What’s the most motivating thing you can say to someone? Some may say it is, “You can do it!” Others might shout, “I believe in you!” But really, one of the things that really get people going is telling them that something is not possible. Telling people that something is not being done because it can’t be or isn’t feasible is a sure way to set them off. Enter Sony, a company that made a decision to not allow the PlayStation 4 to be a backwards compatible system. Nevermind that the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 were both backwards compatible or that Microsoft offers the feature on both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Sony decided it wasn’t going to be done on the PlayStation 4, and fans were not happy with that.
Which is why especially industrious fans made it happen. As you may have heard recently, hackers added PlayStation 2 emulation to the list of things custom PlayStation 4 firmware can do. People found a way to take a standard PlayStation 2 ISO file of a game, bundle it in the “wrapper” for one of those digital PlayStation 2 Classics Sony sells via the PlayStation Store, and use that to make the game run on the PlayStation 4 with custom firmware. Yes, it involves some hoops, but it makes something people have wanted for a long while happen.
Just think of the ingenuity and the time it took for these people to figure out a way to make PlayStation 2 emulation happen. These aren’t even people on Sony’s staff. They may not even work with coding and programming for a living. Yet, they accomplished something Sony has been refusing to do for years. Why? Well, partially because they obviously wanted it enough to make it happen. And of course, because Sony wasn’t adding the feature on its own. But maybe, just maybe, a part of it is because Sony was essentially telling people backwards compatibility wasn’t possible by not implementing it on their own.
Of course, this also really shows up Sony. After all, PlayStation 2 Classics come out a trickling pace. There are so few released, and they’re mainly first-party titles. Yet now, hackers found a way to make plenty of PlayStation 2 games playable on the PlayStation 4. While not all of them work and they don’t have the newer features like Share Play or trophies, it still makes Sony look bad and the fans who were devoted enough to try and make these things possible look really fantastic in comparison.
You have to salute the accomplishment these hackers have made. Even though yes, this is an action that will encourage piracy, it is also something that is rather incredible. They made something happen that Sony hasn’t been great about giving people for years. The company has been pooh-poohing backwards compatibility since removing the feature from later PlayStation 3 models. It has barely supported the idea with PlayStation 2 Classics and has pretty much abandoned the PS One Classics library. To see people take that as a challenge and respond with a solution is an amazing thing.
And perhaps we’ll see some good come from this. While of course it will cause Sony to tighten security loopholes, maybe it will light a fire under them. Perhaps seeing fans so desperate for emulation will make them release more PlayStation 2 Classics or consider backwards compatibility again.