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PS3's Smart Back-Compat, PS4 Doesn't Play Discs 164

Good news for Sony fans looking forward to the PS3. Eurogamer reports that the system will feature backwards compatibility with memory cards as well as games. From the article: "An update to Sony's PlayStation 3 website has revealed that you will be able to use older PlayStation memory cards with PlayStation 3 - providing you buy an adapter. An entry in the official PS3 FAQ states: 'To use saved data on a PlayStation 2 memory card, you must copy the data onto a virtual memory card within the hard disk.'" Microsoft could have really used something like that for the Xbox/360 switchover. Relatedly, Sony is looking ahead ... way ahead, even to their next console. Wired has a piece looking at the future of downloads in the games industry. From that article: "Microsoft is releasing an HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360. Both companies are even touting the ability of these new discs to play movies in even higher hi-def. That struggle, however, is ultimately meaningless. 'I'd be amazed if the PlayStation 4 has a physical disc drive,' [Sony's Phil] Harrison says."
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PS3's Smart Back-Compat, PS4 Doesn't Play Discs

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  • by VJ42 ( 860241 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @12:26PM (#15859918)
    If it wasn't for the £500 ($800) price tag, I might consider getting one; I've had good use out of my brothers PS2, and a feature like this sounds great. I hope that Nintendo and Microsoft are watching as I havn't bought a Next-Gen console yet, and this can only be good for compitition.
    • by Volante3192 ( 953645 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @12:34PM (#15859979)
      Well, the Nintendo Wii is already backwards compatable with the GameCube in software and hardware, will include 4 ports for GC controllers, have slots for 2 GC memory cards...

      plus have the ability to download and play older games, so I don't see why Nintendo should bother looking. In fact, you don't need an adapter to use the GC memory cards (like you do PS2 memory cards apparently), so this appears to be more of Sony looking at Nintendo than vice versa.
      • That's cool I knew it was compatable with GC controllers, but I had no idea about it being compatable with GC memory cards. Unfortunatly I didn't ever own or have a GC, but I'm certainly looking into buying the Wii as my first console since my Sega Mega Drive\Genisis (I live in the UK) aside from my DS.

        Now if only somone could invent a device to allow me to transfer my saved games from my brothers PS2 to the Wii...
      • with all or indeed any previous nintendo game console? Oh wait, it isn't. Neither is the Wii compatible with anything but the gamecube. Or is nintendo going to accept my catridges and give me a free download instead?

        Hate Sony all you want but they are the only console maker to really make their next generation console capable of playing previous generations. Granted it is far fewer generations and they didn't have a media shift but still.

        I think this time it is definitly Nintendo who is the one doing the

        • by Anonymous Coward
          "they are the only console maker to really make their next generation console capable of playing previous generations"

          -except for Atari, and Nintendo's Gameboys, and Sega Genesis powerconverter...
          • Not only that, but the GameCube was the first Nintendo console to use an optical disc format as opposed to cartridges. What were they supposed to do, hack three cartridge ports into the GameCube so it would have full backwards compatibility with their previous generations of console?


            So you can look at it this way too: both Sony and Nintendo have opted for full backwards compatibility in each generation of their home consoles that utilize CD/DVD technology.

        • The Gameboy line was always backwords compatible until the Micro came out.

          As far as Consoles go; Atari [wikipedia.org], Did it first.

          • As far as Consoles go; Atari, Did it first.

            Well, the Intellivision was backwards-compatible with Atari VCS games first, via an add-on unit. So were the Colecovision and Atari 5200. The 7800 may have been the first console to support a previous-generation console's cartridge library right out of the box -- a feature that up until this generation has only been duplicated by the Gameboys Color and Advance, PlayStation 2, and the Nintendo DS.
            • Well, the Intellivision was backwards-compatible with Atari VCS games first, via an add-on unit.

