PS3 games still play fine to me but the console itself feels ancient. A case for backwards compatibility.

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bigsocrates

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Edited By bigsocrates

I've been playing a lot of PS3 lately, specifically making my way through the Ratchet & Clank series but not just that, and I think the games hold up extremely well. I don't mind playing games in 720p and while modern games have more refined controls and other conveniences (like better checkpointing) they really don't feel that different from 7th gen games. I compare something like Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction to modern releases and while the game looks a little soft in places and has camera troubles it holds up pretty well overall. Then you think about games that were released 13 years before R&CF:ToD and you're looking at the SNES. It was the same amount of time between Donkey Kong Country and Tools of Destruction as between Tools of Destruction and today. The pace of game innovation has really slowed down.

On the other hand, while the games still feel relatively modern, using the PS3 interface feels like traveling back to another, much clunkier, time. Set aside the controller, which is bad but was really designed in 1999 not 2006, the ribbon menu system is not nearly as snappy or refined as it is on the PS4. It lacks some basic conveniences we take for granted these days like the ability to suspend games temporarily (sorely missed) and to take screenshots (it would be nice.) If you want to sync your trophies to your online profile it's a lengthy process that generally crashes the trophy system if you have a lot of games. Nothing feels reliable and everything lags.

Even worse is trying to manage your digital games, which can be kind of a nightmare. I wanted to download Ratchet: Deadlocked HD from the PSN store (don't judge me, you've done worse) and it was almost impossible to find it. The game is still for sale but apparently I got a free copy when I bought Full Frontal Assault. This meant that I could look the game up on the store but I could not purchase or download it, and because I got it free I didn't have an email receipt telling me when I got it. I ended up having to scroll through my massive download list on the store to find it, which took like 20 minutes because the download list itself is sluggish and unstable. Everything about that process is a pain and there have been times in the past when the store crashed a lot or booted you off PSN (thankfully it seems more stable these days.)

People are still playing these games. The Truetrophies.com site tracks when members win various trophies, and even on something as obscure as the HD re-release of Ratchet: Deadlocked, people have won the first trophy in the game most days this month. That's just among that site's relatively small userbase (about 75,000 people) so there are probably multiple people downloading that game every day from PSN. It shouldn't be that much of a pain.

Something people don't talk about when they talk about backwards compatibility is not just the ability to play old games that you already bought and are still fun, which is great and important, but also the ability to play them on newer hardware with all the bells and whistles. Xbox 360 games often look and run better on the Xbox One X than they do on original hardware, but even if they don't they're much easier to manage (if they're digital copies). The built in cloud saving functions work better and preserve your saves and make them portable better. The Xbox One controller is better than the 360 pad, so you get that as well (you can use a Dual Shock 4 with the PS3 but there are compatibility issues.) Console interfaces have come a longer way than game design in many ways, including built in streaming and much better digital management, and it would be nice to be able to take advantage of that.

One of the nice things that GoG does when it makes older games work on modern PCs is remove a lot of the pain that went along with getting old games to run on PC. You don't need to worry about IRQ ports or Soundblaster drivers, the games mostly just work, and within a much better environment than those clunky old OSs. For pre-seventh gen consoles that didn't matter very much because they had extremely limited operating systems and you almost always just booted to the game disc unless you needed to manage your memory card. But the PS3 era changed that, with digital game libraries and installations of even disc-based games, and those old archaic systems are a pain to use now. Hopefully the PS5 will be an equal leap over the PS4 in terms of operating system functionality with more reliable suspend features and even better streaming/sharing functions. It would be great to be able to take advantage of those features on older games. And that's before we even talk about how nice it would be to be able to pack up my PS3 and not give real estate to it. The games are still good. It's the system that feels old.

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north6

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I figure this goes without saying, but you said it!

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Slag

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Thank you, thank you for saying this.
Agreed 100%

I don't suspect it matters to a lot of people, but PS3 digital BC is make or break with me with the PS5

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FacelessVixen

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Oh, RPCS3 should be able to pick up the slack eventually. I'll wait until it can play the discs natively though; can't be bothered with ripping the Blu-rays and finding decryption keys for every PS3 game that I own.

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mikewhy

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I would love to be proven wrong here, but I just don't see PS5 getting PS3 backwards compatibility. The direction MS went with Xbox makes it much more possible for them to do (which shouldn't be a surprise, back compat is a major part of MS' bread and butter).

The PS2 is even still difficult to emulate (when it comes to supporting all the doodads we associate with emulating these sorts of things like AF, AA, resolution scaling, etc.).

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Justin258

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It was the same amount of time between Donkey Kong Country and Tools of Destruction as between Tools of Destruction and today. The pace of game innovation has really slowed down.

