Sony stated every PlayStation and PlayStation 2 game that observes its respective system's TRC (Technical Requirements Checklist) will be playable on PS3 at launch. SCE president Ken Kutaragi asked developers to adhere to the TRC to facilitate compatibility with future PlayStations, stating that the company was having some difficulty getting backward compatibility with games that had not followed the TRCs. It has been confirmed (image) that initial PS3 units include the CPU/rasterizer combination chip used in slim PS2 (EE+GS) to achieve backward compatibility.
The PlayStation 3 does not include interfaces for legacy PlayStation devices, though IGN.com tested a legacy controller using a PS2-to-USB adapter, finding that it is compatible, though most other devices (such as the Guitar Hero controller) may not be compatible. USB devices for PlayStation 2 may be compatible with PlayStation 3. The PS3 supports both the USB Eye Toy camera/webcam and SOCOM Headset for video and voice chat. A memory card adapter is available so users can save their PS/PS2 data on to a virtual memory card in the hard drive. The PlayStation 3 can also use Memory Sticks to store save data for PlayStation and PlayStation 2 software.
At least 3% of the games from the previous generations of the PlayStation had problems at launch such as dropped audio, freezes or controller malfunction. Popular games reported to have this glitch include Final Fantasy, Tekken 5, and Gran Turismo. As of 16 November 2006, a firmware upgrade has been posted online by Sony that is intended to address some of these issues.
In addition, the backward compatibility function is not region-free and as of this moment there are no known homebrew hacks/patches to solve this issue.
For more details on this topic, see List of Xbox games compatible with Xbox 360.
Backward compatibility is achieved through software emulation of the original Xbox. Emulated games offer graphical enhancements because they are rendered in 720p, 1080i, or 1080p resolution with anti-aliasing enabled rather than the Xbox standard of 480p. Some games also benefit from an improvement in the rendered draw distance, possibly due to the system's greater memory bandwidth. However there are also games that do not perform well in emulation; these often exhibit a lower framerate on the Xbox 360. A hard drive and the downloading of an emulation profile is needed in order to play original Xbox games. Updated emulation profiles can be obtained through Xbox Live, by burning a CD with profiles downloaded from Xbox.com, or by ordering an update disc from Microsoft. The full list of backward-compatible games is maintained at Xbox.com. Although the current U.S. list includes 298 games (about 30% of the total Xbox game library, as of the December 14, 2006 update); fewer titles are backward compatible in European and Japanese markets, with 295 and 71 titles respectively. Microsoft has stated that they intend to release more emulation profiles as they become available, with a goal of making the entire Xbox library playable on the Xbox 360. They have since made multiple statements indicating that this may never be complete, and the rate of updates to the backwards compatibility list is in line with this stated attitude.