near future."
According to the report, the article indicates that Sony is looking to this as a temporary solution, and plans to remove the chip from future hardware PlayStation 3 models, once it is able to include a functional PlayStation 2 emulator in its place. Such a redesign would, if true, presumably drive down the console's lofty price.
If the magazine's report holds true, the inclusion of PlayStation 2 hardware within the PlayStation 3 would seem to guarantee 100 percent backwards compatibility from day one. In addition, the report also indicated that unlike the PlayStation 2, which experienced some backwards compatibility issues with original PlayStation software due to later hardware revisions, the PlayStation 3 will be able to connect to Sony's online infrastructure in order to download any necessary updates to ensure that original games remain playable as well.
Finally, the IGN report indicated that the magazine also details an estimated price that the high end PlayStation 3 will demand when it is released in Japan in November. According to the Ultra One article, the 60GB version, which was labeled simply as “open” in terms of price during E3, is anticipated by the magazine to cost ¥73,000 ($650) at launch.