              All of those add-ons (for the Intellivision, the Colecovision, and the 5200) were literally the Atari 2600 hardware (or a copy of it) in a box that used the power input and video output of the console they connected to. AFAIK all of them even had seperate joystick ports, so you had to have 2600 joysticks too, in addition to the ones for the main console (although with the Colecovision you could swap over the Cole
            • Note that the Sega Genesis contained a Z80 chip for the purposes of a) doing sound processing for Genesis games, and b) providing backwards compatibility for Sega Master System games, much like the PS2 contains a PS1-onna-chip. You required a physical adaptor to take the Master System carts/cards, but it did nothing but the physical conversion.

              • Also the Game Gear was essentially a Master System. There was a physical adapter the allowed Master system game to to be played on the Game Gear. The Sega Nomad was cooler, It was a Sega Genesis in a poratable size. Same screen as the Game Gear but it had a plug for a Genesis controller and a Tv output. If you can find a Sega CDX grab it, it has a CD player sized Sega Genesis CD with 2 controller plugs, cartridge slot , and TV output, It could also play CDs from Batteries.
        • "with all or indeed any previous nintendo game console? Oh wait, it isn't. Neither is the Wii compatible with anything but the gamecube. Or is nintendo going to accept my catridges and give me a free download instead?

          Hate Sony all you want but they are the only console maker to really make their next generation console capable of playing previous generations. Granted it is far fewer generations and they didn't have a media shift but still. "

          I either have the previous generations or don't give a shit. I'm by
  • That's all well and good and exciting. I like the idea of pure digital delivery in some ways. (though I also long for the day of elaborate packaging and pack-ins like the old Wing Commander games had)

    But what's this going to do for retail support? EB, Gamestop, Best Buy, WalMart, etc. They make nothing on consoles, and make their money on the games. Just like the Console manufacturers themselves often do. What's the incentive for retailers to carry a product they make no money on, that gives them no f
    • Re:Retail support (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 91degrees ( 207121 )
      But what's this going to do for retail support? EB, Gamestop, Best Buy, WalMart, etc. They make nothing on consoles, and make their money on the games. Just like the Console manufacturers themselves often do. What's the incentive for retailers to carry a product they make no money on, that gives them no future rev stream either?

      None whatsoever. So the manufacturers will have to give them higher margins.
    • Re:Retail support (Score:5, Insightful)

      by andrewman327 ( 635952 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @12:47PM (#15860072) Homepage Journal
      I am a twenty year old console gamer. I actually prefer having a physical medium on which the game code resides. I have had too many problems with hard drive failures, damaged systems, etc. to trust the system to hold all of my games. And what if I like to share? I do not want to have to lug my PS4 to my friend's house and hook it up just because my copy of Tony Hawk: Ripping it up in the Nursing Home is bound to my system's serial number. I smell DRM in this, and I do not like it.
      • and I'm a 30 year old console collector....

        Theres no way I'm going to move to a primarly online based subscription service.
        • Come on, at the low low rate of just $1 per month, Duck Hunt would have only cost you $150 by now! How can you afford to pass that up?
      • by LKM ( 227954 )

        I agree. If it's supercheap, I could possibly live with it. I'd pay a few bucks for Super Mario Bros on the Wii, for example. But I would never buy a game for 20 bucks or more if I couldn't burn it to a CD myself. I don't want to pay 50 bucks for a new PS4 game which then gets "attached" to my console. The reason is simple:

        I own a VCS 2600. I still play it from time to time. All my old games still work. If it breaks, I buy another 2600 from eBay. I can go to a flea market and buy old 2600 games, even thoug

