Sony patents Cell-based Emotion Engine emulation

Tuesday, 30th June 2009 10:34 GMT By Patrick Garratt


Sony’s patented an Emotion Engine emulation system for PS3′s Cell processor.

Meaning? That PS3 could play PS2 games without any hardware changes, in theory.

Get details and diagrams from SiliconEra.

What? PS3 price cut, Firmware 3.0, PS3Slim and PS2 emulation all before the end of the year? What’s that?

Thanks Robo_1 and Blerk.



  1. Blerk

    It might not be as promising as it sounds. The PS3s with the ‘software’ version of PS2 compatibility already had Emotion Engine emulated entirely in software. Unfortunately it’s the PS2′s graphics synthesiser chip which is difficult for them to successfully emulate – the very chip they removed from the motherboards in order to cut costs.

    Unless they can come up for a solution for that, PS2 emulation’s probably going nowhere fast.

    That said… they must be kicking themselves that FFVII can sell 100,000 copies and they can’t flog you FFX. I’d be amazed if they weren’t trying to come up with a solution for individual titles.

    #1 6 years ago
  2. mart

    Blerk, perhaps you can help me to understand this. If they’ve already successfully emulated the PS2 in software before, why can’t they deploy that system now?

    Edit: Oh I guess you answered my question, I didn’t read your post properly. The software emulation was EE only, and they still had the graphics chip onboard?

    #2 6 years ago
  3. Robo_1

    There’s a PS2 developer on Rllmuk who is currently investigating PS3 development, who seems convinced that it’s all possible, providing they keep everything on the Cell. He says that would eliminate the bandwidth issues which many cite as one of the biggest technical hurdles of PS2 emulation.

    You can find the original comments at:

    I love reading developers thoughts though :)

    #3 6 years ago
  4. Razor

    I don’t think the GS was on the PS3 mobo with the software emulation was it?

    It was all entirely software emulation wasn’t it? It was the HDD that had all the software emulation.

    I thought the main reason it was difficult was not because of the GS but because the PS3 doesn’t have a EDRAM chip that could be used like the DRAM chip on the PS2.

    #4 6 years ago
  5. Phoenixblight

    I hope this is a sign to what the new gen buyers have been whinning about to finally get it.

    #5 6 years ago
  6. Blerk

    There were originally two PS2 chips on the PS3 motherboard – an EE and a GS. When they changed it to ‘software’ emulation they removed the EE but (crucially) the GS remained. It wasn’t all software. Once they removed the GS in the next revision there was effectively nowhere for PS2 emulation to go because they didn’t have a software equivalent for the GS. That’s why PS2 compatibility disappeared, they didn’t do it just to be mean.

    I’m sure it is possible to get a software-only GS emulator running, Robo. I guess the trick is getting it running at sufficient speed. If that’s the case, tailoring it to specific games would be much easier than trying to come up with a ‘one size fits all’ solution.

    #6 6 years ago
  7. Zarckan

    “Going for gold!”

    #7 6 years ago
  8. dirigiblebill

    All well and good, but what’s the betting they’ll excuse themselves out of a price cut on this count? :p

    #8 6 years ago
  9. Psychotext

    @Blerk: Yeah, that’s right. It’s surprising how much confusion there still is regarding the “software” emulation.

    #9 6 years ago
  10. Phoenixblight

    I would be happy if I could play GoW, FFX, KH 1 and 2 and ofcourse my Shin Megami games.

    #10 6 years ago
  11. Blerk

    I have a sneaky suspicion that any forthcoming PS2-compatibility stuff will purely be for playing downloaded purchases. i.e. not your existing discs.

    #11 6 years ago
  12. Retroid

    Sony seemed to like promoting the idea that it was software-only in the Euro 60gb models, hence the disbelief when the runours of the 40gb sans PS2 BC first surfaced; after all, why remove software?!

