Fri. Mar 31st, 2023
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Sony’s global studio boss Shuhei Yoshida told Eurogamer that “it was surprising” when Microsoft announced that the Xbox One would become backwards compatible with “hundreds” of Xbox 360 games. “I didn’t think it was possible,” Yoshida said. “There has to be a lot of technical effort.”

The Xbox One’s backward compatibility with the 360 ​​is provided through a software emulation layer. The feature won’t fully launch until the fall, but members of the Xbox Preview Program can already try out some games, such as Battle Block Theater and Perfectly dark. Initial impressions of the Xbox One’s backward compatibility are pretty good: everything seems to be working as intended. However, software emulation is by no means a panacea: some of the Xbox 360’s larger and more complex games will need to be modified by hand to work on the Xbox One. Not all Xbox 360 games will be available on Xbox One.

Sony used to be, of course the in favor of backward compatibility. The PlayStation 2 supported PlayStation 1 games at launch, and then the PS3 launched with both PS2 and Backwards compatibility with PS1. Backward compatibility was eventually removed from later PS3 models and the PS4 launched without any backward compatibility.

Eurogamer asked Yoshida if PS3 compatibility would ever come to the PS4, and it doesn’t sound right. “PS3 is such a unique architecture and some games made really good use of SPUs… It’s going to be a huge challenge to do that. I never say never, but we have no plans.”

The “unique architecture” Yoshida refers to is the Cell chip that powered the PS3. The Xbox 360 had a relatively simple tri-core Power CPU called Xenon; the Cell chip, on the other hand, had a universal single-core dual-thread Power CPU with eight Synergistic Processing Elements (SPEs) – small, dedicated vector processing units – that could all run in parallel (although only six were available to developers).

To get the most out of Cell, games had to use as many cores/threads as possible. As some of the later PS3 games showed, some really amazing things were possible with Cell, but it took a huge amount of effort to get things working perfectly across all cores. This is probably one of the reasons why the Xbox One and PS4 moved to a “standard” x86 APU: developer common sense. (However, the ability to easily transfer games between platforms is undoubtedly a big boon, too.)

Long story short, Yoshida says it would be very difficult to replicate the Cell architecture on the PS4. It’s not completely out of the realm of reality, but it might take more effort than it’s worth, especially with PlayStation Now, which lets you stream PS3 games to your PS4.

By akfire1

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