Sony Makes the PS4 Backwards Compatible
Only a few days ago, Microsoft launched a feature it hoped would set its Xbox One apart from the at-the-moment-probably-more-popular PlayStation4: backwards compatibility. Today, to much less fanfare, Sony has tilted their hand a little, teasing at the possibility of the PS4 following suit.
As a matter of fact, Eurogamer reports that the functionality is in fact live, right now, on your console.
To celebrate the upcoming seventh Star Wars movie, Eurogamer reports that Sony has put together a Star Wars games bundle, including four classic Star Wars titles: a port of the SNES classic Super Star Wars, and three PS2 titles: Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, Star Wars: Racer Revenge and Star Wars: Bounty Hunter.
“After we downloaded them, it became clear that all of them are running under emulation,” Eurogamer’s Richard Leadbetter wrote, citing OS-level prompts informing players that the Select and Start buttons (non-existent on the DualShock 4) are mapped to the two different sides of the trackpad, and all 2D assets (typically menu items, HUD elements and the like) remain in their original, low-def forms, upscaled to modern resolutions.
3D assets, however, are a different story, with polygonal assets effectively doubling in size, and quadrupling in pixel count. In-game rendering seems to be set at a resolution of 1292×896, which is then letterboxed and upscaled to a full 1080p.
“Overall impressions are positive,” continued Leadbetter, “There’s little that can be done to improve the quality of 2D assets, but the improvements to the 3D side of things are welcome. It looks like some kind of post-process effect is in place mimicking anti-aliasing – edges are surprisingly smooth, and there’s little in the way of shimmer.”
One other tasty morsel was discovered: trophy support, which has been considered impossible up until now.
“On the face of it this may seem to rule out emulation, as trophies were never in the original games,” explains Leadbetter, “but this patent explains how it is done. Essentially, it seems the emulator tracks certain ‘trigger’ conditions required for specific trophies to activate. We expect that it is tracking the game state as you play.”
The development of PS2 emulation on PS4 has the potential to be huge; already enjoying greater penetration than the Xbox One, one remaining criticism is the shortage of available titles. The PS2 was a resounding success in its time, largely due to its large library of games. If Sony has found a way to bring all of these classics to the PS4, it could be a real game changer.