A patent filed by Sony in December 2008 suggests that backwards compatibility may return to the PlayStation 3 after having been culled from most models of the PS3 console.
For those not in the know, the PlayStation 3 originally launched with the ability to play PlayStation 2 games off the disc and the 20GB and 60GB models that went on sale in the US and Japan had this feature for the first few months that the console was on sale. The consoles that went on sale in PAL territories such as the UK though were never
able to play PS2 games and Sony then removed the feature from all PS3s on sale when new versions (the 40GB, 80GB and 120GB).
According to the new patent discovered by Siliconera
though, Sony may be looking to reintroduce PlayStation 2 emulation on the PlayStation 3.
Even better, though early PlayStation 3s achieved emulation on the hardware side via a PS2 chip, the new method is a pure software solution and should enable PS2 emulation on all existing PS3s if Sony chooses to enable it.
The bad news is that, even though the patent was filed months ago, Sony still hasn't announced or confirmed any interest in opening PS2 emulation for the PS3 and, as Kotaku
points out, the patent doesn't mean that you'll be able to play PS2 games off a disc. It may instead indicate that Sony is going to start selling PlayStation 2 games on PSN, rather than letting gamers play the games they already have.
How important is backward compatibility to you when you buy a new console? Let us know in the forums