    • Do the manufacturers need the retailers? I've gotten used to the idea that many products are not available in retail stores. They get shipped directly from the manufacturer or some big warehouse and distribution center.
    • Hah, it'll be interesting to see how enthusiastically people will download gigabytes upon gigabytes of data with their crazy fast 512/512 pipes! It's not like everyone in the developed world is surfing with some insanely fast connection that can download full games in a matter of hours. In Finland, even 2048/512 is too expensive for me, and I doubt the situation is going to get any better.
  • PS4? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Metasquares ( 555685 ) <[slashdot] [at] [metasquared.com]> on Monday August 07, 2006 @12:29PM (#15859931) Homepage
    I doubt the PS4 will exist if Sony doesn't concentrate more on making the PS3 more appealing.
    • Re:PS4? (Score:5, Funny)

      by jizziknight ( 976750 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @12:54PM (#15860123)
      Perhaps that's what Phil Harrison is getting at. The PS4 won't have a physical disc drive because the PS4 won't be physical itself.
      • The PS4 won't have a physical disc drive because the PS4 won't be physical itself.
        Not physical? What do you mean? Seems like you know something I dont know...
      • Reminds me of the PS2 commercial where they advertised the PS9, beaming everything to your brain (foreshadowing of one of their later patents?) which theoretically, if it could be done, would include the game save data.
  • "Microsoft could have really used something like that for the Xbox/360 switchover." It's hard to say how much good an adapter for xbox memory cards would have done, though. Many xbox games won't allow you to transfer saves to a memory card and given that no game (that I know of) required one, a much smaller percentage of owners had them. There's nothing to say that MS couldn't still release software to allow users to transfer saves from one xbox to another or from an xbox to a 360, though.
    • "There's nothing to say that MS couldn't still release software to allow users to transfer saves from one xbox to another or from an xbox to a 360, though."

      The smart way would have been to do this transfer through live. Upload from your old Xbox, download to your new 360.
    • Nah. What Microsoft should have done is made a kit simular to those 'PC Relocator' programs where you could network the old Xbox with the 360 to transfer the contents of the hard drive to the new machine.
  • by Gothic_Walrus ( 692125 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @12:31PM (#15859953) Journal
    'I'd be amazed if the PlayStation 4 has a physical disc drive,' [Sony's Phil] Harrison says.

    Considering the reaction to the PS3 thus far, I don't think it's safe to make ANY predictions about the PS4. There will almost definitely be one, yes, but who knows what Sony will have to do to make it successful?

    Actually, scratch that - it's an idiotic idea. No longevity once Sony moves on to a new console, no physical ownership, no used games market to help make the hobby more affordable...and there's that fact that broadband still isn't widespread enough or fast enough to support the massive game downloads that this generation of consoles, let alone the next one, is going to demand.

    Something tells me that, if Sony eliminates the disc drive, it'll be an even bigger blunder than anything they've done to date.
    • Remember they want the PS3 to last for at least 10years. Now, I'm not sure if Sony has meant they weren't going to do PS4 for 10years, or if they want PS3 games to be developed as long as PS1 games were developed.

      But I'm sure Phil is talking out of his butt. Or I hope so. I have no intention of relying on an internet connection to play games. Either to download or verify ownership. It would be nice to see manucaturers move away from disc-type media and back on to solid state RAM/ROM. Just for the sak

      • I have no intention of relying on an internet connection to play games. Either to download or verify ownership.

        I take it you don't play any Valve games then, eh?

        • I don't. I've been looking forward to HL2 for a long time, but they still haven't released a non-tethered version.

          Still waiting...

        • Man, I was on the fence about Steam for quite a while. I bought HL2, I played it, I played a little CS:Source. Now? I'll occasionally consider installing HL2 to give it another play-through, but then I always decide that it's just not worth the time that my computer will be occupied downloading and decrypting shit.

          Worse for Valve? I'd like to play Episode I, but I've put off buying it, because I've got unpleasant memories of large downloads and inconveniently-timed, seemingly-pointless Steam updates. A
        • Nope. I never bough HLII because of Steam. I had a chance to play it at a friend's house a few times and after waiting for the annoying software updates, and installing them... I lost complete interest in the game.

          Not long ago he upgraded his computer and reinstalled it and assured me that everything was fine, but it still took a few minutes to get to it. Absolutely zero reason for me to own this. And the same amount of desire.

