The PlayStation 3’s status of being backward compatible has been slowly eroding with each new hardware revision. While the original 20GB and 60GB models featured dedicated PS2 hardware, the 80GB model that followed arrived without the Emotion Engine.
With only the Graphics Synthesizer component of the PS2, the 80GB PS3 still retained some backwards compatibility by software emulating the functions of the Emotion Engine processor.
It was the 40GB PS3, however, that finally did away with all of the PlayStation 2 software support. In an effort to further reduce costs and steer the customer towards buying new PS3 games, the latest 40GB hardware is without any tools to play classic PS2 discs.
Gamers looking for a PS3 that will support their older libraries may be out of luck these days, as retailers reported the discontinuation of the 80GB PS3 MotorStorm bundle. But Sony doesn’t appear to be phasing out the PS2 support just yet.
Coming this summer will be a special 80GB PS3 package that will come bundled with Metal Gear Solid 4 and a DualShock 3 controller. Furthermore, SCEA has clarified that the upcoming 80GB hardware will be similar to that found in previous MotorStorm package, which means select PS2 backwards compatibility.
While the backwards compatibility of the 80GB PS3 is far from perfect, Kotaku points out that it should be adequate for those looking to catch up on the Metal Gear Solid series. The first Metal Gear Solid game will run on any PS3, including 40GB models, due to software emulation of the original PlayStation. Metal Gear Solid 2 will run fine on an 80GB model, but the video sequences of Metal Gear Solid 3 will encounter some issues.
For hardcore PS2 gamers, a 20GB or 60GB machine is still the one with the best backwards compatibility.
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