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Emulation (Games) Classic Games (Games) PlayStation (Games) Sony

Sony Quietly Adds PS2 Emulation To the PS4 (eurogamer.net) 151

An anonymous reader writes: The Digital Foundry blog reports that Sony has added functionality to the PlayStation 4 that allows it to act as an emulator for some PlayStation 2 games. Surprisingly, the company did not mention that this functionality is live; a new Star Wars game bundle just happened to include three titles that were released on the PS2. From the article: "How can we tell? First of all, a system prompt appears telling you that select and start buttons are mapped to the left and right sides of the Dual Shock 4's trackpad. Third party game developers cannot access the system OS in this manner. Secondly, just like the PS2 emulator on PlayStation 3, there's an emulation system in place for handling PS2 memory cards. Thirdly, the classic PlayStation 2 logo appears in all of its poorly upscaled glory when you boot each title." Sony has confirmed the games are being emulated, but declined to provide any further details.
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Sony Quietly Adds PS2 Emulation To the PS4

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 20, 2015 @11:30AM (#50969841)

    If Sony made this official there would be and endless list of wingers and whiners here on Slashdot complaining about how game X didn't work properly, and then go ballistic when the support is removed.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      endless list of wingers

      Now I have that stupid "Seventeen" song in my head. Thanks, jerkass.

    • Or "But why isn't my favorite PS2 game here? It only sold 10 copies but I really liked it!"
    • by Z80a ( 971949 )

      The compatibility of this emulator must be quite bad, given the fact they must be using all sorts of speedhacks and multithreaded insanity that leads to innacuate timing to make the quite weak jaguar cores handle emulation in realtime and probably the emulator must require per game tweaking as happens with the nintendo 64 emulation on the Wii virtual console.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    As someone who has never had a console, do I understand correctly that people normally have to re-buy games when they upgrade their consoles? i.e. not like a PC where something 20 years old can, sometimes with a bit of hacking, still be played on your current machine.

    That's... ugh... do you just stack all your consoles in your living room so you can select the appropriate one for the games you have? Are you people made of space and money?

    • As someone who has never had a console, do I understand correctly that people normally have to re-buy games when they upgrade their consoles? i.e. not like a PC where something 20 years old can, sometimes with a bit of hacking, still be played on your current machine.

      That's... ugh... do you just stack all your consoles in your living room so you can select the appropriate one for the games you have? Are you people made of space and money?

      Indeed! This has been going on for nearly 40 years. Welcome to today.

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      This is precisely why I'm shying away from console games now. It wasn't too bad when the PC would gain emulation for the console titles over time (e.g. I can play nes, snes, n64, gameboy, playstation, playstation 2, gamecube, psp, nintendo ds, and wii titles fine on PC now), but as of PS3/Xbox360, things have gotten to the point where the chances of workable emulation are limited for the forseeable future.

      • This is all true, but it's slightly offset by the recent trend to re-release (and modernise) some of the more popular previous-gen games.

        • by Junta ( 36770 )

          Note that a lot of games I revisit are not on the popular list.

          I do however wonder if finally getting into the x86 architecture means they will have more x86 sensibility with respect to backwards compatibility moving forward.... On the other hand they may recognize the cash cow for now work that is rereleasing...

          • getting into the x86 architecture means they will have more x86 sensibility with respect to backwards compatibility moving forward

            True, but if the games are using low-level graphics APIs, you're only half-way there.

    • Yes and no, some games do get re-released in an updated format and some users will pay for that. The rest of us tend to keep the old consoles and the few games we truely love, in a box somewhere that gets dusted off and used once every leap year. The upside to this is there's no "hacking" to get something working. And if we're talking 20 year old PC titles, well, we're into the territory that you have to ensure your sound card (yes, they did exist as their own card) and video card are actually supported
      • by Anonymous Coward

        PC Gamer here.