          I've been tempted to own games that go online in the past. I've got WoW on

      • by powerlord ( 28156 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @01:39PM (#15860437) Journal
        Considering I can buy a 2GB flash drive for ~50$ (on sale now at Best Buy) [bestbuy.com], I don't see why the 'next gen' media couldn't be solid state again. Assuming the trend continues, the price in bulk might be competitive enough to make it happen.

        They also could use something akin to Sony's MagicGate (tm) format, where the data is encrypted in the drive itself, except that the content is somehow tied to a TPM chip in the PS4. This would give them the advantage of a solid state memory design, combined with tying it to their platform and "securing" the data from piracy. I would be surprised if I'm the first to think of this.

        The only reason, I think, that consoles moved to optical media was because of the density increase and price to produce. If solid state memory improves enough and is cheap enough I see no reason to think colsole manufacturers wouldn't jump back to making carts.

        I just hope they throw in an add-on Optical Drive so we can play our PS1/2/3 games/movies on there as well.
        • No matter what the bulk price becomes, it will never be as low as a 50 cent piece of plastic. That's the reason why nobody will probably ever go back to solid state on home consoles.
          • You are probably right about the cost vs. disc media, but, consider that the new generation of consoles seems to be trying to ween users from low game prices, and also that locking the game data behind TPM and DRM (even if its locked to 'just work on our consoles', its still technically DRM), might be inticing enough to console makers ... if they believe it will cut down on pirated media ... that they might go for it anyway, at the expense of some profit (laugh), okay, they might just pass along the cost to
        • They also could use something akin to Sony's MagicGate (tm) format, where the data is encrypted in the drive itself, except that the content is somehow tied to a TPM chip in the PS4. This would give them the advantage of a solid state memory design, combined with tying it to their platform and "securing" the data from piracy.

          It would also give them the disadvantage of people not buying it because they can't take their copy of Halo 3000 to a friend's place for a few matches. They can't sell their used gam

  • The title of this story implies that it's a known fact that the PS4 won't use discs. "The end of the disc" is inevitable, but how does anybody know it will happen in the PS4 era?
    • It could definitely happen by the time the "PS4" is released. That's, what, at least 5 years down the road?

      Between high-speed internet connections and the ever-decreasing cost of high-capacity flash RAM, it's absolutely conceivable that "disks" won't be the primary *portable and removeable* storage medium in the not-too-distant future.

      Man, that would be nice. Discs are a pain in the ass, and they aren't very durable. Of course, many of those problems could be solved if they simply put the disks into some k
      • Between high-speed internet connections and the ever-decreasing cost of high-capacity flash RAM, it's absolutely conceivable that "disks" won't be the primary *portable and removeable* storage medium in the not-too-distant future.

        Sony's big push in this console generation is that your 4-9GB DVD discs aren't sufficient anymore, you need to 25-50GB capacity of BluRay in order to experience gaming to its fullest.

        Currently, a fair price for Flash RAM is around $24/GB. Assuming that the cost per gigabyte halves
  • by ciw42 ( 820892 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @12:38PM (#15860007)
    ....to find some good news when they're making a big thing about being able to your old PS2 memory cards. Especially when you consider that you need to buy an adapter, and that you can't use the data on the card as such, only a virtual version of it copied to the machine's HD. Therefore what this *actually* means that you in fact *can't* use your old cards, you can only convert the data, assuming you're prepared to shell out for another piece of optional hardware, and I dread to think how much these adapters are going to cost.

    This is hardly a major positive for the PS3, but they're trying desperately to dressing it up as one.

    If you've got a memory card with game data on, then I'd say it's more than a little likely that you've also got a PS2. Why not just save yourself the effort (and additional cost) and run your old saved games on that?
    • PS2 consoles break (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tepples ( 727027 )

      If you've got a memory card with game data on, then I'd say it's more than a little likely that you've also got a PS2.

      Did you mean "you've also got a PS2", or did you mean "you've also got a working PS2"? Remember that Sony consoles tend to break down more often than Nintendo consoles, especially in the first twelve months after launch of a console.

