What is it with Sony that they just love to upset us Europeans? Not only do we have to wait months longer than our friends over the pond, but now they have been messing about with the hardware and hit the area which they always in the past boasted about!
Sony really is the company many of us love to hate it has to be said, but with silly announcements appearing on the Internet with the same regularity I watch HD DVD movies (fairly often!), it is a wonder that Sony has any fans left.
So what is the latest blunder? Well apparently European models of the Sony PlayStation 3 will not have the Emotion Engine chip. This is the brain that supports the PlayStation 2 for backwards compatibility within the next generation console. Sony have been very eager to express the absolutely huge library of titles on previous PlayStation systems at the PS3 launch, so it seems odd they are tinkering yet again. It is true that software emulation can save the day, however Sony have already been reported as saying that the quantity of backwards compatible titles available will suffer.
The original PS3 used the Emotion Engine/Graphics Synthesiser to emulate PS2 titles. With the latest European specification we have removed the Emotion Engine, retaining the graphics chip. This has an impact on the number of PS2 titles that will be backwards compatible.
So should PS3 owners feel at a loss? Well actually it is more likely that Sony will concentrate all their efforts on this new software emulation route and totally ignore the Emotion Engine chip in earlier generation PS3 units. Maybe the Emotion Chip was actually holding back the backwards compatibility and in the long run this could actually be a good thing, allowing better graphical enhancements like we see on the Xbox 360 (Full Scene Anti-Aliasing and much higher resolutions).
Whether any of my predictions actually turn out to be correct, it still is damaging to Sony to have yet another change at a hardware level so early in the PlayStation 3 life regardless of any benefits.