Within just 72 hours of the chaotic launch of PlayStation 3, Japanese games enthusiasts have uncovered technical problems with Sony’s latest console.
Sony has been forced to staunch a potential flood of complaints by promising early PS3 customers a software upgrade, downloadable over the internet.
Gamers buying the PS3 after it is launched in the US next week will probably receive software upgrades “secretly” added to the data on games discs.
The trouble centres on the machine’s ability to play games originally designed for the PlayStation and PS2 consoles – a promise vital to early sales of the machine. According to gamers who have tested hundreds of titles in their collections, many PS2 games do not work properly: in some cases the screen freezes at critical moments of action, in others the buttons fail to respond.
Some people reported instances where the background music distorted or the animated characters went haywire.
The problems appear to affect more than 120 games. The claim that the PS3 would seamlessly handle so-called “backwards compatibility” is a key selling point of the machine in its early stages because of the limited range of launch titles on offer, and the high quality of “late generation” games available on the previous console.
Sony executives had previously warned that 100 per cent backwards compatibility would be a complex promise to meet as the technical architecture of the PS3 is so different from its predecessors.
Games industry observers said the problems were unlikely to derail the PS3’s prospects, as the PS2 did not deliver full backwards compatibility and ultimately did not suffer.