When Sony first announced that it would release a cheaper 40GB PlayStation 3 without backward compatibility for the PlayStation 2, questions were asked as to the reasons why the previously standard feature was taken out.
The company said in a statement that the move reflected "both the reduced emphasis placed on this feature amongst later purchasers of PS3, as well as the availability of a more extensive lineup of PS3-specific titles."
The original Japanese and North American PS3 models included the PS2 Emotion Engine chip so they could reliably run older games by using proper PS2 hardware. When Sony released the system in Europe, the company said that the component would be taken out to reduce costs, and the system would handle backward compatibility with software instead, much like the Xbox 360 does.
Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, Sony Computer Entertainment America CEO Jack Tretton shed a little more light on the issue this week. Although the move to software for PS2 backward compatibility was driven by cost concerns, the outright elimination of it was not.
Tretton told the paper that taking support for PS2 games out of the new system isn't dramatically cutting manufacturing costs. However, by omitting the option of playing PS2 games, Sony hopes that new customers will instead spend their money on more PS3 games. He added that Sony's own research suggests that customers won't miss the feature because they probably already own a PS2.