PlayStation 3 Backwards Compatibility for PlayStation 4 = Basically Impossible

For gamers seeking to hear 100% backwards compatibility every time a new game system is announced, please take the time to reconsider your viewpoints and read this breakdown of why PlayStation 4 couldn’t possibly be PlayStation 3 backwards compatible, and why it’s borderline moronic to expect it to be possible.

“The Cell Processor cannot be emulated. That isn’t because of the unusual way it handles its processes – although, that might make it impossible to emulate in the future – but because there just isn’t a beefy enough computer to handle it. That goes doubly for anything available to consumers. You’d need something far more powerful than a PS3 to emulate it, and it’s just not possible with today’s technology. This goes for everything – it’s why there’s a SNES emulator out there that practically nobody can run.

Asking Sony to emulate the PS3 with software is a bit like asking why you just can’t put PC disks into the PS4 and have them work. From a tech standpoint, you’re far more likely to get a console that’s compatible with 360 games than you are PS3 games.

Software emulation was and probably never will be an option, at least not on the PS4. So how about just sticking PS3 parts in the PS4 and having it run through that?

Why can’t they release a different, more expensive SKU?

Some people don’t understand the technology needed to emulate the PS3 on PS4, and I can forgive them for that. Some people do realize why it’s an issue, however, and have found another solution. Why can’t Sony just go ahead and put the parts needed into the PS4 and release it as part of an exclusive, limited release SKU?

Before we even get into the real issue here, let’s just say this. Even if the rest of this section weren’t true, Sony would still need to get the Cell working alongside other parts of the PS4. I can’t say for certain that it’s impossible, but it brings up some very complicated problems. What happens if you’re playing a PS3 game and press the home button? Which processor handles friends logging in and out? How about video uploads?

How do you swap between processors mid-game?

Is there a motherboard that could take both the cell and the PS4 processor and control them both without error? There’s a reason you need an Intel board if you plan to buy an Intel processor and the same applies for the Cell/PS4.

So let’s say that Sony decide making a bonus SKU with PS3 compatibility isn’t suicide. It’s still impossible, or at least ridiculously difficult. But then, it is complete suicide. The people who flaunt this solution, as if they’re returning with fire form the gods, tend to be under the assumption that they’d only have to pay for the PS4, plus the cost of the PS3. For $600, they think, they could have backwards compatibility, and that’s a price they’re willing to pay.

What they don’t take into account is the extra work needed. Not only paying people to work out the problems mentioned above, but then paying them to build a PS4 that houses all the parts from the PS3 without them overheating or interfering with PS4 processes. Then they’d need to market it, transport it to stores. Then they’d have to explain to the people complaining about the $2000 price tag why it’s so high. There’s just no way it’d sell.

The hardware option is out. It already backfired with the PS3 (PS2 compatibility was dropped almost immediately), and that was much cheaper than the PS4 would be if it needed to be modified for PS3 components as well. Maybe, as parts become cheaper, this might be an option in five or ten years. By then we’ll be more worried about PS5 backwards compatibility though.”

This article continues to get into more details concerning the digital distribution backwards compatibility solutions Sony and their fans are considering and speculating on. I’m going to end this featurette by saying I will have a post coming soon detailing my express concerns with our gaming community’s obsessive view on backwards compatibility and what it means to our future if we don’t stop this unhealthy fixation.

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20130310 and was last modified on 20130310 .