Better comparison - thirteen years passed between System Shock and Bioshock 1. It's been thirteen years since Bioshock 1. If Bioshock had never released in 2007 and was instead released today, it would probably be met with very positive results. Not 10/10 results, but it would fit in just as well.

the ribbon menu system is not nearly as snappy or refined as it is on the PS4.

This is something that I strongly disagree with, and I don't get to say it all that often because it never gets brought up. The PS3 and PSP Cross Media Bar was a damn near perfect console UI. It used simple icons and text against a minimalist background to get you where you needed to go and fast. I hate the current UIs for the Xbox and PS4 - massive icons and notifications litter the screen, it looks extremely busy, it makes everything horribly difficult to find, and there's no reason to ever implement a theme or anything because you never see it due to all the fucking huge icons everywhere.

...but on the topic of backwards compatibility, yes, Microsoft has done a much better job than Sony on all of this. It's not perfect, you could probably find some things to criticize, but many Xbox and 360 games are flat-out best played on 360. Morrowind, for one, got a huge update to run in higher resolutions and at a higher framerate on the Xbox One.

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ThatRoss

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@justin258: Agree with you, I prefer the old XMB menus quite a bit over PS4.

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fisk0

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#7 fisk0  Moderator

@slag said:

Thank you, thank you for saying this.

Agreed 100%

I don't suspect it matters to a lot of people, but PS3 digital BC is make or break with me with the PS5

Same, I skipped the PS4 because of it, and I'll be skipping the PS5 unless we get some more news on that front soon, there were those rumors that it would be compatible with all previous generations last year, but in the two streams they've done so far they've only talked about PS4 games.

I have a ton of PS3 games and don't have the room for another console unless it actually lets me disconnect a couple of the consoles I already have set up (including the PS2 and PS3).

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bakayoyo

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The problem is that there aren't any PS3 or even PS2 emulators that come close to reproducing an experience of playing the game on original hardware. The Xbox team puts in a lot of work to create versions of older software that run well on their latest architecture. If the PS5 supports PS3 games it will very likely be a streaming solution, and given their history Sony isn't going to grant access to those games based on owning a physical copy. I'm taking good care of my PS3, because I expect to be using it for a long time to come.

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Lego_My_Eggo

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Even worse is trying to manage your digital games, which can be kind of a nightmare. I wanted to download Ratchet: Deadlocked HD from the PSN store (don't judge me, you've done worse) and it was almost impossible to find it. The game is still for sale but apparently I got a free copy when I bought Full Frontal Assault. This meant that I could look the game up on the store but I could not purchase or download it, and because I got it free I didn't have an email receipt telling me when I got it. I ended up having to scroll through my massive download list on the store to find it, which took like 20 minutes because the download list itself is sluggish and unstable. Everything about that process is a pain and there have been times in the past when the store crashed a lot or booted you off PSN (thankfully it seems more stable these days.)

Get PSDLE, it is a massive improvement in managing your PS3 digital games. PSDLE adds search to your download history (still no fuzzy search) and will let you queue it up for download, all in a nice plugin for Firefox and Chrome

I found deadlock fairly easy just searching "ratchet" on the store, it was the first result, but since there is no fuzzy search and the search is not the best sometime just googling the game on PSN is a better option. Because the "&" or "and" in ratchet & clank can really throw off the search (tho it looks like they changed them all to "and" now, i swear it listed them as "&" at some point). The real problem is de-listed games, dragons dogma: dark arisen was a free plus game for PS3, try finding and downloading that now. I stopped using the download list on my PS3 because it would just crash after you scrolled down the list for a bit, so any old games where basically impossible to download from it because they where at the bottom of the list. And the web browser version isn't that great either since it is still just a list. So any de-listed games on the store become a nightmare to find.

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jannywoowoo

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@slag said:

Thank you, thank you for saying this.

Agreed 100%

I don't suspect it matters to a lot of people, but PS3 digital BC is make or break with me with the PS5

What form would be acceptable to you? PS Now is actually pretty good and has the games running on real PS3 hardware but it's streaming-only for PS3 titles. Would access to your own virtual PS3 in the cloud with all your purchases be enough? Minus the games where the soundtrack license has expired of course.

I've been playing some Killzone 3 on PS Now these past few days and it felt lag-free to me. Much better than it used to be.

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As someone that's played a lot of last gen games this year in the remaster or Xbox One X format, turns out playing older games with a modern system interface is really cool.

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navster15

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#12  Edited By navster15

I’m fortunate enough to have the space to have multiple PlayStations hooked up at a time, but dang if it isn’t nice to have my old Xboxes stored away while I can still play 95% of the games I’m interested in in glorious 4K on my 1X. Kotor looks so damn good with the enhancements, and don’t get me started how my Ninja Gaiden disc magically transforms into a whole new game when inside the 1X.

