From the official 40GB PlayStation 3 Sony Computer Entertainment Europe announcement:
The new model is no longer backwards compatible with PlayStation®2 titles, reflecting both the reduced emphasis placed on this feature amongst later purchasers of PS3, as well as the availability of a more extensive line-up of PS3 specific titles (a total of 65 titles across all genres by Christmas).
Isn’t that bizarre? I was under the impression that backwards compatibility was currently being executed via software emulation. This seemed to be borne out by the fact that the state of backwards compatibility changes with firmware releases (system updates).
For me backwards compatibility is important. For many it is not. So while the above seems a fair statement, it seems unfair and pretty stupid to remove a feature just because they can.
I note that few choose to use the tilt sensitive functions of the Sixaxis controller. As Sony say, that feature has “reduced emphasis” among purchasers of PS3’s. Does this mean that this feature will too be removed in a future hardware iteration?
I suspect that the vast majority of PS3’s are not connected to 5.1 surround sound amps and HD displays via HDMI. Will those be removed in a future iteration?
The removal of backward compatibility seems a bafflingly arbitrary decision.
According to the remainder of the press release, 2 USB ports, a card reader, 20GB of hard disk space and backwards compatibility cost the best part of €100. Yeah.
While you can nip down PC World and purchase a USB hub and a card reader if you need them for around €40 you cannot go and purchase backwards compatibility.
Sony really seem to be flailing around at the PlayStation division at this time. The announcement of a reduction in price (and let’s not forget that the standard PS3 has just dropped €100 in price) should be a cause for celebration. Instead Sony have managed to shoot themselves in the foot for the umpteenth time regarding PlayStation 3 and issue a press release detailing how their HD entertainment center is getting worse, not being improved.
Sony should have just dropped the price of the standard PS3. Nothing else. This is a decision only an accountant would make, not a visionary or lover of the brand or videogames. Sony’s press relations division are idiots (we knew that anyway) and getting your company run by accountants is the beginning of the end. At this rate, PlayStation 3 will be the swansong of Sony as an videogame giant.