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PS3 will play PS2, PSone games. Official
Sony Computer Entertainment boss Ken Kutaragi has confirmed that the PlayStation 3 will feature backwards compatibility with the PS2 and PSone, ensuring continued support for older software formats in the new hardware.
Speaking to Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, Kutaragi-san attributed some of the success of the PS2 to the console's ability to play PSone games as well as PS2 native titles, stating that this was "a matter of security... [PS2] offers a sense of insurance because it is compatible with PSone and DVD-Movies."
This trend - started by Sony with the PS2, as backwards compatibility in home consoles was certainly not the norm before then - is set to continue with the PS3, which will offer emulation for the PS2 and hence for the PSone.
"PSone runs on the PlayStation 2 through emulation rather than actual hardware. PlayStation 3 will offer the same compatibility for PS2 software and the format will continue forever," he explained.
It's expected that Microsoft's successor to the Xbox will also offer backwards compatibility with current hardware - although the recently announced decision to partner with ATI rather than NVIDIA may cause trouble in this respect, according to some graphics experts.
"ATI's hardware runs the same sort of pixel shaders and so on that the NVIDIA chipset does," one graphics programmer working on Xbox games explained to us, "but getting the hardware to exactly mimic the behaviour of an NVIDIA part could be very tricky... It'll be interesting to see if Microsoft can get Xbox 2 to play Xbox games without glitches, especially ones that have been written to tie in closely with the console's specs."