      Why not just save yourself the effort (and additional cost) and run your old saved games on that?

      Because I bought a PS3 to replace my broken PS2 (and to pl

      • I don't know about you, but I've still got a working PSX (And it was hardly treated nice... It was the early model where the disk swap still worked, and I did the disk swap many times until I finally got a mod chip) and my early run PS2 still works quite nicely as well.

        I'm not claiming yours did not break, for I have to take you at your word that it did. I just think you might be being a little harsh on the hardware by projecting yours breaking onto other people and therefore seeing a trend that they "ten
        • To add to your anecdotal evidence, both of my PS2s still work, one from launch day, and one from three days before the official release of the new slim model. They are both model numbers that are 'notorious' for breaking, and they both have several hundred hours of play time on them.

          My first two GameCubes can't read discs anymore. (But my original NES and SNES both still work with occational cartridge slot cleaning).
    • There are over 100 million PS2's in existence today. Do you not think many of them would like to be able to use existing save games playing older PS2 titles on the PS3? How can you claim backwards compatibility without support the save games a user might also have.

      This was a major point of concern for me I had seen no information on, a very practical matter that every PS2 owner would care a lot more about than any squabble over Blu-Ray succeeding as a movie format. I guess you've forgotten the PS3 is pri
    • What about people who have a slim PS2 or a network adapter? If both machines are online, couldn't you just copy the 8MB of saved games over the internet from one machine to another? Release a transfer disc for the PS2 and everyone saves money.
  • Let me get this straight...for $500 i get the base PS3. For $600 i get the "upgraded" model and STILL can't import older PS2 game files without buying an adapter. How much is sony going to charge for that? $50 for the basic curcuit board and $60 for the full model with plastic casing.
    • Nowhere does the $600 model have to enter the equation. Get the $500 model and the $5 (or whatever it may be) adaptor to transfer data to the other system

      What makes you think you'll not be able to transfer data to the $500 model?
  • No Discs... (Score:3, Funny)

    by thebdj ( 768618 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @12:46PM (#15860062) Journal
    Where have I heard this [wikipedia.org] before? You know this sounds really familiar...I swear...this has been talked about before [wikipedia.org]...Hm, maybe I am just confused...
  • by Blimey85 ( 609949 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @12:52PM (#15860105)
    I can understand Sony wanting to move to a diskless system. That should help with piracy and a lot of other issues however they forgot one huge thing which is backwards compatibility. The reason I bought a PS2 right after it came out was that it could play all of my PS1 games and it had a dvd drive. The reason I'm wanting a PS3 right when it comes out is that it can play all of my PS2 games and it has a BluRay drive. The reason I won't be buying a PS4 is that it can't play my old games (unless of course they do what Nintendo is doing and release them all online but that's for a fee... why should I pay to dl games I already own) and won't have some spiffy new drive. For a while my PS2 was my only dvd player and I expect my PS3 to be my only BluRay drive for quite some time.

    I think Sony should focus on making a cheaper console when it comes time to design the PS4. I think Nintendo will do quite well with the WII partly because it's the cheapest and partly because of the access to old games. Old games aren't as much fun as they were when we first got them but a lot of them still have many hours of fun left in them. Sony and Nintendo both seem to understand this, although this is the first time that Nintendo has offered anything like this. Sony knew backwards compat was important with the PS2. It's a damn shame MS missed the boat on this. I know the 360 is somewhat compat but I've heard everything from some games don't work at all to they all work great so I don't know who to believe. I have a lot of XBox games but they weren't all mainstream games that were uber popular so I've no idea if they will work. I never had a problem with any of my PS1 games in my PS2. Here's hoping the PS3 doesn't dissapoint in that area.

    • I can understand Sony wanting to move to a diskless system.

      Mod me off topic, but for some reason I read that as "I can understand Sony wanting to move to a dickless system."

      And to keep this from being totally off topic... you mention that this is the first time Nintendo has offered any sort of backward compatibility. Maybe with consoles, but the new GameBoys have almost always been able to play old GameBoy titles. My GBA can play every single one of my old original GameBoy carts.