        I bought a new video card recently for 200. The previous one lasted around 5 years and it was purchased for about 250. It kept up with most games rather nicely and only started showing its age with newer titles about a year ago. Ram and processor are good for a while yet. 8GB DDR3, Phenom 2 1090t

        Stacks of hard drives? Really? No need. 3tb drive holds it all nicely. Games I am currently playing get moved to the ssd.

        I also do not have 6 consoles plugged into my TV, with their various con

      • I don't think keeping a PC constantly up to date is really necessary to enjoy a majority of games. Sure some people spend hundreds of dollars on multiple video cards, high end processors and fancy monitors from Korea but it's not necessary. Mostly because so many PC games are optimized for console hardware released 10 years ago. If your monitor only goes to 1080p you can usually max out the specs anyway. You can run a 4 year old video card and still enjoy most PC games. Because as I said unless you want so

        • by JazzLad ( 935151 ) on Friday November 20, 2015 @02:12PM (#50970925) Homepage Journal
          FO4 junkie here, it's no exception. My (bought used for $180 a year ago) GTX 680 works great in 4k (by great, I mean with anti-aliasing basically off - at 24" 4k doesn't really need it). Yeah, I spent a stack of cash on my monitor (mainly for Photoshop), but otherwise, I have a 6 year old (bought 5 years ago for about $100) AMD quad core processor & 8GB RAM (and a small SDD + large HDD) - it doesn't take much to get a better experience than consoles.
      • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

        Most actually vintage titles get GoG releases. Many can also be emulated in DosBox just straight up.

        Basically, if you don't want to keep your old PC hardware around (as you obviously do your old console hardware), then you have to take steps in software to play the games. With consoles, you don't have the second option at all- though the first option is a bit easier.

    • Yes and no. Backward compatibility is more common than people mention, but because the actual architecture and media of consoles change from generation to generation, consoles as a whole aren't backwards compatible.
    • As someone who has never had a console, do I understand correctly that people normally have to re-buy games when they upgrade their consoles?

      Most things with CD tried to be backwards compatibility, most things with cartridges not so much.

      That's... ugh... do you just stack all your consoles in your living room so you can select the appropriate one for the games you have?

      I'm pretty sure I know people who have several game consoles spanning a very long time .. like back to their Super Nintento.

      Are you people m

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        Most things with CD tried to be backwards compatibility, most things with cartridges not so much.

        Except anything in the Game Boy or Nintendo DS line, which support at least one generation of back-compat: GBA and GBA SP can run Game Boy and GBC games, DS and DS Lite can run GBA games, and 3DS, 2DS, and New Nintendo 3DS can run DS games.

        I'm pretty sure I know people who have several game consoles spanning a very long time .. like back to their Super Nintento.

        That and there are still third-party games coming out for the original Nintendo Entertainment System, three decades after the console's launch.

        if it still works and there are games you still like .. why just throw it away?

        Presumably to save recurring rent/property tax money by moving to a smaller home.

      • Most things with CD tried to be backwards compatibility, most things with cartridges not so much.

        That's not really accurate. Sure the Playstation line was Backwards compatible up until half way through the PS3's life span but none of the Sega Disc based consoles were BC. However Sega's Genesis could play Master system games with the appropriate adapter. (the adapter was really only there for the slot to accept the cartridges). Also the Atari 5200 and 7800 could play 2600 games. The gameboy's were almost al

        • 5200 was not 2600 compatible. People were really angry!
          This was a major error from Atari; that and the 5200 joysticks.

    • It varies.

      In the old day each new console was a very different system that was basically totally incompatible with it's predecessors, if you wanted to keep playing your old games you had to keep your old consoles around. Sometimes a game would be re-released for a newer console but this was the exception not the rule. If a game was re-released and you wanted to play it on your new console then yes you did have to re-buy it. Often such games were packaged together into compilations for the re-release.

      The pla

      • Not as much of a trend as you think. Atari 7800 was compatible with 2600 games. Sega broke that trend as well. Mega Drive was backcompat with Master System, and 32x was also backcompat with Mega Drive by way of being an addon (as you could put your MD cats on top of the 32x and they would generally work).

