With the Sony publicity machine going into overdrive in recent weeks ahead of the PlayStation 3's European launch this Friday, positive news stories have been building and here's another: the backwards compatibility list for the crippled EU PS3 has been announced and it isn't as bad as was feared – not even remotely.
As it turns out more than 1,782 of the PS2's 2,451 titles so far released in PAL territories will work on the next gen console. This includes new releases like God of War II, Pro Evo 6, Fifa 07, Final Fantasy XII and classics such as Metal Gear Solid 3 and Grand Theft Auto. Notable absentees include Final Fantasy X and X-2, plus GTA: San Andreas, while John Madden NLF fans are out in the cold with 01 right through to 06 proving too tricky to adapt.
PlayStation European President David Reeves was naturally chipper about the news stating "We will be adding additional titles to this list in future firmware upgrades." He did however take the opportunity to re-emphasise that "In the future our resources will be increasingly focused on developing new services and entertainment features exclusively for PS3, rather than on delivering PS2 backwards compatibility." So I wouldn't expect the 1,782 titles to grow particularly rapidly.
A further note of caution comes in the small print where Sony explains there are three levels of compatibility for this published list: 'no known issues', 'some minor issues' and 'noticeable issues'. So don't go thinking these are all perfect ports.
In related news for UK PS3 fans, Virgin has announced it will be hosting the console's official launch at its Megastore on Oxford Street from 0.00AM 23 March (ie Thursday night). Surprisingly it is encouraging customers to begin queuing from noon to secure their machines and will be turning the lower ground floor into a 'campsite' to make them comfortable.
Of course you may not need to go to such lengths to get your hands on a PS3 since just two days from launch virtually every online store including Amazon UK, Play.com, Shop.com, The Games Warehouse, EmpireDirect.co.uk, Dabs.com, Game – in fact EVERYONE – is still guaranteeing day one availability. I guess a few weeks of good news aren't enough to make up for 12 months of bad publicity...
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