Has Sony resumed Ps2 emulation on the Ps3?

While browsing the Spanish dorums daxhordes, I noticed a very interesting topic.

Apparently, after officially stopping production of Ps2 system, Sony has started to hire Ps2 developers to work on Ps2 emulation debugging.

Here is the picture from daxhordes:

Sony hiring Ps2 devs for emulation debbuging

 

And if you don’t believe this, then you can see the source in the official page here.

Now, I’ll just use this as an excuse for one of my lectures, this time, about Ps2 emulation on the Ps3 and the history behind it.

The Ps2 was a very complex system, it was hard to code for and this has also resulted in being harder to emulate. This explains why the Vita can emulate the psp, and why Gamecube/Wii emulation was done faster than Ps2, achieving higher compatibility in less time.

To achieve Ps2 backwards compatibility, Sony didn’t even resort to emulation, they basically grabbed a Ps2 and incorporated it into the Ps3. Both the Emotion Engine (the Ps2′s CPU) and the Graphics Synthesiser (the Ps2′s GPU) were soldered into early Ps3′s mother board. This allowed perfect Ps2 compatibility for the Ps3. The Ps3 models that used this hardware were the Japanese and American 20Gb and 60Gb models.

As time passed on, Sony decided to cut costs, they did so by removing the EE and using the Cell BE (Ps3′s CPU) to emulate it. At first, this caused a decrease in compatibility, due to the crappy EE emulator, but it then became better and games such as MGS3, which previously lagged, now run smoothly. The models that saw this change were the 60Gb Pal and 80Gb American models.

Motherboard of a 60Gb Ps3, notice the EE+GS on the far right.

Wanting to reduce more costs, Sony decided to remove the GS and tried to emulate it using the RSX (the Ps3′s GPU). This was a complete catastrophe, not only didn’t it work well, but it dropped compatibility down to 30%. Now, this (crappy) emulator exists in every Ps3 out there, so in a sense, all ps3s are backwards compatible, but they have that disabled for discs. This is the reason we see Ps2 games on PSN, because these Ps2 games were lucky enough to be on that 30%.

Here is a sum up of Ps3 consoles and their BC status:
Ps2 Hardware: EE GS IOP
20/60Gb US/JP: Hardware Hardware Software
80Gb US, 60Gb PAL: Software Hardware Software
Others: Software Software Software

So, what is needed to have full backwards compatibility?
First, the RSX can only partially emulate the GS, to fully emulate it, the RSX might need help from the Cell BE. The problem is, the Cell BE is already fully used:

Core: task
SPU0: IOP (the ps1 CPU found in the ps2)
SPU1: EEDMA
SPU2: Isolation
SPU3: IPU
SPU4: GSEGFIF
SPU5: PS2-SPU2
SPU6: VU1
SPU7: not used (factory disabled)
PPU0: PS2-Devices
PPU1: Emotion Engine

As you can see, the way this emulator works right now leaves the Cell with no room for anything else (except the SPU5, which is about 50% loaded, and the SPU7, which is not used), so to have the Cell BE assist the RSX in emulating the GS, there has to be a complete re-map of what the SPUs and PPUs do to get more room. Maybe enabling SPU7, but if Sony disabled it for a reason, I’m willing to bet that reason was overheating.

With all this said, it’s up to Sony to decide what they want to do to the Ps2 emulator, will they leave it like that? will they improve it? will they re-write it? only time will tell.

  1. kill3r’s avatar

    Sony has stopped PS2 backwards compatibility for cost reduction and because the PS3 catalog wasn’t empty as the beginning! What Sony wants now is having a perfect compatibility PS2′s emulator 100% software only in order to sell more games on PSN : Sony doesn’t re-introduce backward compatibility for PS2 games discs !

