PS2 & PS Games Could Come to PS4 Via Emulation [Update]

PlayStation Now is still an option, but PS2 and PS1 games could be played natively on PS4.

News by Mike Williams, .

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.

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Comments 10

  • Avatar for Funny_Colour_Blue #1 Funny_Colour_Blue 4 years ago
    When they say "software emulation", do they mean "games downloaded from the playstation store"? or do they mean "your PS1 and PS2 games will eventually be fully playable on the PS4"?

    Come on Sony, give me a reason to buy a PS4!!

    !Edited 4 times. Last edited January 2014 by Funny_Colour_Blue
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #2 MHWilliams 4 years ago
    @Funny_Colour_Blue Currently, we don't know, but the former is more likely. The latter would be totally awesome.
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  • Avatar for orient #3 orient 4 years ago
    @Funny_Colour_Blue Hate to be a negative nancy, but there's no way Sony will patch in disc support for PS1/2 games. Not only do they want you to pay for those games again, but the publishers do too. They'll want to tie these games in to some sort of subscription service -- whether it's Plus or Now. With so much stuff on their plate, I can't see them going out of their way to cater to the 1% of people who still own old PS1/2 games.
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  • Avatar for letty #4 letty 4 years ago
    I'm really hoping Sony stands by the digital PS1 and PS2 titles they've been selling for the past several years. They've been pretty good about it so far and it's great that the PS1 classics run on the PSP/PS3/Vita. It would be a great show of goodwill if our digital libraries from the last generation were supported on the PS4 as well. I understand that getting digital PS3 purchases on the PS4 might be technologically impossible, so I can understand if they get left behind(a new PS3 sku that's as slim as the PS2 Slim would be nice and save space in entertainment centers).

    Standing by existing digital purchases by getting them to run on newer platforms also adds a lot of value to the digital games. I will be purchasing a Vita slim soon(announcement this Thursday) and the fact that most of my digital PSP and PS1 games will work on it(with Dual-analog support too) has been a big factor in my decision to buy one. Sony should consider trying to get PSP games running on the PS4 too. I think that would make the PS4 even more desirable, though Square is going to have to put Kingdom Hearts, Crisis Core, etc. on PSN soon. Those are some big PSP titles to be missing from the store.
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  • Avatar for docexe #5 docexe 4 years ago
    Honestly, I would prefer this style of retro-compatibility rather than streaming, given how sketchy is the situation of the internet infrastructure in my country. What I’m not very fond of is on the idea of paying again to download whatever classic PS1 or PS2 game I already bought on PS3 in order to play it on the PS4 (which honestly, is the most likely scenario to happen).

    I hope they implement some sort of crossbuy program (so if you buy one version you automatically receive the other version), or at the very least some sort of upgrade benefit program (similar to what they did with games like Assassin’s Creed 4 were you could acquire the PS4 version at a reduced price if you already had the game for the PS3).
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  • Avatar for smintboy #6 smintboy 4 years ago
    I'd hope this would happen as well even though I still have a BC ps3 running strong and a ps2 slim in the bedroom. Anything that can clean up how many devices are plugged in to my TV is appreciated; especially if it makes the games look better.

    I sincerely doubt this will be available for disc based systems if it materializes at all. While many people love the legacy of backwards compatibility, the vast segment of the market just doesn't care enough that it would move consoles. I snatched my ps3 as soon as they announced that they were dropping the nearly perfect hardware BC for a flawed software solution and love essentially having a ps2 with a wireless DualShock that I don't need to dedicate a separate input to. At the time, though for every person complaining about the loss of BC, there were a few dozen saying, "Get a PS3 for PS3 games." Unsurprisingly, marketing surveys went on to show that people don't buy new consoles to play last gen games, so Sony and MS deprioritized the feature to nonexistance.

    My ideal scenario would be for them to make a great emulator that works with disc based games and sell it on PSN. I'd gladly drop up to $50 on the thing. There would be plenty of internet entitlement claining that it should be free and the PC master race will claim they can do the same thing better on PCSX2 (not likely on a $400 system), but Sony is a business and a cash register *ding* is louder than a million screaming internet voices. A free universal emulator makes no sense when they can resell HD remasters and PS2/PSone Classics, but if Sony sees a significant profit it could become a priority to develop, improve, and carry forward legacy disc compatibility.

    Many fantastic games are only on disc and those PS2 systems won't last forever. Despite Atlus embracing PS2 classics, unless they code out Dante you'll never see SMT3: Nocturne on PS2 classics.
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  • Avatar for nipsen #7 nipsen 3 years ago
    Classic Sony. An emulator done for an x86 platform will inevitably have to cut corners when emulating the instruction set. Even if you actually had the documentation for all of the calls and created a virtual engine - actually emulating the functions will run into several snags that cannot be solved without cutting calls out completely, and rewriting others. You would be creating a wrapper for function-calls rather than an actual virtual engine.

    Of course, done reasonably well (such as the pcsx2 project), many titles can be run well, and run fast in fairly high resolutions (which will help). Knowing the function calls also would very likely allow the projects to adjust aspect ratios and render for example text and ui in separate layers.

    So I'm sure it would be /slightly/ better than the unapproved version that already exists.

    But here's the bad news. Sony has actually already had developed a really, really good emulator running on the ps3/cell. That emulates the entire function set of the ps2 hardware - allowing games to run in the same ways as the original, just with separate layers for UI and text, with anti-aliasing filters applied separately, etc.

    This emulator was never prioritized. Even over horrible "HD" re-releases that were more or less unplayable. And although Sony at any point could actually sell this emulator as a package, and let customers read the original iso from the disc-drive if they wanted that -- and run the game in the enhanced virtual engine. They will never actually do that.

    But they'll have some publisher guy going ballistic over a potential x86/pc emulator that allows imperfect, expensively maintained, and selectively released titles of ps2 games.

    Sony: Don't Imagine.
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  • Avatar for jeffcorry #8 jeffcorry 3 years ago
    I am in the minority...but I am really excited about the possibility of backwards compatibility. It would be nice to have PS3 backwards also...but my PS3 will stay hooked up until 3D playback is an option on PS4. I, of course, am waiting for KHIII and FFXV for this purchase, unless something like Valkyria Chronicles comes along and sways me. Seriously. I. LOVE. THAT. GAME.
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  • Avatar for touchofkiel #9 touchofkiel 3 years ago
    @letty This might have just been rumors, but I remember reading that Crisis Core was never re-released digitally because of licensing issues with the music (which would be nothing new in the world of re-releases). That acoustic J-pop song from the ending, I think.

    Then again, I heard the same thing about Birth By Sleep, and they'll be re-releasing that in the Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD package, so who knows.
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