Rumor: PlayStation 4 to get native PS1/PS2 emulation

A source within Sony reportedly claims that the company is working on the ability to play PS1 and PS2 games on the PlayStation 4 through normal emulation, rather than strictly keeping to the streaming service of PlayStation Now.

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PlayStation Now beta invites are going out, heralding what seems to be the start of Sony's backwards compatibility plans for PlayStation 4. It's starting out with streaming PlayStation 3 games, and a rumor is circulating that Sony has other plans for the PS1 and PS2 legacies.

Eurogamer reports that a "well-placed source" says only PS3 games are planned to stream through PS Now. According to the report, Sony has plans to go a more conventional emulation route for PS1 and PS2 games, possibly with some HD enhancements similar to the PS2 rereleases we saw on PS3.

Since Sony already has already made emulators for PS1 and PS2 games on the PlayStation 3 (and PS1 games on Vita), the company reportedly thinks the PlayStation 4 could easily handle it too. The company is said to be actively pursuing this emulation strategy, with some new upscaling tricks to keep the older games from blurring. The effect would be something like the "HD remasters," but with the upscaling performed through the emulator to save developers the trouble.

This is all based on the word of an anonymous source, so take it with a grain of salt. If true, it doesn't necessarily mean that PlayStation Now will never stream PS1 or PS2 games, but having an emulation solution as well would give Sony options on how to sell pieces of its back catalog.

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  • reply
    January 29, 2014 11:00 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Rumor: PlayStation 4 to get native PS1/PS2 emulation.

    A source within Sony reportedly claims that the company is working on the ability to play PS1 and PS2 games on the PlayStation 4 through normal emulation, rather than strictly keeping to the streaming service of PlayStation Now.

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      January 29, 2014 11:08 AM

      This would be really awesome.

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      January 29, 2014 11:11 AM

      This would pretty much secure a sale from me. I still play my PS2

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        January 29, 2014 11:44 AM

        Ps1 emulator Sure np.
        PS2 on a 1.6ghz cpu ... I'm not sure PCSX2 has a min req. of 2 cores 3ghz, and you will need to OC to ~4ghz if you want to play shadow of colossus at normal fps - cycles are king in emulators business.
        if they had 3 ghz cpu I bet sony offical emu would be milky smooth but silky smooth at half the GHz looks like a pipe dream.
        Its just that PS2 EmotionEngine is so much different from x86. :) You don't even get the same result doing float point math (ex.: 3/5 will be slightly different between them).
        And then we get into very fun territory like per game HW specific cpu timing tricks.

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          January 29, 2014 11:46 AM

          I trust that Sony probably knows how to emulate their own systems better than the PCSX2 team. Plus, comparing hardware between a PC and a console is normally silly anyways, since one is a dedicated gaming device with WAY less overhead.

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            January 29, 2014 2:35 PM

            Ahh but thats the point :) PS4 IS x86 archtecture - exact the same as PC.
            Building a port of 1 game is one thing.
            Building an emulation engine for a funky cpu as emotionengine that runs every game and therefore mimics every hardware quirk in <keyword> real-time </keyword> is quite another thing entirely. It would be a feat if they managed to squeeze it in to 1.6ghz but until I'lI see it its just a wild rumor.

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              January 29, 2014 6:55 PM

              Same architecture does mean anything with entirely different kernels on it.

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                January 30, 2014 9:22 AM

                :) cpu instructions are run on cpu and a set of instructions in a program add up to a thing one might call a kernel. not the other way around. diffeerent kernels only add to workload not reduuce it.
                emulation doubles instruction count for a different system because at absolute minimum you need to translate each foreign instruction into something the native cpu could understand.

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      January 29, 2014 11:13 AM

      Interest in buying a PS4 increasing.

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      January 29, 2014 11:17 AM

      Let's hope they can eliminate the input lag this time around. That's the reason I sold my backward compatible PS3.

      If they can actually run 3D games at a higher res, then that would be pretty friggin cool.

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        January 29, 2014 11:25 AM

        Going to be much easier running a pure emulator vs trying to enhance anything unless it can be applied across the final frame buffer.

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        January 29, 2014 11:36 AM

        The whole reason BC PS3's lagged is because they chose to deinterlace 480i, then upscale the deinterlace to the resolution of your choice. If they continue down the road of deinterlacing, which seems to be their preference, there will always and at all times be 4 frames of lag in every single game they ever emulate.

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          January 29, 2014 11:45 AM

          Actually if you played a BC PS3 on a SDTV you still had 3 frames of lag. Maybe they were deinterlacing automatically, which required them to then re-interlace.

