Backward compatibility has been a source of a lot of frustration over the past few years. People are annoyed that they shell out money for the next-gen console that is always labeled as being a revolution and being the most powerful console ever created, yet it is incapable of playing any games from previous consoles that have inferior hardware. While Microsoft has taken massive steps to address this and has been highly successful, Sony has done very little. It gets further frustrating when we see games like Breath of the Wild running on PC emulators and performing better than they do on the actual console. It is technically possible to emulate PS3 games on PC, but like any emulator, performance is always an issue. A games code can be executed via an emulator, but since it was never intended to run on a PC, there is zero effort made in the code to make it efficient. Sony has been using the excuse of complicated system architecture as the reason they can’t implement backward compatibility, but recent successes in homebrew emulators have shown that Sony is lying about backward compatibility.
I feel that Sony is talking a load of crap when they say they can’t get PS2 and PS3 games to run on the PS4. They do not run because Sony can’t make money from it. It is not a clever business move for them, but the fact is that they are telling lies. We are already seeing evidence of PS3 games getting successfully emulated on PC and in the case of Demons Souls, running incredibly well. If dedicated programmers can make this happen with their own homemade emulators, then there is absolutely no reason why Sony can’t also achieve this with a dedicated team of programmers who have access to all the resources and knowledge needed to know how the PS3 works on the inside. As of right now, it is unlikely that the PS4 has the raw resources required to emulate most games. These PC emulators are running on massively powerful gaming rings. Even so, the PS4 can most definitely emulate PS2 games and could emulate PS1 games in its sleep.
In any engineering scenario, it is never a good idea to throw more and more resources at something that is massively inefficient. Instead, you fix the inefficiencies. Since this is not possible to go back and make past games more efficient to run on systems they were not designed to run on, there is no option but to throw more resources at the problem. With PC hardware getting more powerful every year there is going to come a time when we can just throw enough resources at these emulators that they can emulate a game without any trouble, no matter how inefficient the source data is. The PS2 and PS3 might have used unconventional CPU architectures, but for the PS2 at least, the amount of power the PS4 has available to it should be able to emulate the PS2 quite easily, hell the PS3 was able to do it using software emulation before they cut the feature.
Microsoft has been conquering this area over the past few years in this area. The Xbox One is capable of playing a large number of Xbox 360 games and is soon going to be able to play games from the original Xbox. This means you can buy the latest Xbox and have access to great games from the past 20 years without having to pay for HD remakes. Meanwhile, we have Sony trying to convince us that it isn’t technically possible to emulate PS2 and PS3 games due to the architecture. Meanwhile, we have independent teams capable of creating emulators that are able to do what Sony tell us can’t be done. I am a big fan of the PS4 and I am by no means a Microsoft fanboy, but it has gotten very annoying that we keep getting the same story that we know is not true.
At the end of the day, most people can agree that there is a much higher demand for a HD remake than there is for backward compatibility. I have my PS3 sitting right next to my PS4 anyway, but it is the principle. I hate the lack of transparency. If it isn’t financially viable to implement, then see if crowdfunding can help cover some of the cost. If implemented correctly, it will mean there will be the same emulation technology available for future consoles anyway. Spend the time and money now and reap the reward for the future. As hardware gets more powerful, consoles will be able to emulate older games far better simply because they can throw more system resources to cover the inefficiencies. The lack of a backward compatibility program for the PS4 is a little annoying and is giving us signs that Sony is going back to the way they were before when their arrogance saw the PS3 tank at launch.
Who knows where things will go in the next few years, maybe the PS5 will be so powerful that it will slice through PS3 games like butter. Whatever happens, It would be great if Sony would just talk about it instead of giving us lies in order to sell Playstation Now and further push HD remakes. There are too many talented developers out there who are debunking all the lies when they build the homebrew emulators.