Was Sony right to cut European PS3 hardware? Opinions divided

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sony-ps3.jpgOn Friday we reported on the cut down European PS3, and not surprisingly it’s caused some murmurings around the Internet.

Dan Nicolae Alexa over at Playfuls.com has written a long and generally insightful article, which basically (and this probably does an injustice to the points he covers) points the finger of blame over the hardware modification of PAL version PS3s at Sony’s management.

Sony transformed this famous compatibility in early stages of development into one of the key features for its product, triumphantly declaring that the HD experience of PS2 games played on PS3 will likely increase the level of satisfaction for hard-core gamers.

Sony are reportedly losing a lot of money on their Playstation consoles, and they seem to be happy to do whatever it takes to claw back a bit of cash. Removing the Emotion Engine takes the developer (Toshiba et al) out of the equation, and 11% of the manufacturing cost. Sony still sell the PS3 at a loss (though Europe will pay more than the US for the console), but not as much.

Just to put the boot in a bit more, though it’s an important point if true, is that:

the Cell CPU, which is the core of every PS3, is so complicated that High Moon Studios has invited IBM engineers and a handful of other Vivendi Games studios, such as Swordfish and Radical Entertainment, to a workshop that aims to teach developers how to effectively harness the power of the Cell… So again, what guarantees do I have that PS3 will run PS2 games fine, if even the developers are confused and overwhelmed?

The conclusion is that European gamers are being ripped off, because many that pre-ordered did so on the understanding and expectation that their PS2 games would play on the PS3. Add to this that some think the current crop of PS3 games are, well, crap. Maybe because the Cell is so hard to fathom?

Dan finishes:

The facts show that Sony did not revolutionize gaming with its product, it only brought losses to the company and disappointment to its fans. I personally confess that I love them for the PSP, but I hate’em for the PS3.

On the other hand, we have the viewpoint of Next Generation, who writes that “backwards compatibility is No Big Deal; a lot of noise made by a vocal minority.”

In fact, the company told us it would drop hardware emulation way back in the summer of 2006. A report in Ultra One Monthly, a Japanese technology magazine in June of last year stated that the firm would be removing the PS2 chipset from future revisions of the PS3 hardware once it completed development of a software-based emulator.

They argue that backwards compatibility usually comes pretty low down on a list of features gamers look for in a new console, though they concede that some PS2 owners who traded in their console to help finance a PS3 might now feel a bit hacked off.

They also make the interesting point that Nintendo pay very little attention to backwards compatibility, to the point where they’re now selling recodes of old games for new consoles. It’s the companies (Microsoft, Sony) that never started out in gaming that are getting the backlash.

Two interesting opposing viewpoints on Sony’s cost-cutting exercise. What do you think?

Andy Merrett

4 comments

  • Im relly angry 4 days ago i rushed out an pre ordered a uk ps3. When i found out that we in the uk are getting a stripdown version and we still pay through the nose! that was the final straw. I went back to comet and got my money back! Im trying to source a USA PS3! but even now thinking I may hold off as the xbox360 is out soon and might jut get another 8800 evga pc card instead. Final point yes im a sony fanboy but they think they can rip uk consumers off not having sony treat me like a 10 dolloar whore. (hmm well if i was hard up! ENOUGH OF THAT!) right where was i oh yes anyway they promissedus the world and we in the uk got shafted again…ray uk liverpool

  • Hey, it’s tough to swallow that’s for sure…. but at the end of the day, who buys a PS3 to buy ps2 games. I got mine imported, meaning it wont play any games from my region…and u know what..til date that has been the lease of my worries…

    Another thing is, we dont know what games exactly are not going to work…so lets at least wait until that..but yeah, it does suck.

  • Been a sony fan all my life and am disgusted that Sony wants the Europeans and Aussie’s to pay more for a modified and downgraded console. I want the PS3 to die and go to hell as Sony are stupid ba**ards.

    I always thought that because we pay more, we should be entitled to have the best model. Also. I am now considering in not purchasing a PS3 as I would have loved to see some PS2 epic titles in HD, now that dream is a load of crap. Screw sony and hope they get bankcrupt.

    AS REALITATION, DO NOT BUY A PS3 BUY AN WII

  • Pretty peeved off that backwards compatibility is scrapped. I’ve paid in full for my ps3 (I’m in the UK) – I have a few ps2 games and now I’m probably going to have to sell them.

    I’m now thinking twice even though I’ve been extremely positive about the ps3 since it’s delay and launch back in November 06. I really want one but now I don’t know as there’s a lot of changes that are taking place.

    I’m really confused!

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