          Hopefully they choose to line double instead this time if they can't actually increase the resolution.

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            January 29, 2014 11:51 AM

            IOW, as I said, they deinterlaced under all circumstances. But they had good compatibility, meaning, most everything worked. In fact, it worked so much like a PS2 that if any given game could use 480p mode, or even be forced into it (xploder) it would behave just like a PS2 and run at 480p--without blurry crap or lag from deinterlacing.

            Although at that point, what you are displaying is literally no better than a real PS2!

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      January 29, 2014 11:33 AM

      Really, haven't all the notable games had HD re-release?

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        January 29, 2014 2:46 PM

        With a library as deep as the PS2's? Not hardly.

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      January 29, 2014 11:34 AM

      Their hardware solution was such shit with the PS3 that I'll take this one with a gigantic grain of salt, believing when seeing.

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        January 29, 2014 3:15 PM

        Hw solution was not shit since hardware solution involved putting a honest to god ps2 cpu and gpu into the ps3. those by definition run ps2 games the same as on ps2.
        but then they dropped the gpu which is rather easy to emulate but still it hurt compatibility.
        And then the cpu ... the end of compatibility.

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          January 29, 2014 4:54 PM

          Sorry, you're wrong. My launch PS3 which is still functional and in use is complete and utter shit for compatibility. It always and at all times blurs the game image from deinterlacing, and it always has a minimum of 4 frames of lag. One frame is about 16ms, multiply that by four, all PS2 games lag by 64ms when played on any PS3. That my friend is shit, and is what guarantees that only my PS2 or my PC ever runs my PS2 games.

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            January 29, 2014 9:16 PM

            The lag isn't from the PS3. It's most likely your TV.

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              January 30, 2014 6:48 AM

              Sorry, but you are also wrong. The lag is not from my Panasonic professional monitor. I know this because I have tested it multiple times from different sources and inputs, and it consistently reads 6-8ms, IOW, less than one frame of lag, about as fast as you can reasonably expect any digital monitor to operate. Meanwhile, if you will pay attention to what I am saying for a third time in this thread, the PS3 always and at all times deinterlaces its output of PS2 games. This means that it will always and at all times create a lag of 4 frames. One frame equals 16ms, four frames equals 64ms. And even if you connect your backward compatible PS3 to a CRT that has zero ms/frames of lag, the backward compatible PS3 will still lag four frames. The method that Sony used for this compatibility sucks balls from the very start.

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                January 30, 2014 8:34 AM

                The few times I've actually played a PS3 were early on in it's life, and most of those times were playing PS2 games on my friends launch unit. Mostly we played Capcom Vs SNK 2 (a game where you'd notice lag) being there were no PS3 games out at the time worth playing. Being 2006 and him not having an HDTV we played on his CRT and it worked flawlessly.

                It looks like you've got some equipment and have done lots of testing to be able to narrow it down to frames and how long the delay is. Perhaps some games perform better than others, or your unit is faulty. My experiences as limited as they were, were ideal.

                I guessed your TV because almost every modern unit has display lag of some kind.

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                  January 30, 2014 9:16 AM

                  It didn't work flawlessly. It had 4 frames/64ms of lag! Even using a CRT, a PS3 will lag when running PS2 games. You didn't notice it? Well I guess you and your buddy aren't great Capcom V SNK2 players. I wouldn't be digging my heels in on this if I weren't sure about how this functions. The entire implementation that Sony used will always lag, and will always deinterlace, which blurs the image. You can perhaps argue how harmful this is to the game ("I didn't notice it," "it played great," "it looked fine," etc.) but you cannot dispute that it lags, and that it blurs. Seriously, it is how the thing functions. It is made to work in this way. It's likely a principal reason that the backwards compatibility hardware was eliminated entirely.

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                    January 30, 2014 11:52 AM

                    Why would there be deinterlacing on a CRT? What would be the point? His TV was pretty old. I doubt he was using component cables.

                    I'm not particularly good at CvS2, but I don't see how that impacts a person's ability to notice input lag.

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                      January 30, 2014 1:23 PM

                      Why would there be deinterlacing on a CRT? What would be the point?

                      http://guycodeblog.mtv.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/104rx8k.gif

                      The point is that they made their system to always do this, I'm not sure what you aren't understanding at this point. PS2 games use so many video modes and do so much stretching and other tricks with the framebuffer that it is absolutely not as simple as turning a switch to go to 480p, or any other higher resolution. To engineer this in a timeframe as short as they had and to ensure compatibility with as many games as they could, they went with what they did. If you don't notice the blur, and if you don't play competitively enough to lose from the lag, then you can have a good time with it, but it just always works this way and there's no getting around it. It isn't like they had the option of doing things properly (PCSX2).

