Debugging PS3...Redux

Posted by: Kenji Hall on November 13, 2006

First it was the supply shortages. Now it’s a bug in the machine. Sony’s new PlayStation 3 video game console is off to a rough start, with news just days after the much-hyped launch in Japan that not all games for the original PlayStation and PlayStation 2 are compatible with the new machine, as Sony had promised. In a statement in Japanese on its Web site, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., the company’s games division, said the problems differ depending on the games. But it didn’t offer any details so it’s impossible to know whether the problems are due to the Blu-ray next-gen DVD player or some incombatibility issues with the operating software. Nor did the company say how it learned about the glitch. Sony officials didn’t immediately respond to emailed questions.

According to a report in the Japanese daily Sankei Shimbun, 200 of the 8,000 available software titles won’t play on the PS3. On its Web site, the company has set up a search function that lets you check whether your games have been affected. A quick search turned up mostly minor issues.

Sony’s Genji was problem-free, and Mortal Kombat II, Super Football Champ and dozens of other older games were still “in the process of being verified.” The biggest problems I found were background music that wouldn’t play (Electronic Arts’ Best Hits 007 Night Fire & 007 Everything or Nothing, which goes on sale in mid-December, and Artdink’s Zeus Carnage Heart Second from 1998), intro demo videos that would freeze (Capcom’s Devil May Cry MEGA HITS! from 2002), or online games that were stored on the PS2’s hard disk drive but couldn’t be ported to play on the PS3 system (Final Fantasy XI/PlayOnline from 2003).

With nothing less than Sony’s revival depending on the PS3’s success, the company will certainly want to fix the glitch—before it ramps up production to meet its informal target of 2 million units for the holiday season.

Reader Comments

Tony

November 15, 2006 1:08 AM

I think too many media outlets are making too big a fuss about this. It's certainly a minor problem if you own some of the aforementioned games, but backwards compatibility is never 100% perfect. In comparison, the number of games that WON'T play perfectly on PS3 is about the same number of games that XBox 360's backward compatibility CAN accept. It's a nice feature for sure, but chances are that gamers who get a PS3/X360 already own a PS2/Xbox and can play those games whenever they want.

scragar

November 15, 2006 5:13 AM

I have to agree with Tony, the odds are that anyone with a PS3 who wants to play PS2 games properly already has a PS2.

however you must remember that backwards compatibility has always been the PS2's major selling point.

Mike

November 15, 2006 7:29 AM

I agree people including myself will buy a PS3 for PS3 games not PS2

Dan

November 15, 2006 8:21 AM

I think Tony's taking it too light.
Sony is making some really amature goofs for such a suposedly tech savy media giant.
Their first mistake was promising what they couldnt for sure deliver. And to a rabid unsympathetic group, in a market where the choices are really glaring between cost and features patience is not on their side.
I wonder how something could be in production for 6 years with already one setback due to a supply glitch and not have had enough time to check on this backwards compatability issue.
It might just be they knew about the problem but a little too late and just figured like the auto makers of old, "Ah screw it! Let the buyer be ware! As long as we can get enough of these babies out the door to call it a sucsess well pick up the pieces up later!"
And as far as the idea that Playstation owners already own the older machines for the older games, you have just reduced one of those all important features, and relegated your base to bring out the old army boot to drink champagne from.

Greg

November 15, 2006 11:14 AM

I have a PS2 and never played any of my old PS1 games on it, even though I could. If I ever get a PS3, I suspect that will be the case as well.

SolitoN

November 15, 2006 12:45 PM

The bottom line is that, as usual, Sony is once again being misleading. They overhyped the PS2's capabilities when IT was released, claiming that the 'Emotion engine' is crazy, revolutionary stuff, that all cut-scenes will be rendered in-game, blah, blah, blah, but it never happened. Then there were the disc read errors, which resulted in a class action lawsuit against Sony, where it was forced to offer compensation to customers for misleading them about the PS2's ability to perform as a DVD player. And to top it off, despite LOSING in court, they refused to admit they made any mistakes in manufacturing the PS2 -- then why are you compensating people for something that's supposedly NOT your fault? Come on...
Now with the PS3, we have this compatibility issue; tell me, after 6 years in development, how is it possible not to check if the machine does what you claim it does? Also, a Sony exec recently admitted that it's impossible for ALL games to be backwards compatible, and that some will never work -- but they claimed 100% backwards compatibility in their sales pitches... See a pattern in Sony's behavior here? I'd be wary of ANY claims they make: let a friend buy a PS3 and check it out, or read reviews online before you invest so much money into disappointment.

Jared

November 15, 2006 3:54 PM

Sony spokesman Satoshi Fukuoka said "problems in playing older games are not a glitch and had been expected"

So they knew the issue all along. They definately let people assume all games would work. Microsoft was honest and said only certain games would be compatible, explained why, and may have even wrote up a list prior to release.

Sony already had a reputation of over promising. I think they said the PS2 would do like 60,000,000 polys a second, but the actual turned out to be about 7,000,000. It happned with the PS1, then with the PS2. I'm not going to believe PS3 spec until it's in the hands of developers for a while.

I knew a parent who decided to buy his kid a PS3 instead of a Xbox 360 because of the backwards compatability. I sent him an article like this one and he's reconsidering.

Personally, once a get a new console I don't look back (except for the Halo series.) Worse case you keep the old console around. The only issue may be tranfering any online profiles. I think it's more a selling point for the parents. They don't feel like they are throwing all that cash they spent on the last console out the window.

Ryan

November 15, 2006 4:55 PM

so the PS3's big problem is that it DOES NOT play the same amount of old games as the 360 DOES play? ... are you kidding me? how is this a problem? xbox360s were overheating, givng disc read errors, red ring errors, and the blue screen of death, they were falling to peices left and right, i wouldnt be suprised if almost half of the lauch consoles have been sent back to microsoft by now.

so far so good in comparsion, write an artical when there is a real problem that we care about.

SpeakingTree

November 15, 2006 11:49 PM

Sony is company that tries to make proprietary and expensive equipment. Once the user has bought such equipment he/she is stuck with a technology which may or may not be the best! As a result it is a big gamble to buy stuff from SONY. Bottomline SONY sucks.

MarcG

November 22, 2006 2:12 PM

Does that mean nobody wants to pay $600 for a PS3?

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