The first versions of the PlayStation 3 to hit shelves will offer complete backwards compatibility with PS2 and PS1 titles by including a version of the PS2 hardware in the system, according to a report in a Japanese technology magazine.
Ultra One magazine is this month reporting that the core chipset of the PS2 will be built into early revisions of the PS3 hardware, thereby providing full emulation of the PlayStation back catalogue.
According to Ultra One, the emulation software which would accomplish the same task without any dedicated hardware, and which GamesIndustry.biz first reported on back in April, will be included in future versions of the PS3 once Sony is satisfied with its ability to fully support the back catalogue.
The move isn't an entirely surprising one; until we uncovered the details of Sony's teams working on software emulation systems, it had been widely expected that the PS2 chipset would be built into the PS3, just as the PS2 itself has a version of the PS1 chipset on board.
Although Sony would undoubtedly prefer the software emulation route to cut costs in the long term, the inclusion of the PS2 hardware in the first revisions of the PS3 is unlikely to hurt the hardware giant significantly - the PS2 itself is now effectively a "system on a chip", with a single low-cost chip package performing all of the functions of the console.
Sony itself has not yet commented on how it plans to achieve backwards compatibility with its PS2 and PS1 catalogues, but the firm has pledged that the PS3 will be able to play all TRC-compliant games at launch - representing the vast majority of the back catalogue.