Update: We're hearing further reports that Sony is looking into bringing PSOne and PlayStation 2 games to PlayStation 4. Internet tipster and NeoGAF favorite Ahsan Rasheed has tweeted that Sony is working on providing local PS2/PS1 game support on PlayStation 4 with full native 1080p rendering for select titles. Rasheed adds that the software is buggy and does not currently work with every game. Like the original Digital Foundry report, it sounds like this planned program will be separate from Sony's PlayStation Now streaming service.
Original story: We've previously reported on the possibility of being able to play PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation 3 games on your PlayStation 4 via PlayStation Now, the cloud-streaming service formerly known as Gaikai. According to a report by Digital Foundry, what we've been told before was only part of the backwards-compatibility conversation. An anonymous source told DF that only PlayStation 3 titles will use PlayStation Now, with PS2 and PS1 games being run on the system itself via software emulation.
"Internally, PlayStation 3's firmware contains emulators for PS1, PS2 and even the handheld PSP, while Vita is capable of running PS1 and Vita titles virtually flawlessly using the same technology," writes Digital Foundry's Richard Leadbetter. "In short, there's a proven codebase that can only get better for the vastly more powerful PS4."
The report states that Sony is attempting to get older titles to run on the PlayStation 4, but without the blurry upscaling found on the PlayStation 3. That means the company is trying to get each title to output in native HD if possible. DF notes this would lead to image quality roughly similar to unofficial PC emulators for PS1 and PS2 games: not all assets would make the transition perfectly, but certain titles would look absolutely stunning. Screenshots captured by Digital Foundry (shown below) show the possibilities, with Gran Turismo 4 in its original state on PS2 and on a PC emulator.
There's no word on whether this would be a part of PlayStation Now's Netflix-style subscription service or if it would be an additional section on the PlayStation Store. Sony has begun the private beta for the PlayStation Now service, with a few lucky PlayStation 3 owners having received emails today. Members of NeoGAF are reporting receiving the email, so if you signed up on the PlayStation Now website, maybe you're one of the lucky few.