Update: Sony isn't ready to talk about its PS2 game emulation, but it is working on it.
Sony sent us this official comment: "We are working on utilizing PS2 emulation technology to bring PS2 games forward to the current generation. We have nothing further to comment at this point in time."
Original Story: The Star Wars Battlefront PS4 hardware bundle launched a few days ago, giving players a Darth Vader-emblazoned console, a specially colored controller, and a copy of the game. It also included a voucher to download several older Star Wars games, perhaps inadvertently opening a window to Sony’s future emulation plans.
Digital Foundry noticed that several of those retro games – Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, Star Wars: Racer Revenge, Star Wars: Bounty Hunter – are running via emulation. That’s of particular interest to fans of the PlayStation 2 era, since the PlayStation 4 hasn’t supported emulation from that generation or the original PlayStation.
Wired got an official statement from Sony, which confirmed the news but declined to elaborate further at this time.
There’s no word yet on what exactly this means for PlayStation 4, however, it’s unlikely that the company is going the same route as Microsoft. Sony already has its own PlayStation Now subscription service in place, and it wouldn’t make sense to devalue it by allowing consumers to access older games by popping them into their consoles. Instead, it’s likely that players will be able to eventually stream select PS2 games on the service or purchase downloads for older games via the PlayStation Store.
I like the idea of backward compatibility more than I do the idea of actually sitting down and playing older games, especially since my backlog of current titles doesn’t seem to be shrinking. It’s always nice to have options though, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Sony applied cross-buy ownership or promotional pricing for people who have already purchased PS2 classics on their PS3s.