I’ll eventually get both consoles, but as long as Microsoft prices the Series X competitively I’m leaning hard in Redmond’s direction this fall. Cannot wait to see what Gears 5 and Horizon 4 look like with enhancements.

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epgpx

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the cross media bar ui was the simplest of simplest of modern video game system ui designs ever. i never got to experience the xbox 360s "blade" ui but it looked less cluttered and simple compared to its bigger brother, the "nxe"ui which was cluttered and clunky af.

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Slag

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@slag said:

Thank you, thank you for saying this.

Agreed 100%

I don't suspect it matters to a lot of people, but PS3 digital BC is make or break with me with the PS5

What form would be acceptable to you? PS Now is actually pretty good and has the games running on real PS3 hardware but it's streaming-only for PS3 titles. Would access to your own virtual PS3 in the cloud with all your purchases be enough? Minus the games where the soundtrack license has expired of course.

I've been playing some Killzone 3 on PS Now these past few days and it felt lag-free to me. Much better than it used to be.

I'm open to the idea, as long as I don't have to pay a monthly fee to things I've already purchased. Depends on what the offer and implementation ends up being ofc. I can live without all the fancy upgrades XB1 offers their players (modern resolution support etc) tho ofc they'd be nice. Just let me play them somehow.

I understand the likelihood of anything is small and that Cell Architecture isn't easy or cheap to deal with, even now. But this is definitely something they can/could offer if they feel like it. If I have to pay a onetime fee/upcharge for a different version of PS5, so be it. I'd do it.

fwiw I probably have 100+ games through PSN, so my library there is significant.

lack of BC support is why I jumped ship to PC as primary this gen. That stung pretty hard to not have BC support on PS4 after I had put that kinda money into it. I'm not really interested in continuing to support an ecosystem much that doesn't respect my purchases.

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mikewhy

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@epgpx@oddyohI've always thought the PS4's UI was just a tiny change to the old XMB style. Navigation is still primarily left-right, but instead of being limited to a single axis (vertical) when in a category, now we can also move horizontally. The XMB, while incredibly simple and easy to grok, was also pretty limiting, and not a very efficient use of space.

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epgpx

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I agree with your comment on the PS3s digital store game management. The "download list" is pretty bad. Abysmally bad. Its difficult to look up digital games you've purchased in the past, especially when u have to sift through endless free dlc, demos, themes & videos. Sony really didn't think it was necessary to add a search button to that. They used the same system for the PSP and PS Vita i think. Such a shame. I down know if its gotten easier with a PS4 but trying to figure out what games you've bought on the pS3, vita and psp was a pain. That part of the store could have really used a filter option.

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tds418

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MS has really set the gold standard for backwards compatibility this gen. Even the small things are welcome, like not needing to swap disks for multi-disc games or being able to pull up either the XOne or X360 in-game menu. I'm looking forward to picking up a Series X and having my game library filled out with games from the last couple generations on day 1.

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navster15

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#18  Edited By navster15

Heads up to everyone who has issues with the download list and store. You can just go to the store website on any browser and look up any purchased games there. Then, click the option to download to your PS3 and you’re good to go. You can even download Vita games like this and just transfer via usb.

Obviously, your PS3 needs to be up to date with firmware and in sleep mode or on for it to properly work.

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Toparaman

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Yeah, it’s annoying how little Sony has invested into backwards compatibility. There are a lot of little things that are making me consider an Xbox for the first time, especially with Sony’s first party output not really doing it for me. I’m hoping MS’s acquisitions result in some pretty great stuff since I’m not really a Halo/Gears/Forza person. I’d love to use GamePass since I rarely finish games anymore, and would rather just get a taste of everything.

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Shindig

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@bakayoyo said:

The problem is that there aren't any PS3 or even PS2 emulators that come close to reproducing an experience of playing the game on original hardware. The Xbox team puts in a lot of work to create versions of older software that run well on their latest architecture. If the PS5 supports PS3 games it will very likely be a streaming solution, and given their history Sony isn't going to grant access to those games based on owning a physical copy. I'm taking good care of my PS3, because I expect to be using it for a long time to come.

I would argue PCSX2 is about there. I still have to check Black on the latest version, though. Particle effects vs frame rate is a battle for the ages.

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They really need to do what Microsoft is doing by making the previous-gen games playable, and better yet (and why I changed my mind about back-compat once Microsoft started doing it) is enhance those games in some way. I haven't read too much into what they are doing, but the talk of having (perhaps only) the top 100 rated games on PS4 was not a good thing.