        Also Nintend broke that trend in handheld - all GBA systems but the GB Micro could play original B&W GB games. Each successive handheld has at least supported one previous generation of consoles.

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      Yes none of this generations systems has any significant backwards compatibility.

      Yes see;
      http://www.techeblog.com/index... [techeblog.com]

      and

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

      No but Sony and Microsoft seem to think we are.

      • There's backwards compatibility on the XBox One now, although it was only added within the past few weeks. If you own the original on Xbox 360, you can download the Xbox One version of the title without paying extra.
    • by AdamHaun ( 43173 )

      As someone who has never had a console, do I understand correctly that people normally have to re-buy games when they upgrade their consoles? i.e. not like a PC where something 20 years old can, sometimes with a bit of hacking, still be played on your current machine. That's... ugh... do you just stack all your consoles in your living room so you can select the appropriate one for the games you have? Are you people made of space and money?

      We just keep the old consoles. They're not that big -- maybe a foot across. And (until they got internet connectivity) they were mostly guaranteed to work forever without user intervention.

      Backwards compatibility on PCs was not trivial before DOSBox, and I understand that running Windows 3.1 games is still pretty difficult. Keep in mind that consoles don't have a single standard architecture. Different consoles in the same generation are not compatible, and the hardware on consoles changes much more from ge

    • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

      Well, kinda, but not entirely that simple. I've probably re-bought more computer games than console games, really.

      I play my Atari and Nintendo (original NES, and SuperNintendo) games on my PC in emulation.

      My original computer games were for the Mac OS 6 through 9, none of which are compatible with my curent MacBook running OS X, so I either don't get to play them anymore, or I re-purchased them for PC. GOG.com makes this relatively inexpensive, and honestly it's easier and cheaper (in terms of time) to re-b

  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Friday November 20, 2015 @11:34AM (#50969865) Homepage Journal

    The Belgium Foreign Minister confirmed this morning that ISIS has ported Telegram to the PS2. He implored good citizens to switch exclusively to USB peripherals and await the banning of cash and TLS, technologies known to enable human trafficking.

  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Friday November 20, 2015 @11:35AM (#50969875) Homepage

    I'm sure a PS2 emulator has novelty value but I'm not sure many people will really be that interested. Wouldn't a PS3 emulator make more sense given a lot of PS4 owners may still have a PS3 to play PS3 games and might prefer one console to do both? Or is the PS4 simply not powerful enough to do it?

    • There's probably a lot of old titles people would still play if they could, and which can probably make some additional revenue from.

      I can't remember if it was PS->PS2, or PS2->PS3 ... but essentially they achieved backwards compatibility by making the CPU for the previous generation the front-end processor for the new generation. The theory was backwards compatible was essentially free.

      It's entirely plausible the PS4 can't emulate a PS3 fast enough ... but I bet there's a lot of side scrollers and o

      • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@ g m a i l .com> on Friday November 20, 2015 @12:09PM (#50970127) Homepage Journal

        I can't remember if it was PS->PS2, or PS2->PS3 ... but essentially they achieved backwards compatibility by making the CPU for the previous generation the front-end processor for the new generation.

        There have been several consoles like that. Sega Genesis included the Sega Master System CPU as a coprocessor mostly used for audio and a VDP that can fall back to Master System video modes. PlayStation 2 included the original PlayStation's CPU as the I/O coprocessor. Nintendo DS included the GBA's ARM7 as the I/O coprocessor.

        There are a few other approaches to backward compatibility. One is to overclock the same CPU (Game Boy Color, Wii), possibly with more identical cores (Wii U). Another is to disable the previous CPU entirely when running new games (Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 3 with SACD logo).

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      PS2 is easier. Note this is probably like the PS1 emulation in PSP, good enough to work almost all the time, but limited by Sony to make sure a given title works and/or is tweaked to work under the emulator before blessing it.

