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Backwards compatibility, the white whale that appeared to elude Sony for years, even in the latest evolution of the PlayStation, has finally been speared through the heart by PS5 lead system architect Mark Cerny, according to this patent. Somehow I remember the ending of Moby Dick going differently.
While Microsoft ensure that Xbox players are able to jump into any and all of their beloved games from generations gone by, Sony hasn't had the same focus. Yes, there is PlayStation Now, offering the original Destroy All Humans! and its sequel, the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, BioShock and other classics, but it's not got the enviable range that Xbox Game Pass possesses. To hammer this point home, there are just 21 PS2 games on PS Now.
Yet, this concept that has popped up on the United States Patent and Trademark Office seems to suggest that these dark days will come to a close. On January 6th, the patent was filed "backward compatibility through use of spoof clock and fine grain frequency control." I will not pretend to know precisely what that means. However, it will "[determine] whether an application loaded on a current version of a system is for the current version of the system or a less powerful version of the system."
Here is our collection of the cream of the crop of PS2 titles - did your favourites make the cut?
Consequently, the console will be able to "[run] the application at a second clock frequency when the application is designed for a different version of the system, wherein the different version of the system is characterized by a different standard clock frequency." If successful, this would roll out to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 the form of an update as there is no component inside either product that is dedicated to the emulation of older games.
Reading all of that, it's clear to me that I need a coffee. That's not to diminish the possibilities of finally playing the original versions of classics like Syphon Filter, Wipeout, Silent Hill and more. We'll have to hold our horses for now but the existence of this patent is optimistic news.
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