Some gamers have criticized the PS3 in its lack of PS2 backwards compatibility on all PS3 models. There are some PS3 models out there with either hardware or software for PS2 backwards compatibility, but there are also models out there with none. However, don’t give up hope yet as it seems that Sony is working on a solution for just this problem.
Siliconera was able to dig up a patent Sony recently filed which outlines a new method for PS2 backwards compatibility (BC) on the PS3. Apparently the new tech for BC on the PS3 involves the system to replicate the exact ins and outs of an Emotion Chip, which is the PS2 processor. The new tech would allow for the PS3 to retain libraries of code that function exactly like the code on the Emotion Chip.
This is a much more superior technique to reproducing PS2 BC than having emulation software that translates and converts PS2 games into something the PS3 can understand. Usually this type of emulation requires constant tweaking of the emulator so that each and every PS2 game will work properly on the PS3.
However, building a set of libraries that enable the Cell processor to output Emotion Chip language will ensure that any PS2 game will work on the PS3 without needing to be tweaked. In essence the Cell would behave exactly like the Emotion Chip instead of running some middleware emulation software on top of the processor that tries to simulate the behavior of the chip.
The bottom line is that it seems like Sony has been hard at work on perfecting this new tech for BC rather than continuing to support the existing emulation software found on many of the 80GB PS3s. I recall that Sony had to tweak the firmware on a constant basis to ensure that at least 80% of the PS2 games could work on the 80GB model.
I believe the best model is probably the 60GB with an actual Emotion Chip soldiered on the PS3’s mobo, which has almost near perfect BC. However, if this new tech is released via firmware by Sony then I can see it being just as good as hardware BC. The big question now is when will Sony release this backwards compatibility software?