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I agree with what you are saying. I'll just say that for the people asking why Sony isn't as big with BC as Microsoft, well Microsoft uses largely lightly modified off the shelf parts. The original Xbox was a Pentium/Geforce combo. The 360 was a PowerPC/Radeon combo, and the Xbox One uses an AMD Jaguar CPU combined with a Radeon GPU. Now getting the Xbox and 360 to work on the One took Microsoft's best engineers over half the generation to figure out. And Pentium and PowerPC emulators already exist. The documentation for them is readily available. And despite that, the emulation on the Xbox One is still among the most difficult features to achieve on the system, and largely involved porting individual engines over to the new system.

Moving from The Xbox One, and indeed the nearly identical PS4 to the Series X and PS5 on the other hand should not be nearly as large an issue as both are still using AMD CPUs and GPUs. While the Ryzen line is vastly different from the Jaguar line, the machine language being used is still compatible. An engine that runs on Jaguar should in theory run on Ryzen without the need for any actual porting at the machine level. So the challenge should be much lower this time around.

But that brings us to the PS3. What makes PS3 uniquely challenging is the Cell CPU. It's SPU structure was and is unlike any other CPU ever designed. And it was supremely powerful at certain tasks, so much so that it could perform some calculations faster than the PS4's Jaguar cores. The system meanwhile had an incredibly underpowered GPU. So games were built to use the SPUs for physics and AI tasks that today are done almost exclusively on the GPU. The challenge of porting this to modern hardware should not be understated. Even with a top of the line Ryzen or Core i9 you would likely be unable to get great performance out of a PS3 game if you tried to keep the CPU tasks on the CPU. Moving them to the GPU meanwhile would lead to a huge number of potential issues involving task management and stack flow that could be resolved, but would be a herculean task, especially for engines like DICE's Frostbyte that made extensive use of the Cell to perform tasks that would otherwise have been impossible on the PS3.

So it's doable, definitely. But the scope of the project would be several orders of magnitude greater than porting PS4 games to the PS5. As far as PS2 games go, you could likely just brute force your way through many of the similar issues by this point, but the CPU on the PS2 was also incredibly unique and powerful in ways that has made the PS2 an absolute nightmare to emulate. Even the PS1 is nowhere near as well emulated and Nintendo and Sega's hardware from the era. It's not really about lack of trying or caring as much as it is the incredible difficulty in doing the emulation.

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Lego_My_Eggo

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#25  Edited By Lego_My_Eggo

@raven10: This is obviously me just speculating, but during The Road to PS5 Cerny gave he did mention the the new Tempest Engine was copying the SPU structure of the PS3 for audio. It could just be because it was really good for audio, but im wondering if that hardware was put in there as a way to help with PS3 emulation.

Since the PS4 was the only PlayStation device to not have any backwards compatibility, even there handheld systems played PS1 games, im really hoping they are going to at least attempt PS1-PS2 games. But the PS3 being what it was im sure will be hard to get going on anything.

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FatDragonQuest

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I genuinely do want to see backwards compatibility for the psx-4, namely for preservation reasons, but somewhat knowing how much a nightmare it is to develop for the ps1-3 makes me feel like it won't happen

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If Sony committed to backwards compatibility the way that Microsoft has, and I don't think they will, I would probably ditch my PC and go back to Playstations. My wife and I are having our first child soon and I've been feeling really sad about the thought trying to teach a kid to use Steam family sharing versus presenting them with a bookcase of games. I have an extremely nice 5.1 sound system and plan on picking up one of those fancy OLED TV's once we buy a house soon but I'm dreading the nightmare of making 5.1 and HDR work with Windows. I think I could trade the 60fps that I've become accustomed to for these things as I'm sure I'd readjust to 30fps sooner or later if I wasn't still seeing 60fps games for comparison. And lately I've been more and more aware of how much time I spend reading about game optimizations, building out and testing front-ends [Launchbox, Playnite, Retroarch, etc.], and modding - it's often felt since moving to PC gaming years ago that I spend more time on these sorts of things than I have actually playing video games. The rare occasions when I dust off the PS4 or Switch feel blissful in a way I didn't appreciate before.

That said, emulation is invaluable to me. Emulation makes me a single-issue voter. My PS1 is [hopefully] somewhere in my dad's attic and the PS4 in my house won't play PS1 games but I'm currently in the middle of a Xenogears playthrough thanks to my PC. I never got around to Xenosaga III back in the day and copies now go for $150+ but I can emulate it. I made a pizza last night and, during the 15 minutes that it spent in the oven, I played 15 minutes of Pro Skater 4. I play far more old games than new [I don't think I've enjoyed a AAA release since...DOOM 2016? And that itself was the first in a long time.] and my PS4 simply can't compete in that area. If I could throw this physical copy of Xenogears I have on my desk into a PS5, though, I'd be listening.

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