    Reply

    1. Acid_Snake’s avatar

      I doubt it, if they would do that (perfect compatibility but only for psn games) they would have done the same for ps1 games, which is not true (you can play ps1 discs on any ps3)

      Reply

      1. Zimond’s avatar

        i actually didnt know that

        Reply

      2. kill3r’s avatar

        In fact, they removed the Emotion Engine chip (PS3 60GB EUR) and Graphic Synthesizer chip (PS3 without backward compatibility) to reduce the cost of production (playing PS1 discs games don’t require specific chip) and if one day $ony manages to have a good software emulator, it will not allow to play with PS2 dics games but only PS2 games bought on PSN

        Reply

        1. Acid_Snake’s avatar

          your point of view is kinda flawed. You say Sony allows Ps1 discs because it requires no extra chip, but if good ps2 emulation is achieved, then there would be no extra chip needed to play ps2 games, so the same thing can apply to ps2s. I’m not saying that you are wrong, you could be right and sony might only allow psn games, but what I’m saying is that your justification is wrong. There is no need for you to find any justification of why they allow ps1 discs and why they won’t allow ps2 discs, whatever they decide to do is their problem, and frankly, making the ps3 BC only with PSN titles is like saying it’s not BC at all, at least in the end user’s eyes. The end user wants to play their original ps2 games out of the box, telling them they have to re-buy them will only result in them not buying the system at all.
          It seems to me sony has learned a lot about security and anti-hack methods, but they haven’t learned a thing about users and what they want: one of key features that made the ps2 sell a lot was the ability to play ps1 games you already have, it was a good move by sony back then, but now they seem to have forget about all the good moves they have done.

          Reply

          1. kill3r’s avatar

            I understand your point of view but removing PS1 emulation will be a no-sense : PS1 emulation don’t need a specific chip (it’s a 100% software emulation) unlike PS2 emulation who has been removed in order to cost reduction.
            We will see what will Sony done once PS2 emulation completed. I don’t think $ony will reintroduice PS2 Emulation on PS3 for free. I remember for PSP Go you need to bought games you already own in UMD format.

        2. aksiz’s avatar

          for the case of PSP Go, sony had no choice but to abandon UMD formats on Go because PSP Go cannot read UMD’s at all. (same for the Vita)
          Whereas for PS3, they can read DVD’s which ps2 uses. So if a good software emulator is out, it should be possible to run ps2 games directly from DVD’s unlike the case of PSP Go and Vita.

          Reply

  2. Yes’s avatar

    It’s late in the game but I wouldn’t mind seeing PS2 emulation make a comeback to the PS3…

    Reply

    1. Acid_Snake’s avatar

      IMO they should have made two slim models, one compatible (although expensive) and one not compatible (but cheaper) and then let the users decide what they want.

      Reply

      1. Alex’s avatar

        In my opinion I have always seen this as Sony’s biggest issue. They have made so many different models of the PS3 that it has caused issues during updates. It just seems weird that they complain about loosing money then make it harder to maintain a system by making so many different models that its hard to test the new FW on all the systems insuring proper compatibility. This whole PS2 thing to me i believe it, as someone further down stated, is for the PS4 (speculation). I have an original 60gb ps3 so this don’t affect me but it is good that they’re finally getting the led out on this PS2 issue of half assed compatibility.

        Reply

  3. warfaren’s avatar

    I hope this means they will perfect the PS2 emu for the PS3, but maybe this is actually about an emu for the Vita or even the PS4? The preferred skills lists makes it sound like PS3 but who knows?

    Reply

  4. wololo’s avatar

    I’ve been told by sources close to Sony that PS2 Classics will come to the Vita as well… that job offer could be related

    Reply

    1. Acid_Snake’s avatar

      That’s good news, if they can get full ps2 emulation on ps3 then they can get it on the vita as well

      Reply

    2. frank’s avatar

      This is very interesting. But if it is difficult for PS3 to get full PS2 backwards compatibility, is it possible for PSV to get this ability? Considering PSV is less powerfull than PS3.

      Reply

      1. warfaren’s avatar

        Doesn’t the Vita have more RAM though? Although it may not matter in this case?

        Reply

        1. Acid_Snake’s avatar

          I don’t think RAM matters in emulation (since the ps2 has only 32mb). Overall, I’d say it’s just as hard to emulate Ps2 on the Vita than on the Ps3.

          Reply

    3. wartaf’s avatar

      so they already made their mind to make a PS2 games work on Vita. i don’t really surprise about it because there’s already a PS2 game on Vita, specifically the MGS 2 & 3 HD ed.

      Reply

      1. BONK’s avatar

        You may be right. However MGS2&3 are ports. So called “HD” ports,but still in truth they only run at 720X448. When the original PS2 games ran at 512×448. And the PSVita’s screen is 960X544.

