Tobold's Blog
Thursday, September 10, 2009
PS3 questions: Region free? Backward compatible?

Sometimes I think there is too much information on the internet. So much that getting a straight answer to simple questions is very hard. Since the new Playstation 3 Slim came out, with a much lower price, I'm wondering whether I should buy one. But as there aren't all that many PS3 games that would interest me, whether I buy a PS3 or not also depends on other factors:

1) Is it possible to watch DVDs from different regions on the same PS3? On the PS2 I'm using a program called DVD Region X, but that doesn't appear to exist for the PS3. And while apparently *games* on the PS3 are region free, DVD and Blue-ray discs are not. If there is no solution, and I couldn't watch my collection of US DVDs on the PS3, I would be a lot less interested in buying one.

2) Do *any* PS2 games run on the PS3 Slim? I know the full backward compatibility promised for the first versions of the PS3 never really worked, and was abandoned in the latter versions. But I did read something about that while hardware emulation is out, *some* PS2 games would be supported by software emulation. Now I read everywhere that the PS3 Slim is "not backward compatible". But does that mean "not at all", or is backward compatibility at least partial?

An hour on Google produced hundreds of links, but none really answering my question. Bing (Microsoft's new search engine, the acronym meaning "But Its Not Google!"), which is supposed to work more like an expert system, doesn't give clear answers either. Many links I found were to forums, where people were asking exactly these questions, and then got half a dozen conflicting answers. So, does anyone of you know whether I can watch foreign DVDs and play PS2 games on a PS3 Slim?
as far as I know, the hardware compatibility layer never made it to EU-land. And the last version with a software PS2 emulation stack was the 60gig full-size version. So no, the PS3slim won't play any PSone / PS2 games.

And yes, the DVD and BD playback is region hobbled (nowadays even some japanese games). luckily some publishers decided that the region-code sucks, so some movies come with region-locking (watchmen directors cut as example)
No to both I'm afraid. The PS3 Slim cannot be made region free for Blu Ray or for DVD, and the DVD Region X will not work on it.

Also no current PS3 supports any backwards compatibility for PS2, the original US/Japan 60 gig was fully hardware compatible, then there was a partial software emulation in the EU launch machines. The current models have no backwards compatible feature at all for the PS2, sorry!

There is compatiblity with downloadable PSone games but I don't know it is disc based as well or just for downloads. It is definitely not available for the PS2 at all.
Technically the PS3 lost backwards compatibility with the 4ogb model a few years back. As far as I know nothing has changed, the slim doesnt have the feature.

The ability to install Linux was also stripped from the slim, and as far as I know the DVD's are region specific but I could be wrong on that (I'm 95% certain though)

I'm unaware if there is a DVD-Region X solution yet (I used that on and off myself till I installed the relevant mod to enable DVD playback on the wii)
I can definitively say that PS3 "Slim" is NOT backward compatible (from radio/internet news sources I've heard/read).


In an interview with 'Ars Technica', John Koller, Sony director of hardware marketing, confirmed that the feature would not be coming back.

"It's not coming back, so let me put that on the table," said Koller, “It's not as big as a purchase intent driver as you may be hearing. We've got such a substantial lineup of titles on the PS3; most people are buying the PS3 for PS3 games. They've buying it for PS3 games and Blu-ray movies."

So there you have it; PS3/PS2 compatibility is kaput for good. Koller also confirmed that Linux compatibility was gone, due to a desire to 'standardize' their OS and focus more on improving it. He stated that anyone wanting to load Linux onto an older model was free to do so, but that none of the new PlayStation products would have that capability.

Don't know about region restrictions, but I noticed a variety of different models with PAL or NTSC formats listed on Wikipedia (FWIW). Makes me wonder.
Does anyone know how the ps3 slim runs? Is it noisy or hot?

Currently I have an Xbox 360 which runs 50% of games fine, but the other 50% of games have constant loading errors. Not to mention the disc drive is so loud that even with my speakers blasting I can't over power it. It might seem like something minor but I find myself not wanting to play my Xbox 360 at all because of this. I've lost too many un-saved games, causing a lot of time lost.

