Why Drop PS2 BC


Here a few theories for why Sony is dropping PS2 BC (and other features) on newer PS3 models. Speak up in the comments and vote for which one you think is most likely or add your own theory.

Reduce Production Costs: As seen in Sony’s last financial statement, they are writing off hundreds of millions of dollars on hardware losses. Obviously, they need to sell at a low price point to stay competitive, but they’ve committed to providing some pretty high-end, expensive technology in the PS3. Given that the PS2 BC was at least partially software based, I wouldn’t believe that this would cost too much, but every dollar counts.

Grocery Store Psychology: Grocery stores often sell generic brand and name brand versions of the same basic product. They intentionally make the generic brand look uglier, not because it saves them money on production, but so they keep the price-sensitive shoppers with the generic brand goods and still sell for a higher price to the less price-sensitive shoppers.

Car Dealership Psychology
: Car dealerships often sell a stripped down version of a brand new car for a really low price. They run this price heavily in newspaper circular ads. This gets customers in buying mode and pulls them into the showroom. However, once the consumers realize the features that are missing, they begrudgingly agree to go up in price for the features that they want. The low price model is more of a teaser model to get consumers interested than the model they are actually going to buy.

Push developers to migrate to PS3 titles: Tons of premier 2007 titles are *still* being released for the PS2 rather than the PS3 (Manhunt, Persona 3, Odin Sphere, etc). Pulling BC support would give the developers a push to move to PS3. The counter-argument to this is Sony’s own studios are among the slowest to move. They have highly popular series such as Buzz, SingStar, SOCOM, and God Of War, but the 2007 releases from these series are PS2 only. In 2008, these series will mostly move to PS3, but that’s a pretty slow transition.

Protect PS2 Sales: Sony makes money by selling PS2 hardware and is losing money on PS3 hardware, so pulling BC support would encourage some consumers to buy new PS2 units rather than PS3s. There are two counter-reasons. First, the more PS3s they sell, the lower the price/unit is for them. Sure, they *may* lose more money by selling more PS3s (and we can’t say for sure without seeing internal financial data), but the loss per unit drops as volume increases. Secondly, it’s important for the future of the PlayStation brand to accelerate the PS3 growth and they are clearly willing to make short term sacrifices to achieve this.


Written by: Darrin - Contributing Editor


  1. #1 by Sporty on October 28th, 2007 [ 95 Points ]

    I think the only logical and realistic reason is reducing costs.

    Removing the GS and other PS2 chipsets from the PS3 board came at the same time they moved to 65mn and cut total component count by nearly 2k.

    But we can continue to beat this dead horse till the negative view on the PS3 by casual consumers is engraved. These articles (not just here) are better then any MS viral campaign really.

  2. #2 by Darrin on October 28th, 2007 [ 17143 Points ]

    I’m sorry, I didn’t intend this to be a negative article at all. Could you explain or make a suggestion as to what I could change or update? I really don’t want to come across negative at all.

    Personally, I think the PS3 has the best hardware offering this holiday by a mile. As a fan I’m excited and optimistic. Lots of people don’t care about PS2 BC, and the $400 unit is a great cheap option. The $500 model offers a better value, IMO, but I think the options are great ones.

  3. #3 by MeeToo on October 28th, 2007

    Occam’s razor — To reduce cost.

    If cost is not the issue then, they would have put tons of feature to PS3. But didn’t.

  4. #4 by Sporty on October 28th, 2007 [ 95 Points ]

    Sorry if it seemed like an attack. I didn’t mean it that way

    But following the production changes in the PS3 it seems more obvious to me I guess.

    gamesradar link

    Beginning early this year Sony started plans to reduce the components of the PS3 to reduce manufacturing costs. The 80GB and PAL60GB were the first steps in taking out the Emotion Engine. With the 40GB they removed the GS and all the other PS2 chips, along with reducing the component count in half and moving the Cell to 65nm.

    That cut manufacturing costs quite a bit for Sony, without them they wouldn’t have been able to take $200 of the price. But just like the Xbox Elite, Pro and Arcade, it doesn’t cost Sony another $100 for the GS on the higher model 80GB to make. What it does is put the entry level PS3 within a stone throw away from the 360 Pro. Since the PS3 isn’t stripped down for PS3 games at least and offers more features then the 360 Pro (like larger HDD, Blu-Ray player, WiFi), it isn’t a bad deal. However, just like the 360 Arcade/Core, once people are looking at the system for $399, the PS2 compatibility for $100 more isn’t that bad.