        Reply

    4. errm’s avatar

      Since the vita has 3 cores to work with Mabey they are working on a multi-threaded/core ps2 emu for the vita and since its a new tech mabey it can handle the emu better, I’ve also always wondered why the n64 emulator on 1ghz android phone has better and smoother gameplay then project 64 (n64 PC emu) even with a 3.2ghz CPU ), mabey it all depends on the architecture and tech of the CPU itself,

      Reply

    5. be0ut’s avatar

      wow thats big news, didnt sony vehemently state that they were not bringing ps2 to the vita?

      Reply

  5. Darkimchi’s avatar

    Seriously…. I don’t really care if they are gonna resume ps2 emulation project on ps3 or not. I just want to play some of my favorite ps2 title on Vita, all in all, I wish they start making ps2 emulation on Vita instead.

    Reply

  6. Viper-Eyes’s avatar

    I have the first generation of PS3 ( the one with Emotion Engine inside ) means full PS2 Backward Compatibility , is there is a way to play PS2 Backups or ISO’s with the current CFWs out there ? I am crrently on 3.55 Kmeaw.

    Any tips will be appreciated. Thanks

    Reply

    1. Acid_Snake’s avatar

      You can play Ps2 backups in a USB HDD using Swap Magic and Open Ps2 Loader

      Reply

    2. Derpy’s avatar

      Of course, you will just have to buy the Cobra USB Dongle for the PS3. It allows PSP and PS2 back up loading on any PS3. (Non-backwards compatible models though can barely play any PS2 games and none of the ones that load play almost at all, BC models play the games just as good as they would play the original disc games).

      Reply

      1. Acid_Snake’s avatar

        mmm no, you can play ps2 backups on latest OFW by using swap magic and open ps2 loader

        Reply

  7. wartaf’s avatar

    mayb they made there mind to make a ps2 working with psvita yeah they looking for a ps3 experience devs so that they can easily understand the psvita system

    Reply

  8. stOneskull’s avatar

    i doubt it’s for ps3..

    ps4 and vita are more likely

    Reply

  9. Efus35’s avatar

    Sony!!!! Make that emulator for vita!!!! pleace!!!! that will be really nice!!!!

    Reply

  10. me’s avatar

    Some PS2 titles only use standard libraries for the VU1 and the IOP and Sony could use HLE for those. Then they’d only have to really emulate the VU0 and the 5900 which the PS3 and Vita ought to handle without a problem. That would probably account for around a third of the PS2 library.

    Reply

    1. Acid_Snake’s avatar

      yup, like I said they have to remap everything cause right now it sucks how it is

      Reply

  11. theking’s avatar

    LOL all of you are missing the point here – sony is making it for the PS4 , vita won’t get this or ps3, the ps4 will come out with a few surprises :).
    source – Sony snitch employee.

    Reply

    1. Acid_Snake’s avatar

      well, tell sony to use proper hardware this time, I don’t want to see more overheating or the crappy lasers used by older ps3s

      Reply

    2. Praxis’s avatar

      The next PS is apparently going to be called the PlayStation Orbis, and not the PlayStation 4 (as 4 is Shi in Japanese which apparently means death) – also, the Orbis will not be backwards compatible with PS/PS2/PS3 games (at least not discs – but by either downloading from PSN or streaming to your PS Orbis – complete with ads). The Xbox3 will have BC, though uncertain as yet to whether that is Xbox and/or Xbox360 – or whether that will be region-free or not)

      Reply

  12. TheHollander’s avatar

    As much as I would love to see it for PS3… I think Some people are right as far as it being developed or “fixed” for use on the PS4, But I also think that this could be also available for the Vita, and POSSIBLY (just a speculation) the Sony Xperia line of phones…

    Reply

  13. No News’s avatar

    Job was posted 6 months ago. What makes this so NEW?

    Abraham Lincoln was shot in the parking lot with a 357 upside his head many years ago. It’s not New NEWS. It’s old and thus should be labeled as such.

    Reply

    1. No News’s avatar

      Not to mention it ENDS in 3 days.