I've always wanted a ps3 but I heard it also run a bit hot, and some had hard ware issues with it?
Only a couple of PS3 models had PS2 games backwards compatibility. The slim one does not have it.

There's a table over at wikipedia with the Model comparison: in - scroll a bit down), which indicates in its Extra features column which models had it.

I hope that helps with that part of your questions.
From what I understand, PS2 compatibility is flat out gone, but full PS1 compatibility remains.

And no region free DVD support, as far as I can tell. I think it lets you change regions like five times, but then it locks, so it's not really a solution.
I don't know the answers, (I don't own a PS3) but I do know the Sony Maxim:

1) Always assume that a Sony product is set to maximum level of inflexibility and restrictiveness. This applies to region codes. (the corollary is: before you read the specs, assume all formats are proprietary)

So basically, if it isn't listed on the box or the marketing box as a "feature", you can't do it, even if common sense would normally dictate the obvious.
It's a shame too, the lack of backwards computability means that I've been hesitant to purchase one as well. $300 is a great price point, but I still love my PS2 and play PS2 games every now and then. It will be awkward to keep both hooked up if I spring for it.
Since Sony dropped the price I've been considering buying a PS3 too. It's wierd I can justify a $130 Mic/headset for my comp at the drop of a hat but I'm just to cheap to spend $300 on a console without alot of consideration.
I am trying to figure out whether your asking your blog readers for help is the equivalent of "Ask the audience" or "Phone a fiend".

Ask the audience is invariably useless. Phone a friend on the other hand can be helpful if you have the right friend.
Straight from the new PS3 marketing "It only does everything", but as the other comments have pointed out it doesn't do several of the things it used to do. What an odd definition of everything.
"Phone a fiend"

I'd hope there aren't too many fiends reading this. ;)
No PS2 compatability. Full PS1 compatability, but it lacks the texture smoothing feature that the PS2 can apply to them. For PS1 and PS2 games the PS2 slim is still the best machine you can buy.
Just a bunch of fiends only.
The lack of backward compatibility from PS3 to PS2 was what stopped me from ever considering getting it. I still have many PS2 games that I just do not want to part with. Also the price was an issue as well.

PS3 is a beast of a machine but almost everyone that I know who has it is mostly using it as a Blue Ray DVD player instead of a gaming platform. I guess PS3 games are not as good as PS2 ones.
I think the full backwards compatibility did work for the earliest models released, because it was hardware based. No BC is perfect, because games are unique-even on your ps2 there are ps1 games that probably wont run at all. Not sure about EU models though.

The DVD playback used to be fixable in older non-ps3 systems by third-party hardware like gameshark or action replay, but since the new systems can update their firmware through the net or through games, no one has made a retail one for the PS3.

I'd just say get the slim, and keep the ps2 hooked up to the TV. If there's enough games you want to play on it, backwards compatibility and playing dvd's is a minor thing to kill the deal over. You seem though to just want to play it only for a few games, so I'd probably just not get it. I know you like the strategy RPGS, and there really isn't enough of them to justify it.
Ya know, the backwards compatibility of the PS2 was one of the reasons I switched (I could still play Resident Evil 3, yaaah).

Then I used it once. Just once.

And if you really want to, you could just plug your old ps2 in...

backwards compatibility is vastly overrated. Really is.
Perhaps it's vastly overrated to some, Toxic, but it's the key to a purchase for me in this case. If the PS3 Slim were fully backwards compatible at that price point, I'd buy one this weekend.

As it is, Sony doesn't get my money. I'm just one person, but I can't be the only one.
Games for the PS3 are region free but DVDs and Blu-Ray discs are not so it's unlikely you will be able to watch your US DVDs.

And no, PS2 games will not run on the European PS3.
Just noting that I purchased one of the earlier 60Gb models and I have full backwards capabilities with all PS2 games, I didn't realize they ever took this away but I sure am glad I jumped early to get mine. I would never have gone for PS3 without it.
Just something to note Tobold - American PS3's can play PS2 games but European ones cannot. They removed the feature from the European production before it ever hit the shelves.