    • he reason I won't be buying a PS4 is that it can't play my old games (unless of course they do what Nintendo is doing and release them all online but that's for a fee... why should I pay to dl games I already own) and won't have some spiffy new drive.

      My understanding is that the Wii will offer an external unit to provide GameCube compatibility. ... why couldn't a (theoretical) disk-less PS4 offer an add-on Optical Drive? (for backward compatibility or for viewing movies?)

      • I think you're mixing specs. The current known specs are that the slot feed drive is specially designed to take Gamecube discs in addition to standard CDs/DVDs, and that the console comes with Gamecube controller ports and memory card slots on the unit itself, for no other purpose than playing Gamecube games.

        The only external connectivity is wireless connectivity which allows the Nintendo DS to be used with some games.
  • What if... the distribution medium isnt' online, but... solid state? 10 years ought to be enough dev time on that tech..
    • Re:No disc drive..? (Score:3, Informative)

      by |/|/||| ( 179020 )
      Yes! I would personally love to go back to cartridges. Faster loads, lower power consumption, more durable... too bad they're more expensive to produce, but it's hard to compete with the economy of stamping discs.

  • by mrscorpio ( 265337 ) <twoheadedboy@sto ... m ['nep' in gap]> on Monday August 07, 2006 @01:24PM (#15860307)
    You just made my decision for me - I will never buy anything associated with Blu-Ray, as you have just indicated that it is a stop-gap for a diskless content delivery system in approx. 5 years but no more than 10.

    I guess I'll just hold on to my "plain old" DVD's and non-HD TV until then, or show patronage to another company's products/standards.
    • Sony has stated before they want the console to last ten years, so you'll not see a new console with a new format before then.

      However that still does not render Blu-Ray as a movie medium obsolete as if everything goes diskless you'll just be able to load your movies into storage - Blu-Ray is just a container.
      • The only systems I know of that lasted 10 years were the Atari 2600 and original NES. It just doesn't work that way anymore.
        • The PS2 will have gone for about six by the time the PS3 launches, and Sony has stated they want this round to last longer. There is no reason to think they will not do so, that's why it's expensive to start.

          I guess it does work that way anymore.
      • Re:Ten years (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Snowmit ( 704081 )
        Sony has stated before they want the console to last ten years, so you'll not see a new console with a new format before then.

        The PSone lasted ten years in the sense that they were still selling it (and are still selling it?) 10 years after the 1st Playstation became available and at the same time that the PS2 was also in stores. I'm sure that the PS2 err PStwo will still be selling 5 years from now in stores and that when the PS4 comes out, they will still be selling the PSthree.

        The PS3 may be "futureproof
        • Or maybe it will be like the Geforce 3 which was superceded in no time at all, while the Geforce 2 lived on for a number of years. ;)
        • The PS3 may be "futureproof" but I promise you that it's not futureproof enough to compete with whatever Nintendo and Microsoft will build and release 4-7 years from now.

          I'm not sure about that, the PS2 is apparently still outselling the 360 month to month - even in the US, the 360's strongest market.

          Good point about the PSOne selling well into the current model market, I think they are still selling it. I wonder if we will see a PSTwo in the same way.
          • the PS2 is apparently still outselling the 360 month to month

            As the PS1 did to the PS2 for the first year or so. I imagine the PS2 will outsell the PS3 for a while too. It is a lot cheaper after all.

            As more games get released for the next-gen systems, more people upgrade to HDTVs that show them off better, and developers get more comfortable with the new hardware, PS2 sales will decline, as the PS1's did. But given the price difference, it's entirely likely that PS2s will continue to sell in small num

    • You might as well stop buying regular DVD's.

      After all, that Blu-Ray disk is just an improved version of this DVD, which is just a stop-gap device for a diskless content delivery system.

  • How will they distribute the rootkits?
  • I thought I heard the PS4's codename was something like 'Phantom'.

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