Backward compatibility is a major feature and concern in the hardware world. Sony knows that a PlayStation 3 featuring backwards compatibility with PlayStation 2 games will be more attractive to gamers world-wide, especially when Microsoft has decided to continue offering Xbox games that run on Xbox 360.
Sony company seems to approach the problem is a different manner, focusing on hardware solutions rather than on software ones. According to an article in the July issue of Japan’s Ultra One technology magazine, initial PlayStation 3 units will not feature software emulators, but instead, will include the core PlayStation 2 chipset (Emotion Engine CPU and Graphic Synthesizer GPU).
Sony is sure to face some criticism. Although the PS2 core will allow PlayStation 3 owners to play almost any PS2 game they desire, the games would look pretty much the same when run on the PS3. Meanwhile, Xbox games played on an Xbox 360 are indeed looking better. And yet, there may be other arguments of how a hardware core will be better then a software emulator.
Meanwhile, this may be only a temporary solution, designed to buy Sony the amount of time needed for the development of a good software-based PS2 emulator.