      Also, porting from PS3 might be more in reach for companies than PS2 back catalog, simply because being newer means they are more likely to still have the assets to build the title.

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      I'm sure a PS2 emulator has novelty value but I'm not sure many people will really be that interested.

      It's the same logic as the Virtual Console section of Nintendo's Wii Shop Channel. Only a PlayStation 2 emulator can play PlayStation 2 exclusive games. A heck of a lot of those were produced for a console that clearly outsold the contemporary Xbox and GameCube consoles. Emulating the PlayStation 2 allows SCE and participating game publishers to produce revenue from these games.

      Or is the PS4 simply not powerful enough to do it?

      I suspect that to be the case. PlayStation 4's processor (a 64-bit Jaguar, DO THE MATH) is reportedly clocked lower than PlayStatio

      • Who cares about clock speeds? Even if the PS4 had a current-day top-of-the-line CPU, emulating a Cell processor with usable performance would be an enormous -- probably impossible -- task.

        The Cell is quite exotic: it's radically different from most CPUs. I imagine it would be a nightmare for software emulation.

        On top of that, you'd have to emulate the GPU, which would another enormous (maybe impossible) task.

        A more practical alternative would be to set our sights lower, and for Sony to create tooling to sim

        • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

          The PS3 was going to have this problem from the start- the cell architecture was just too exotic. The only way we would have PS3 emulation on the PS4 is if the PS4 kept to that exact design concept- and that's just punting the problem to whenever it's no longer wise to keep down that design path.

    • I'm sure a PS2 emulator has novelty value but I'm not sure many people will really be that interested. Wouldn't a PS3 emulator make more sense given a lot of PS4 owners may still have a PS3 to play PS3 games and might prefer one console to do both? Or is the PS4 simply not powerful enough to do it?

      Sony's solution is Playstation NOW. It is a streaming service to let you play PS4 games on your PS4 using a streaming "rental" model. The plan is to include PS3 games at some point.

    • Keep in mind the ps3 (cell) had a totally different architecture where the ps4 is off the shelf (mostly) pc components. They are offering a paid streaming service for some (all?) ps3 titles. That's why just giving us an emulator will never happen. Why spend time and money developing this to give it for free when you can make me buy those games again, or better yet sucker me into a subscription. Fact is, much like the xbox1 supporting a big list of xbox games, no one gives a crap because no one buys a 50
    • As someone who has shipped a few PS2 games and did PS3 dev support, emulating the 3.2 GHz PowerPC [wikipedia.org] along with the 6 SPUs on an 8-core x86 would have been a **huge** performance hit.

      Why?

      Remember the PS4 is only running at a pathetic 1.6 GHz. [wikipedia.org]

      In contradistinction the PS2's CPU [wikipedia.org], the EEE, only runs ~ 300 Mhz. Likewise the other processors, the VU0, VU1, GS, SPU run at ~ 150 MHz. (The SPU runs only at 8 MHz.) FAR easier to emulate -- you basically just throw hardware at the problem. :-) At that is even accoun

    • My PS2 sits underneath my PS4. I still have a crazy backlog of games I own and games I've yet to buy. As a system, it has yet to be beat. Unless one is too young for it, I don't imagine people would ignore how amazing the games were. It's pretty much the last significant console.
    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      I have about 8 or so PS2 titles in my cupboard which would be nice to play. But I doubt Sony have any intention of opening up the emulation so I can run them on a PS4. They make too much money selling "remastered" titles, and from packaging up titles to sell on PSN, or via their cloud service. At least they recoup their investment from testing games and making their money in that way. Just opening up emulation on the console doesn't earn them a thing unless they intend to charge people a few coins to "unloc
  • Short version (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 ) on Friday November 20, 2015 @11:49AM (#50969959) Homepage

    Sony: We're not going to add emulation to the PS4, there's just no interest in it.
    Microsoft: We've added emulation to the XBoxOne!
    Sony: Shit. Guys, get coding...

    Competition = good.

