Sony is adding the long-requested ability to play PlayStation 2 games on its PlayStation 4 console, the company recently confirmed to Wired.
It appears that the feature has already been quietly rolled out. A PS4 console bundle that is now available includes, along with the recent Star Wars Battlefront, a variety of classic Star Wars games: Super Star Wars, Star Wars: Racer Revenge, Star Wars, Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, and Star Wars: Bounty Hunter. The last three games in that list were originally released for PS2. Digital Foundry reported for Eurogamer that they appeared to not be adapted ports, but were in fact running in their original form through software emulation.
There are no further details about the emulation beyond Sony’s confirmation. We still don’t know when it will roll out more broadly, how many games will work, or whether it will require downloads or if you will be able to insert PS2 CDs directly.
Emulators use one computing platform to simulate the software and hardware environment of another, generally less powerful platform in order to run older software. Both the PS2 and PS3 launched with some backwards compatibility for their preceding consoles (although not all subsequent iterations of the PS3 did), making the PS4 an exception for not including the option. Microsoft made waves at E3 with its announcement of Xbox 360 backwards compatibility coming to the Xbox One, which just rolled out widely in the most recent system update.
Skipping back one generation further makes sense for Sony, since the PS2 was the dominant console of its generation, and remains among the best-selling consoles of all time. Its lineup includes all-time classics like God of War 1 & 2, Final Fantasy X, and Shadow of the Colossus.
At the time of this writing, Sony has declined to comment any further on the PS4’s emulation future.