Key elements of the technology for PlayStation 3 - including the PlayStation Network Platform and the software to enable back-compatibility with PS and PS2 games - are being worked on at Sony's UK studios, GamesIndustry.biz has learned.
Sources at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe have revealed that technology for the PlayStation Network Platform is being developed at Sony's London studio, under the internal name of "PlayStation HUB".
This tallies in with our earlier report about the progress in developing a billing system for the platform with the Royal Bank of Scotland, with testing on that aspect of the network system due to begin next month.
However, as yet it's not clear whether PlayStation HUB is the final name for the system which will be used in the company's marketing, or if a more consumer-friendly name will be chosen before the PS3 launches in November.
Elsewhere in Sony's UK division, other teams are working on the backwards compatibility for the PlayStation 3 - which, one programmer on this project has revealed to GamesIndustry.biz, will be accomplished in software rather than by building the PS2 hardware into the PS3 console, as was the case with the PS2's emulation of the PSone.
Sony has already pledged that all PS2 games which adhered to the company's TRC (technical requirements checklist) will be playable on the PS3 - and according to our source, the software emulation system is progressing well and may indeed meet that lofty goal.
He claimed that a surprising number of PS2 titles are already working on PS3 prototype hardware, and revealed that the emulation tricks being used to mimic the behaviour of the notoriously complex PS2 processors are getting whole swathes of game titles up and running on an ongoing basis.
While our source was positive about the progress being made on backwards compatibility, the team is undoubtedly working under fierce deadline pressures - as if the vast, vast majority of the PS2's software library is not up and running by November, it will be hugely embarrassing for Sony in the wake of the company's frequent touting of compatibility with an existing software library as one of the key features of PS3, and one of its key advantages over the Xbox 360.