    • They probably just didn't want to overpromise. Considering that emulation would have been required anyways for their streaming model to work, I don't see how this wasn't inevitable.
      • by xombo ( 628858 )

        Sony is notorious for over-promising and under-delivering on Playstation hardware and software capabilities. This would fly in the face of much of their history. I suspect it was simply cheaper to pull off an attempt at emulation to try and make this bundle of Star Wars games work, vs trying to build it again, as a quick cash grab.

  • Games from discs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Friday November 20, 2015 @11:54AM (#50970011) Journal

    The big unanswered question is whether Sony will allow users to play PS2 games from their original discs. On the basis of what we've seen so far, there would appear to be no reason why this isn't feasible.

    The worry, however, is that Sony wants restrict the system to online purchases made via a PS4, so that people who want to play PS2 games on a PS4 need to purchase the titles again, even if they own the original discs (and with probably only a tiny portion of the PS2's library being available for purchase).

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      I suspect more it's a carry over of the capability from PS3. Not the original hardware capability to play the discs, but the later capability they had to help developers massage PS2 games to work on PS3 through their online store. It wasn't able to flat out run an existing game unmodified, but mitigated the amount of stuff a developer had to do to get it to run on a PS3 by emulating a lot of the stuff that was within reach.

    • I'm sure they'd never do a thing like that...
    • A non-trivial amount of PS2 games came out on CD-ROM (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_PlayStation_2_CD-ROM_games) and not DVD. PS4 can't read plain old CD-ROM.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I thought the PS4 had a Blu-ray drive, all of which read DVD and CD. If the PS4 can't read CD-ROM, that's a software issue, not a hardware one.

        • by PRMan ( 959735 )
          Easily fixed.
        • I don't know. My sources are a google search on the internet :-) The official PS4 website didn't list CD as a supported format and I saw a forum post of a guy saying he couldn't play his audio CD on it. But again, that's what the interwebz told me, could be wrong.
          • I think the PS4 can *read* cds technically, but it had no media player app that can play audio cds.

    • by Sowelu ( 713889 )

      Frustrated now. I was about to buy a refurbed PS2 off ebay or something (interior components of the controller ports on my last model literally crumbled apart, which is apparently not uncommon) to get my Katamari and DDR on again, but now I'm not sure if I want to wait and get a modern console instead.

  • When the Wii began offering SNES games, nobody called it a "SNES emulator." This is exactly what PS4 is doing, they're adding PS2 games onto the marketplace for PS4 (which may or may not be using an emulator, who knows/cares). But you cannot insert PS2 discs and expect it to work.

  • Recipe: How to add a full fledged, previously tested feature to a new platform without creating false expectation like guaranteeing support for all cases of such feature.

    Seems pretty fair to me. Microsoft just dumps features and markets them without the least relevant release notes, such as supported titles, and then we need to resort to the ends of the internet for seeing what we should rush snipe on eBay that will most likely Not Work (tm).

  • They haven't tested it for all games. So, they only support using it for this special case. Also, they probably don't want to encourage game makers to use it, but rather recompile (and retarget) their game for better support.

    It is like running World of Warcraft on linux. The company has a linux build of the game. They don't release it. They don't support running WoW using Wine. They won't ban you for playing WoW using Wine. Their anti-cheat program will detect you using Wine to run their game, and will appr

    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      The are absolutely not recompiling the games for better support. They are emulating the games.

      They might have to recompile the emulator to support more games later.

      WINE, as I will point out twice, Is Not an Emulator.

      • Sony would prefer games to be optimized for their latest hardware, but if a company pressures them enough to simply use an emulator to save development costs they will allow it.

        Yes, they might fix up the emulator in the future to support more games, which is why it is not for general purpose right now.

        Sorry, if my last line was confusing, I was referring to Sony, not Blizzard in reference to an emulator.

  • ...most people continue to silently not really care, because the PS2 is so far removed from the last generation that only a small subset of people will actually be interested in this.

    They really should have focused their efforts on the PS3.

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