After Sony launches PS2 classics emulation on PS4, new technical analysis of the process suggests that European gamers are getting sub-par versions of emulated games.
During its lifetime, over 100 million PS2 consoles were sold and the platform is home to thousands of iconic games. So when Sony confirmed that PS2 classics would be available on PS4, up-rendered to have HD visuals, PlayStation gamers were over the moon. However, now that the first set of PS2 classics have been released on PS4 including Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and The Mark of Kri, players in Europe are discovering that their versions of the emulated titles actually run worse than the games’ North American counterparts.
The problem, analyzed by Eurogamer‘s Digital Foundry, comes from technical differences in the original versions of the games. Using San Andreas as an example, the (North American) NTSC code version of the game runs at 30FPS as default, but the (European) PAL code version of the game has a base framerate of 25FPS and the PS4 emulator uses frame-blending to bump the game up to 30FPS. As a result, the game suffers from “slowdown”, “some frame-pacing issues” as well as a “judder”, and the publication explains that the frame blending makes the game look like it has “unique frames” but in actual fact “they are simply the interpolated results of two image”.
While fans are frustrated that Sony has yet to explain why the games have different technical specs or why the PAL region couldn’t get NTSC quality (with the necessary tweaks for censorship and foreign language) they’re also angry as this isn’t the first time they’ve gotten a raw deal in comparison to North American players.
Recently, Sony has courted controversy as hundreds of tracks of Rock Band 4‘s legacy DLC (thousands of games that can be carried over from previous Rock Band games) have yet to arrive on the European PlayStation Store. This is due to Sony Computer Entertainment Europe having different technical processes to the North American branch, SCEA, and while (Rock Band 4 developer) Harmonix is working on it, there’s no definitive date on when the songs will arrive in Europe.
Admittedly, Sony can afford to lose a little goodwill with European gamers as in July the company estimated that it has between 70-90% of the console market in the territory and so in the short-term it certainly won’t hurt its bottom line too much if this turns away a few consumers. But in the long run, controversies like these could see gamers pick up Xbox Ones instead of PS4s as not only has the Xbox One impressed with its own backward compatibility feature, but Microsoft is considering backward compatibility for original Xbox games too.
Source: Digital Foundry