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When the PS3 launched in Japan and America last November there was a distinct lack of A-List games. In some respects the delayed launch in Europe has created a far better launch line up, but even so, many of the launch titles have already been available on other platforms for some time now.
I’ll be covering much of the launch line up in a separate feature and writing full reviews of some of the key titles over the coming days, so I won’t go into too much detail here. What I will say though is that everything I’ve seen on the PS3 so far looks like a first generation title. Nothing looks like it could make the Cell chip break a sweat, and there’s definitely nothing that even comes close to the visual impact of Gears of War on the X360!
One major boon that the PS3 does have in its favour is a region free model for PlayStation 3 games. This means that you can buy any game, from any region and play it in any machine, from any region. This is the way things should be – Microsoft and Nintendo please take note!
But then no PlayStation console has ever appeared with a truly standout launch title, and it’s not as if that fact has ever stopped the machines being successful. Last year at E3 Konami showed off the trailer for Metal Gear Solid 4 and that will probably be enough to convince masses of gamers to buy into the PlayStation 3 – after all it worked with the PlayStation 2, the Metal Gear Solid 2 trailer probably sold more early consoles than anything else.
But let’s not forget about the huge catalogue of PS1 and PS2 games. A while back Sony was making a big noise about how the PS3 would be almost completely backwards compatible with previous generation games – mainly because Microsoft had done so poorly in this area with the X360. The reason that Sony could promise almost total backwards compatibility is that it actually put the PS2 chips inside the PlayStation 3 – the PS3 wasn’t having to emulate a PS2, it actually was a PS2!
So, imagine my surprise when a few weeks ago Sony announced that the European PlayStation 3 would not have the PS2 hardware inside, and we would have to make do with software emulation. Apparently us Europeans, or second class citizens as Sony obviously sees us, don’t deserve to be able to play all our old PS2 and PS1 games on our shiny new consoles, only the Americans and Japanese deserve that. If you want to find out exactly which games will work on the European PS3, you better click here.
It’s likely of course that all PS3 consoles will be moving towards this emulation model, thus saving Sony some cash at the manufacturing process. But Sony has missed a golden opportunity here. If the marketing bods at SCEE had any sense, they would have made the first batch of European consoles with the PS2 hardware inside, then made it clear that it would be switching to an emulation model for the next batch onwards. That alone would have got the pre-orders flooding in instead of every retailer having masses of unsold launch day stock.
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