    Listening to the 1up podcast was verrrrrry interesting around that time! :D

    #12 6 years ago
  13. JonFE

    There are certain PS2 games I would love to play on my BC-less PS3, because I never had the chance before (namely Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, MGS3 and both Gods of War).

    While I still think stripping BC from the PS3 was a kick in the teeth to consumers, after Sony executives shouting through the roof about it when it was announced, reinstating it through an efficient, all-software solution certainly makes sense, even if they plan to offer PS2 games as downloads (testing the waters for a future console with no optical drive, a-la PSP Go).

    #13 6 years ago
  14. No_PUDding

    If that were the case Blerk, it’s literally just a port of every single game, which is a waste of time.

    Especially with the size of the library, you’d never get through it.

    I hope they come up with an alternative for those idiots who don’t have BC PS3′s. And if mine ever blows up, which will probably happen, becuase I am a pessimist, and I don’t want to jinx it by being optimistic.

    #14 6 years ago
  15. Phoenixblight

    @No Pudding Xbox live has a lot of Original Xbox games on their Marketplace how is that any different then sony doing theirs? Those hold a lot of info too, newer technology too.

    #15 6 years ago
  16. rainer

    Every site seems to be jumping to conclusion that backwards compatibility emulation is coming as Blerk pointed out I also doubt this is the case.

    PS3 CPU emulated PS2 CPU but the PS2 GPU was still present in the system which gave it partial backwards compatibility, first PS3′s had a full PS2 built into the system. This is just a patent covering the CPU emulation.

    The bigger problem is the PS2 graphic synthesizer [GS] it does not map well to conventional modern GPU’s and is a bit of an odd duck compared to the GeForce 7 GPU in the PS3.

    Anyone who has used PCSX2 (PC PS2 emulator) knows that a general purpose emulator is very difficult if impossible to make, it really has to be done on a per title basis.

    So unless Sony is planning remakes like Ratchet & Clank HD, Sly Cooper HD ,God of War HD etc that sell as digital downloads its very unlikely.

    Phoenixblight the xbox and xbox 360 although different hardware from different companies are still closer architecturally than the PS2 compared to the PS3 this allowed MS to port over its Xbox games without too much difficulty.

    #16 6 years ago
  17. Psychotext

    “(I’m only kidding, by the way… But this is great news!)”

    But it appears to be what we already had… the CELL emulating the PS2 CPU. At least until someone cleverer than me can make sense of the patent application. ;)

    #17 6 years ago
  18. Blerk

    Why would they ever port ‘every single game’ though, Pud? They only want to do the best of the best – nobody’s going to want to buy all those old Army Men games again, are they?

    They wouldn’t want to flood the market with hundreds of old games and drag people away from real PS3 stuff, they’d want to use downloadable Ico and SotC as marketing opportunities to get people interested in The Last Guardian. Yes?

    #18 6 years ago
  19. Blerk


    What if….. they put the GS chip back into the slim?

    Costs are down, redesign the hardware to save even more… it could now be affordable to put it back. You can flog those new people downloadable PS2 games, and you encourage people who bought PS3 fatties to trade in and buy a slimline.

    #19 6 years ago
  20. Michael O'Connor

    Once the PS2 finally dies, Sony would be crazy not to cash in on providing PS2 titles on the PlayStation Store. Probably would probably go nuts for some of those titles.

    Can’t see it happening for a while yet though.

    #20 6 years ago
  21. El_MUERkO

    if they get full software emulation of the PS2 going they can also make a tonne of cash selling God of War 1 & 2 to people prior to the God of War 3 launch :D

    #21 6 years ago
  22. freedoms_stain

    Wake me up when they release official console emulators for PC.

    We all know it’s possible, get it done.

    #22 6 years ago
  23. Phoenixblight

    @ Blerk


    What if….. they put the GS chip back into the slim?”

    What would be the point of that emuation patent then?

    #23 6 years ago
  24. theevilaires

    lol phoenix you have to excuse blerks craziness. he gets excited over things he doesn’t (can’t) own :P

    #24 6 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.