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            January 30, 2014 9:31 AM

            pff :D lol
            Buddy let me tell you a secret - here in emulation section we are happy just to have realtime fps that is not jumping around +-75%.
            I'm not saying its not possible to have perfect fps. I'm saying that it the nature of the beast (there is no 'perfect' emulator for NES - no pc can run it in realtime) and glitches are to be expected.

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              January 30, 2014 2:34 PM

              Oh the FPS is perfect and it doesn't jump anywhere at all. It's also delayed by 64ms and blurry as hell.

              Maybe you missed it so I'll link you again: http://www.shacknews.com/article/82873/rumor-playstation-4-to-get-native-ps1ps2-emulation?id=31429440#item_31429440

              I'll quote if you're too lazy to click a link, but please read it this time. all PS2 games lag by 64ms when played on any PS3. That my friend is shit, and is what guarantees that only my PS2 or my PC ever runs my PS2 games.

              Let me tell you a secret, here in emulation section you are getting better results than a PS3 running PS2 games. These weren't glitches. The engineering behind their solution was faulty to start with. Glitches are bugs and bugs can be fixed. A bug is when you have your PS3 running every second pixel backwards, that's what the PS3 was doing to PS2 games at launch and it got fixed. Deinterlacing, along with the blur and the lag that it introduces, are inherent design flaws. If it actually were emulation they could have fixed those problems.

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      January 29, 2014 11:44 AM

      that would be fucking sweet

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      January 29, 2014 11:47 AM

      I doubt extremely highly that they can emulate the PS2 on the PS4's CPU.

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        January 29, 2014 11:47 AM

        (with that said, I bet some GPGPU sauce might be able to mitigate some of the general cost of the MIPS cpu + the VUs)

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          January 29, 2014 3:29 PM

          not really - the buthurt is not in the calculations themselves of the MIPS but in all the extra control logic that mimics PS2 hardware specs and glitches and bugs. and sorry - if you don't rewrite a single threaded game logic engine into multi thread then you have no use for all those fancy parallel multi-core GPGPUs. And if you do ... you might as well redo it in native ps4 code.

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        January 29, 2014 12:13 PM

        Why do you say that? There are already native x86 ps2 emulators on linux and windows that already upscale to 1080p with anti-aliasing that smooth out everything nicely.

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          January 29, 2014 1:06 PM

          Untrue, pcsx2 requires a large amount of distributed CPU power. For example, I have a 8x2.86ghz Xeon machine that cannot play MGS3. Not so sure that the PS4 has the MIPS to make this happen.

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            January 29, 2014 1:51 PM

            doesnt the emulator bruteforce that shit because they can't do it efficiently the way sony potentially could with the knowledge over their own architecture?

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              January 29, 2014 3:10 PM

              Not really,
              Ideal scenario - cpu A is the same architecture as CPU B
              then in theory you can pass A instructions to B and code fgets executed correctly at native B speed.
              Now A is different instructions therefore you convert A instructions into B thats 2x execution cycles right there.
              Then you have funny thing as that math does not align between A and B. ad another instruction for result correction. 3x fold increase in cycles.
              Then we have execution in parallel of different threads (EmotionEngine has 2 execution units) and you have to align data flow between them to mimic the hardware (consoles don't necessary have software checks - they are optimized for fixed hardware). Thats another layer of instructions for B to run. lets say 4x
              sure maybe we don't always need to do all steps but then again I assume that each step only consumes 1 cpu cycle.
              As history shows you have ~10x increase in cycles demanded by PCsx2 emulator (333MHz EE to ~3ghz x86) if I remember correctly something similar ratio was with PS1 emulator.
              What Sony could do is with inside knowledge make their emulator more consistent. Sure you can run 95% in pcsx2 at full frame rate with full graphical enhancements, but most games have that 5% were more or less fps tanks.
              What I don't think Sony emulator would do is to decrease the basic cpu cycle factor by half (to run on ps4 1.6 ghz) ofcourse i'm hoping I'm wrong :)

