Speaking in an interview with official blog Three Speech
, Sony president of worldwide studios Phil Harrison has stated that “over 1,000” PlayStation 2 titles will be backwards compatible with the PAL version of the PlayStation 3 on the March 23rd launch day.
On Friday of last week a Sony press release
indicated that only an unspecified “limited” number of PlayStation 2 titles would be compatible with the PAL PlayStation 3 (to be sold in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Australasia). The move came as a result of the removal of the PlayStation Emotion Engine from the hardware configuration, and a new reliance on software emulation.
The news caused notable negative feedback from many European consumers, with the issue of backwards compatibility in many cases being secondary to their perception that PAL consumers were being forced to pay more for hardware that featured less functionality than its North American and Japanese equivalents.
Speaking to the Three Space website Harrison commented that, “The situation is changing every day, but on March 23, we expect the list to include over 1,000 PS2 titles.” Apparently referring to the negative headlines produced by the news, Harrison added: “It’s very easy to over-react. We’re working to introduce a resource on the Web to detail which titles will have backwards compatibility. And as we make firmware upgrades, we will be able to add to that list.”
Referring to suggestions from Datamonitor analyst Alex Kwiatkowski that the move to software emulation could see an earlier than expected price drop for the PlayStation 3, Harrison commented: “Price reductions are something that we wouldn’t comment on specifically. But you know the business model very well – we strive to get the cost of manufacturing down as soon as possible, and as soon as we can pass cost savings onto the consumers, we will.”
According to Sony’s own figures
2,451 software titles have been released in Europe in total, from a worldwide total of 8,571. Assuming that the figure of over 1,000 titles promised by Harrison includes a significant number of the PlayStation 2’s more popular games, the move to software emulation is unlikely to remain a contentious issue in Europe.