    Similar mentality to what stores use. They get you in the door for a sale price, but you see a better model not too much more, by the time you are ready to buy you have spent more then you expected.

    They really should have kept the 20GB and marketed it as a ‘Core’ entry level system. Hardly anyone bought the 20GB and barely anyone buys the 360 Core. But they give the illusion of a cheaper system.

    The real question is why aren’t they exploring Software emulation for the GS and few hundred chips of the PS2 they removed? I don’t’ see why they aren’t. For all we know they are but it’s not as simple as emulating just the EE. When they had full hardware PS2 compatibility they had nearly all 700 components of the PS2 inside the PS3.

    Sorry again Darrin, I just seems like a lot of the positive PS3 news is often overlooked and sites are still talking about PS2 compatibility as if the price drop isn’t a good thing.

    I mean, Uncharted will be the first PS3 game to have achievements as revealed in the EGM Live podcast last week, but no one talks about that. PS3 is $100 cheaper in a few days but people seem more worried that they lose the ability to play games from a system that costs $100 and most people already own, and it’s not like they can’t get a model that does play them. Or that any other Console can play those same games either.

  5. #5 by Sporty on October 28th, 2007 [ 95 Points ]

    Damn that’s ugly, how do you post links here? I tried html once and it didn’t work.

  6. #6 by bunnyhero on October 28th, 2007 [ 1850 Points ]

    i think all of those reasons seem pretty plausible. and i don’t see this as a negative article at all. in fact, by presenting what look like (to me) decent reasons, i think it’s actually a more positive article than others i’ve read about the dropping of the BC.

    i think it’s possible that pure software BC might show up someday, alongside PS2 downloads in the PSN store… but not until the PS3 has a stronger foothold in the market on its own right.

  7. #7 by liar on October 28th, 2007

    I think it hits all those points to varying levels. A good thing. I think Sporty’s point is more that many articles here come across either as a negative headline or focusing on a negative point rather than focusing on all the incredible positive points of the PS3.

    For example this headline could have been why removing BC is a masterstroke by Sony.. because from all of the reasons listed it is IMO.. unless the media is flooded with articles why it’s a disaster…the stories that MS and their shills in the media are planting as often as they can…I think that is more Sporty’s point or at least how I interpret it.

  8. #8 by Darrin on October 28th, 2007 [ 17143 Points ]

    Hey, look at the last four posts I did that are still on the front page: R&C is glowingly positive (and people have accused me of being a Sony shill for praising R&C too much), Disgaea and Nobi Nobi were positive, and I added some positive analysis to the financial loss of Sony’s gaming division.

    Those posts got 2, 1, 1, 0 comments (excluding mine). This is the only post that got a response. BTW, I don’t own this site, or make a single dime off of this, I just do it for fun and for comments.

    And, I completely agree, that in general, the media is way too negative about the PS3.

    If we’re missing positive stories, speak up! We’re always watching for positive stories, and would love to add more. If you get some good leads, we can write them up, or if you would like to give it a shot and take the time to write it up and get pics/links, I’ll post it for you.

  9. #9 by liar on October 29th, 2007

    Your right..the latest articles have been far more positive. And to be honest I think you’ve generally been more upbeat than Henning overall .. this site does have multiple personalities :) I’ve always assumed it was a closed system. See what I can do.

  10. #10 by Gary on October 29th, 2007 [ 1780 Points ]

    Simple fact is guys, negative PS3 news produces more comments and feedback than positive ones.

    As Darrin has said, his recent ‘positive’ articles have received hardly any comments, compared to his other posts that may have been more ‘negative’ in the past.

    I genuinely believe that this site doesn’t go over the top in it’s praise for the PS3 but when we are disappointed about something we don’t hide it and criticise it when we feel (as individuals) criticism is due.

    Sporty, to use tidy links on here it’s:

  11. #11 by bobeotm on October 29th, 2007

    I definitely think its Grocery Store Psychology. I just saw a new ps3 ad here in the states for Ratchet and Clank and it has the PS3 at the end and the man says “STARTING AT $399″. People like having the option of something cheaper, despite whether they choose it or not.

  12. #12 by johnejohn on November 1st, 2007

    Does anyone know if the 40 Gig will still upconvert regular DVD movies?


You must be logged in to post a comment.

Like trophies? Like giveaways? Want to speak your mind? Register here!