Rumor: PS4 to run PS1 and PS2 games via local software emulation

Sony announced that its upcoming PlayStation Now streaming game service would allow older PlayStation games to run on devices like the new PS4. Now a new rumor claims that Sony is working to allow PS1 and PS2 to run on the PS4 via local software emulation.

Eurogamer reports, via unnamed sources, that Sony is "actively pursuing" a strategy to allow PS1 and PS2 games to run on the PS4 and possibly to offer some HD visual improvements as well. The story did not state when Sony plans to add these software emulation features to its new console, which has already sold over 4 million units since launching two and a half months ago.

As far as PlayStation 3 games, the article stated that Sony still plans to offer those titles via streaming on PlayStation Now for PS4 owners. Sony plans to launch a beta for the service sometime this summer.

Both the PS4 and Microsoft's Xbox One console launched in November without the ability to play any games from their previous console generation. Microsoft is also reportedly working on its own streaming game service, but it would appear that Sony is much further along in its plans.

Source: Eurogamer | Image via Sony

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Early build of 'iOS in the Car' shown in video

Next Story

Google expands LEGO Chrome experiment; now you can build anywhere on Google Maps

44 Comments

View more comments

Thank God - hope it's true, cos I want to play my PS2 games without having to drag down my PS2 from upstairs. That's one thing I miss with the PS3 - had the original PS3 that did play PS2 games but It expired so had to get a PS3 slim, which was missing this feature.

That would be nice. What would be even better is if Microsoft could make Xbox One run old PC games, or at least get it to run Windows 8 apps so I can use a SNES emulator on it.

Well if they went that far, they might as well scrap the Xbox completely and just tell people to stick a Windows PC under their television. I wouldn't be opposed to that plan.

Enron said,
Well it essentially is a Windows PC. If it's running Windows 8, it should be able to run Windows 8 apps.

That is the plan... They are still working out some of the logistics in merging the App platform due to Controller/Kinect input differences, and also getting the same functionality into Windows 8.1.

Cool I guess. Not a big deal to me though since my PC can emulate PS1 and PS2 and offers more options that an official emulator wouldn't.

As this would cut the need for a complex cable and box set up to plug a PS2 into an HDMI port, and the fact that the cabinet under my TV is completely filled without the ps2, I whole heartedly support this

I really want to play fantavision again, lol.

I do wish the PS3 wasn't a cloud service, I'd really like to have physical copies of ico and colossus HD I could play, but won't buy a ps3 for them

I have some old PS1 and PS2 games. If they would allow the PS4 to read these older discs, that would be fantastic!

>>If the rumor is true, Sony will probably take an existing emulator (PCSX, PCSX2, etc) and build upon it. That is what I think at least.

Due to my limited income as a disabled veteran, I cannot go out and purchase a PS3/PS4 or an XBox 360/XBox One, and further cannot afford to buy the games to go with these systems. I already have a PS1 and an original XBox with a few games I purchased a few years ago. So the only way to get my gaming fix is to download emulators for PS1/PS2 for my netbook and the games I want to play in the form of ISOs. The PS3 I don't see the point of owning. Nothing against the system. Seems that there are few titles I would want to play on it. I will get a 3DS XL at GameStop sometime this year at a discount with 8 gift cards I have to earn through e-rewards (almost 4 earned, these 8 gift cards allows me to get a $200 system for nothing and pay $12 sales tax :^) ), buy some games to go with it (already have one, Super Mario Bros. 2), and then buy a Gateway card so I can play the 3DS roms I have collected. The 3DS does have some classic Game Boy games that can be bought and downloaded to the system from the Nintendo eShop.

Edited by ReimondX, Jan 28 2014, 9:24pm :

I think you can get a 360 for under $100 now. Used of course but it would still work. And PS3 perhaps the same, even cheaper if you don't mind buying thru Craigslist or something similar if you really wanted one. There are plenty of decent games for it that make it worth owning.
But is the 3DS is your thing then go for it Might be hard to constantly be squinting at that tiny screen though ......

I still have a ton of physical media for PS1 and PS2 (and obviously PS3)... if they can get this going for the 1 and 2, it's a nice value-add to the PS4 if you like playing the old games but don't want to pay to download them on a streaming service.

Also, question for anyone that knows... when they open up the streaming service for the PS3 games, how is it going to work? Will every game cost money regardless of whether you own the physical media? Will there be a "check" of some sort by inserting the disk, allowing you to play without paying? Something else?