      Reply

      1. Acid_Snake’s avatar

        it’s new NEWS if nobody have noticed it before

        Reply

  14. naki’s avatar

    great article! answered some questions I had about emulators for a while. thanks

    Reply

  15. bibo’s avatar

    I enjoy browsing the Spanish dorums too.
    Its naughty ;)

    good read though

    Reply

  16. CJW’s avatar

    I know one thing and that is this will never lead to full software ps2 for old discs. $ony will do this only in the name of more money. It could be they want to get more PS2 classics on PSN or they want to get PS2 classics on Vita. I would be shocked if they do anything for PS2 discs on PS4. They are not going to do anything to help you play old games you already own on PS3 or PS4. They made this clear when they ditched the UMD loader for Vita. As a result I have repurchased numerous PSP titles on PSN so they seemed to have made a good financial move even if it blows. Thankfully now we have eCFW for Vita so I can stop paying $20-$30 per game for PSP titles I already purchased once. My whole gripe with PSN and Nintendo is the price structure for classic games. If last gen (PSP and PS2) games were all 10 and under and older games were 5 and under then I would buy a lot more stuff…..my god Nintendo is charging 5-10 for old GB and GBA games. It is a crock as that stuff should be like 1-2. These dumbos could learn a lot from apple and the app store model. Most of these classic games have already made millions and millions of dollars and cost next to nothing to develop unlike todays full releases. Why not show some love and share the joy and let us old school types enjoy our nostalgia for a reasonable price? End of rant…lol

    Reply

    1. mlc’s avatar

      It’s called capitalism?

      Basically, they will try to squeeze every last dollar out of their market, and the temporary nature of their management and compensation ensures that they will consistently prioritize short term profits over long term brand loyalty, dedication, or customer satisfaction. They don’t care if you owned the game before, because if you really liked it then you’ll buy it again – you’re a mark, in the scammer sense. It might make more sense to sell with slightly less profit to make two to five times as many sales, but it’s not as easy a decision for the people in charge.

      Despite my snarky introductory sentence, I completely despise capitalism as a model for society or the economy – almost as much as the crony capitalism of the US and most of the world – and it’s clear that it causes companies to essentially plunge to their “deaths,” but there is little to do to prevent it other than large scale social and (some) educational reform. People who are distant from the negative effects of their actions will always choose the option which benefits them the most personally.

      Reply

      1. CJW’s avatar

        Well I have to disagree with your spin on capitalism being a US citizen I don’t think any form of social design has allowed so much upward mobility. I came from very humble beginnings and did not even finish college but managed to use my technical prowess and love of tech to build a succesful career as a consultant and then used my entreprenueral talents to start a business that I used to both employ numerous people and made a decent purse for myself when I sold my shares in 2010. I essentially pseudo-retired by time I was 40, although I am cooking a new concept now and getting ready to start a iOS/droid development company to make diabetes apps. Corperations don’t hold a gun to anyone’s head to make you purchase anything. They rise and fall strictly on the merits of there products and services and their profits are based on the quality of their management team and their decisions. All social systems have shortcomings but I would far rather be placed in a captalistic system then stuck under the socialism of Russia/China or the tyranny of the 3rd world. The only people who suffer under capitalism are the talentless or the un creative, but even then in America we have created such wealth that many people just suck off the system and do little to be productive but still have PS3s, cars, and iPhones someven the poor here live like kings compared to those in poor dictatorial nations! Long live captilism and America!

        Reply

  17. 1337_McLovin’s avatar

    @Acid_Snake, wtf are you talking about within these comments? Kill3r is totally right, you honestly think that Sony after having the PS3 out for the last 6 years and doing nothing for 5 of those years with regards to PS2 emulation updates is suddenly going to release a new firmware etc. to allow everyone on every PS3 to play PS2 discs? Dude lay off the crack and with regards to someone asking about the current state of playing PS2 backups/ISOs, the best way by far is with a Cobra dongle (who have just announced a new CFW for 4.xx PS3s) via mmCM as you can play PS2 backups/ISOs, hell even stream them from your PC. Did you refer to this? No, just gave some answer about Swap Magic…this isn’t 2007.

    Bottom line there is no way in hell this is pointing towards playing PS2 discs on PS3, it’s improving PSN PS2 Classics compability and/or for PS Vita/PS4/Xperia.

    Oh and there’s a part of your article which is wrong as it wasn’t all 80gb PS3s that were BC, there were only the first batch of them with 4 USB ports (just like the 20/60gb PS3s) as all of the ones that came after the Motorstorm/MGS4 bundles do not play PS2 games.

    Reply

    1. CJW’s avatar

      True that dog as I have both a SW BC 80gb phat and a non BC 80gb phat and BTW they were both sold in MGS bundles. I will say this the BC model runs hot on the right side of the case although it hasn’t croaked, the non BC fat runs cool as a cucumber with no hot spots anywhere. The early full BC fats were built like tanks and must have had extra cooling becaus they run cool but push out a lot of heat so need room to breathe. The early pats had crappy BDR drives though. For my money those late model nonBC phats seem like some of the best all around models.