Just to clarify any confusion cause I realised your American readers may say that their PS3 is backwards compatible. Yours won't be!
Boy am I glad I bought the original PS3 when they announced the new models would have that emulator nonsense! PS3 games were region free for the old model, however, region coding is still in effect for both movies and ps2/ps1 games. I still can't play Blood of Zeon without a Japanese PS2/modded US PS2.

The slim sounds like it is even more restrictive.

As a quick aside, the comment about the original compatability not working right is not my experience.

The original PS3 plays all of my PS2 games fine, so from personal experience, there is nothing wrong with the backwards compatability of the original first generation of the US release of the PS3.

I had heard that the real reason they went to the emulator was cost. The original actually had a PS2 chip in it, if I understand correctly, and they were looking for ways to cut the cost. That is just hearsay though, and I could certainly be wrong, but it was enough to make me buy a first generation PS3 before they were all replaced by the next generation of emulator machines.
I have one of the early PS3s apparently, only really used it a couple times to be honest, even though i own over one hundred PS2 games.

Not region free, but blu-ray regions are different than dvd. From america to europe though you also have the different video standards so that makes it more difficult. (NTSC vs PAL or SEACAM, if it's not built into the hardware it will have issues) People forget this isn't as simple, but yeah. I buy a lot of Japanese games and they all have played perfectly on my PS3. (side note, also have a 360 form here and one from Japan (side, side note, japanese 360 never had a problem with, usa ones had three red ring), same with Wii, no reason now to region lock things if you ask me, it's an outdated concept)

Yeah it plays blu-ray great, and upscales dvds great too. It also has great games, but you don't really hear much about them for some reason. Fat Princess is damn fun.
I've been considering the new ps3 slim. I was there when my bro-in-law bought his. The problem I have is it going to do more for me other than play games and movies. Granted, there are some great games and blu-ray looks awesome, is it going to give me the flex-ability that a pc does.

I am going to wait it out, I would like to play Demon's Souls and see what platform CCP's Dust 514 is slated for. If it's going to be on PS3 I would buy one.
Why not just try to fetch an older Modell (2nd Hand), if you are really interested in PS2 compatibility.

I did had one of the first Models, which i gave to my mom ,since she prefers to play some PS2 games, while i took a newer Modell.

By the way, the first Modell's had a very good compatibility rate (i think over 90%) for PS2 Games.

All the games of my mom work great.
As an FYI, there are actually a great number of BluRay disks that are actually Region Free. Fox releases tend to be Region Coded, but even they release some disks with no region at all.


Of course that doesn't help with the DVD region issues, or PS2 backwards compatability...or if the one "must have" Bluray disk you want is region coded.

If you want a region free DVD and BluRay player (and yes, they do exist), then unfortunately you won't want a PS3.
The PS3 Slim does NOT have any B/C. When they first came out with the 20 GB and 60 GB they were almost 100% B/C due to the entire Emotion engine being left in during manufacturing. When the 40 GB came out a few years ago B/C was taken away completely. Then 2 years ago they introduced the first 80 GB model that had a software emulator that runs about 70% B/C.

The easiest way to tell is to look at the front of an old PS3 and see if you can lift the 'lid' on the left hand side next to the disc eject area. If you can lift it and there are card reader slots you've got backwards compatibility. Another way is to look at the back side next to the serial number and look for the model number.

Here's a link to the PS3 website where it tells you what games are b/c to PS3 and what model number of PS3 are as well.

Hope this helps.

I've always found it bitterly funny that the tagline for PS3 sales promotion was "it only does everything"... to which I always mentally appended "except play PS2 games". That is what my potential purchase hinged on, so to this day, I don't have a PS3. The cost of the silly thing just doesn't justify the few games on the platform I'd play. (Movies do nothing for me as well, lacking a HDTV or the interest in most movies.)
If someone has more ps3 questions go to and post your question in the comments, in the blog I have a list of all the ps3 code errors and there definition... Hope you come and if you find my blog usefull tell your friends
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