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            January 29, 2014 2:49 PM

            not true. Emulator PCSX2 requires just 2 threads so you dont need 8 cores - all you need is 2 cores but they must run at atleast 3ghz.
            graphics are easy (and because tresults go to screen and not back to the game data - you dont have to nail it)
            EmotionEngine is not x86, (PC and PS4 IS x86 archtecture), EE not even handles math the way x86 does - simply put same math but you get slightly diferent rezults. On top of that games on consoles dont have software checks and control, as normal programs usually do. For maximum performance develpers use hardware limits as checks (example multithreaded calculations arrive just in time for other processes not because there are checks: is it ther?, Yes -> do; No 0> wait, it just arrives bacause devs calculated the timings for fixed hardware. Not to mentions that they sometimes use bugs and gliches to their own advantage.
            and thats very hard to emulate well very hard in a sence that you have a lot of baby sitting to do. and therefore overhead.

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            January 29, 2014 3:32 PM

            Considering that Sony has complete access to the PS2 hardware and software as well as the PS4, I'd imagine they could find some creative ways to get it to work. They don't need to reverse engineer the PS2 to make it work on a range of PC's (like 3rd party emulators do). They can break out the blueprints and map out each function to a specific function on the PS4 hardware directly. I'm sure they can use the multiple cores and GPU's and fast memory to get this done considering they are going from one known closed system to another known closed system.

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              January 29, 2014 6:49 PM

              I hope this is true. I know jack shit about emulating and computing in general, but if they could do this then they would be doing a service to humanity.

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        January 29, 2014 12:31 PM

        why? a modest PC can do it no problem.

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        January 29, 2014 3:14 PM

        How surprised would you be to find out the PS3 can emulate PS2 games?

        http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=526722

        All the "PS2" classic on PSN are emulated using this method: https://store.sonyentertainmentnetwork.com/#!/en-ca/classics/cid=STORE-MSF77008-CLASSICS|game_type~ps2_classics|

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          January 29, 2014 4:57 PM

          Not too surprised, but how surprised would you be if a CPU at half the cycles could emulate it as well as a 3.2GHz one?

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        January 30, 2014 12:15 AM

        You make it sound like PS4's CPU is a step back from the 10 year old Cell.

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          January 30, 2014 6:49 AM

          For emulation of newer consoles, it could easily be. Why do you think there is no PS3 emulation in the PS4?

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            January 30, 2014 9:12 AM

            because for ps3 emulataor you would need a 6.5+ GHZ cpu at absolute minimum ... emulation history unfortunately shows that the average cpu cycles multiplier is 10 not 2, so 30ghz is infeasible on silicon based cpu

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          January 30, 2014 9:09 AM

          Well the sad truth it is
          Each emulated instruction needs more steps to perform on emulator therefore it needs higher ghz. Ps4 has 1.6, ps3 - 3.2

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      January 29, 2014 11:52 AM

      Now that would be hot and sexy!

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      January 29, 2014 12:18 PM

      Yes yes yes, A thousand times yes!!!!!!

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      January 29, 2014 12:33 PM

      Woo hoo bring on Battle Arena Toshinden!

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      January 29, 2014 1:05 PM

      Sounds like a good strategy as not everyone wants to have the option to stream games but never own them outright. I'll always prefer the option to run games locally.

      This isn't something I'm necessarily going to take advantage of, as I still have a PS3, PS2 and PS Vita to handle my older game catalogues, but it's still encouraging to see. If a PS Vita or non back-compat PS3 can run PS2 and PSOne games via emulation, there's no reason why a PS4 shouldn't be able to.

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      January 29, 2014 1:48 PM

      So, are they emulating games through the PSN so I have to buy the damn games again.. or are they allowing me to throw my old games in the system and they'll release a firmware update that allows the PS4 to read my disks and play them then? This matters.

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        January 29, 2014 10:16 PM

        Yes, same here. There are some truly cult titles that have never seen re-release on PSN that I would love to play.

        That said, I hope for both. Keep existing owners of the games happy, possibly get sales of some old games to new people.

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        January 30, 2014 5:01 AM

        Perhaps both? If they can emulate, the source of the game should not matter.

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      January 29, 2014 1:50 PM

      That's pretty awesome but I have no ps1 or ps2 games. :(

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        January 29, 2014 1:51 PM

        I doubt they'd let you use your old discs, rather buy them over PSN just like they did with PS1 on PS3.

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      January 29, 2014 2:48 PM

      Sounds awesome, but I have HD versions of the games I want. Bring it on for everything else though...

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      January 30, 2014 5:00 AM

      Ooh, now we are talking. Hi, Microsoft, take a hint!

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      January 30, 2014 6:12 AM

      Emulator?

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