      Reply

    2. Acid_Snake’s avatar

      I talked about Swap Magic because it’s the only way a 4.x OFW user like me can play ps2 backups, last time I checked, if you don’t have cobra you can’t play these backups, so this just demonstrate how small minded you are when it comes to hacks. And whatever reason Sony decides to make ps2 games working again is their thing, you’re not anyone to tell them what they can and can’t do, and trust me, when money is involved, sony will do the impossible possible. And stop with cursing cause we can all curse the hell out of each other. Now, why the hell are you even reading this if you don’t like it? why don’t you go troll and bitch somewhere else? I’m here to give out my knowledge for free to people who care, if you don’t care then don’t even bother reading this, or perhaps you can make your own blog and write your shit.

      Reply

      1. 1337_McLovin’s avatar

        You talk about cursing…yet you go on to do the same thing, hypocritical moron.

        You ONLY mentioned Swap Magic and not the Cobra dongle…and guess what, many people can downgrade their PS3s so the Cobra dongle is valid yet you didn’t mention it. In fact, your retarded ass originally directly answered a question from a user that wanted to know how to play PS2 backups whilst on 3.55 KMEAW CFW so your point about 4.xx OFW is bull. Quit being stubborn and admit that you are wrong here.

        Your “knowledge”? You mean the knowledge that anyone doing a simple Google search can do and is months old? Wow, thank you o’ saviour! /sarcasm.

        Reply

        1. Person’s avatar

          Yes, but where do you think this knowledge actually comes from? It’s people like them that actually publicise this knowledge.

          Reply

  18. CJW’s avatar

    Last comment…..which is I never understand why people care so much about BC. I mean if U care so much keep your old system…..at this point you can by a PS2 for $30, hack it with a memory card software exploit and either run games from HD or DVD with ESR patcher. Even if U go want to go legit get a slim which are tiny and get your favorite games used for like 5 bucks a piece. To me emulation and classic gaming is mostly appealing on handhelds as I have replayed quite a few PS1 RPGs on the psp and platform classics on NDS. There is so much great content from this generations consoles that I have yet to play I just don’t have time to be messing with old PS2 titles. I do like when they do HD updates though of games that stand the test of time like ICO…..please ifU never played this game get the PS3 version and play it. Top 5 game of all time IMO

    Reply

  19. Maxilus’s avatar

    Wow.. I will be impressed if they bringing back PS2 emulation to PS3 and also maybe to Vita for the first time. Both PS3 and Vita is a powerful Console.

    Reply

    1. errm’s avatar

      Look at your quad core tablet…vita is as strong as that ..I hate when people make the vita out to be some kind of Uber Handheld

      Reply

      1. CJW’s avatar

        Actually U are a little wrong on that…..vita also has a quad core GPU in addition to quad core CPU. I would say U would have a hard time finding a tablet with the polygon power of a Vita. That’s why 3d games on y iPad 2 look like Ps2 level grafx and Vita looks like ps3 level. If u don’t own a vita Umshould really get a look at the Drake or other top titles and U will see it blows away anything U will see on current tablets including the ipad3 which has awesome resolution but still nowhere near the GPU power of a vita…..BWT I own all these devices so I am not speaking as a fanboy bit someone who has seen and played what is available!

        Reply

  20. Minimur’s avatar

    but if you can download a ps2 emulator on your pc then why cant you just download a ps2 emulator for the ps3 ??

    Reply

  21. bigjoe’s avatar

    wtf????? why arent they doing PS2 emulation for PSV? dont you tell me, PS Vita it’s still not powerful enough to do that.

    Reply

    1. CJW’s avatar

      Did you read the article? He talks about how the PS2 architecture is tricky and this iOS why it is so hard to emulate. Even on PC it takes a pretty beefy PC to emulate ps2 games at full speed. This is one reason why the PS2 had such a long life. Some of the last Ps2 games looked great like GOW and FF12. Sure they were only 480p but they looked almost as good as x360 early titles.

      I am pretty sure there will never be an open ps2 emulator on vita unless it gets hacked. Most likely we will just see some ps2 classics like MGS series that they can get running well enough.

      Reply

  22. Bosanova X’s avatar

    My Ps3 Plays PS2 games, I’m surprised its still going actually :)

    Reply

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