All eyes directed to the PlayStation 3 earlier this week were on its $100
price drop, with few paying much attention to the future 80GB PS3 bundle
that will soon occupy the $599 price point. Those planning on waiting until
August for the MotorStorm bundle should
take note that the hardware inside the 80GB version will differ from all the
PlayStation 3 systems released in North America thus far.
Taking a magnified view of the box art of the 80GB PS3
bundle supplied by SCEA, one can clearly read on the side of the package the
“This product has limited backward compatibility with
PlayStation and PlayStation 2 format software. Many PlayStation and PlayStation
2 format software titles operate, but full compatibility is not guaranteed.
Updating the system software may improve compatibility. Visit
www.us.playstation.com for system software update.”
The move to using software emulation instead of hardware
backwards compatibility is a cost-cutting measure for Sony. It is unclear when
or if the 60GB PlayStation 3 consoles will be affected, though it would be
logical to assume that both console variants will inevitably share the same
hardware aside from differing hard disk drives.
In February, Sony revealed that its European-spec
PlayStation 3 consoles are shipping with revised
hardware that are without the Emotion Engine and Graphics Synthesizer chips
used for PlayStation 2 software backwards compatibility. Instead, the
PlayStation 3 hardware would emulate the older systems through software, though
Sony admitted that backwards compatibility suffers without the dedicated chips.
80GB PlayStation 3 hardware without the dedicated chips first appeared at the console’s launch in