I don't get why people keep confusing this.
The PS3 used a completely different CPU hardware architecture from the PS1 & PS2. The PS4 uses yet another architecture. With each architecture change, backwards compatibility essentially goes out the window.
That said, the PS4 (and the Xbox One) are both now on the x86 microarchitecture - the same architecture the CPU in your desktops and laptops use. This is a much more flexible platform, but that doesn't mean it will just natively play the older games. Any older games you want to play will require an emulator, something that will be easier to inside of the x86 platform.
The rumor makes sense, the PS1 and PS2 emulators would be the easiest produce (and so first to be released), a PS3 emulator may not be far behind if this rumor pans out.
Xbox One may even see a 360 emulator if they think it will help get people to trade in for the new console.

ZombieEinstein said,
I don't get why people keep confusing this.
The PS3 used a completely different CPU hardware architecture from the PS1 & PS2. The PS4 uses yet another architecture. With each architecture change, backwards compatibility essentially goes out the window.
That said, the PS4 (and the Xbox One) are both now on the x86 microarchitecture - the same architecture the CPU in your desktops and laptops use. This is a much more flexible platform, but that doesn't mean it will just natively play the older games. Any older games you want to play will require an emulator, something that will be easier to inside of the x86 platform.
The rumor makes sense, the PS1 and PS2 emulators would be the easiest produce (and so first to be released), a PS3 emulator may not be far behind if this rumor pans out.
Xbox One may even see a 360 emulator if they think it will help get people to trade in for the new console.

With generational shifts in technology, architecture can become irrelevant.

Also I don't agree about x86/x64 in terms of the actual 'platform' being 'technically' more conducive for the emulation of other architectures. i.e. The XB360 using the PowerPC was easily able to emulate the PIII x86 and DX8.x NVidia GPU of the original Xbox.

Having existing emulation 'projects' running on x86/x64 from the community is what makes x86/x64 emulation easier, but that is because of the work of the community Sony could take and build on.

Moving between similar architectures can often be easier so getting an original Xbox x86 emulator running on the XB1 in theory should be easier, especially since much of the GPU translation was already done the XB360. However, the question becomes is it worth the cost/time depending on how much consumers will use it.

I don't think the XB1 can quite pull off the performance (especially with developer complexity tricks) to emulate the XB360 on the console. I think the generation shift is just not great enough, but I could be completely wrong. However, Microsoft has planned streaming emulation, just as Sony is planning for the PS3 titles on the PS4.


If backwards emulation was critical, the cost to throw an XB360 SoC into the XB1 would have been possible. The same is true of the PS4/PS3, and is what Sony originally did with the PS3 to play PS2 titles, but they soon yanked it as it wasn't being used enough and was causing overall stability issues. Not enough gamers were using it to justify the support or the cost. It also created piracy problems with the OS boot options that Sony also later removed.


It is better for Sony/Microsoft and publishers/developers to have an easy path to rebuild the title for a newer platform and re-release it at a discount price. Microsoft still has additional development tools specifically for this that haven't been presented publically, and it could help with moving older games in addition to the cross platform engines for Apps/Games with WP8/Win8.

I agree with most of everything you said, the PS1/PS2 emulators should be possible even if not perfect or supporting all titles, and using their streaming technology for PS3 is the best way forward to get titles in consumers hands faster, even if they think they can get full PS3 emulation on the PS4.

And even though it should be fairly easy for Microsoft to get Xbox original titles running on the XB1 due the architectural similarities, I'm not sure Microsoft is going to offer it. There were a lot of licensing/distribution issues with just offer Xbox emulation on the XB360. This is where fast ports would allow for potentially less licensing issues. Or they could do both.

As you stated, it is strange that users get don't realize how major architectural differences actually are for software and the differences between emulation, translation, and online streaming.

Take Care.

I guess this would be kind of cool. I have a PS2 in the closet, along with a box full of PS2 games... I'm not sure this would entice me to bring out old Final Fantasy discs though...

I hope for more PS3/PS4 crossovers, I'm mad that I can't play my ps3 games on it, there are a few games in the PS Store that carry over if you buy it for the Ps3 but not many

Useless for me. If I cannot play all of my discs via the console I have 0 interest in this. Extremely disappointed that the PS4 is not backwards compatable with the previous 3 PlayStations. I would have paid extra to have this feature included but now I will not be buying a PS4 anytime soon.

Commenting is disabled on this article.