While not something Sony would have wanted to surface at E3, some rather disappointing news about its latest flagship model has come up during the show.
The newly introduced 80GB PS3 will follow in the footsteps of existing European PS3s in dropping the 'Emotion Engine', a hardware based emulation tool which guaranteed almost blanket PS2 and PSOne backward compatibility.
Instead the 80GBer will achieve all its emulation through onboard software (sound familiar?) meaning a far more limited array of previous gen titles will be available and additional ones added only through company software updates. Sony currently carries a list of software emulation compatible games here.
Naturally the chief reason for this switch over is cost since dropping emulation means one less piece of hardware in the manufacturing process and better profit margins. It is also thought Sony is unhappy about the reliability of the Emotion Engine long term. Of course, looking at the wider picture, Sony has just implemented a $100 price cut to its 60GB model so I wouldn't be surprised if some of the financing of this came through the removal of the Emotion Engine in them too.
This all makes very little difference to we Europeans but for gamers around the world who have yet to feel the brutal force of the Sony accounting team prepare to duck and cover...