Older PlayStation games emulated on PS4 could include new content, according to new Sony patent

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Owners of previous PlayStation consoles would have been unimpressed in 2013 when they heard that the PlayStation 4 wouldn’t include the option to play games from previous generations on Sony’s new machine, which means that at least for the time being PlayStation 3 owners, for example, will need to keep two boxes sitting next-to their TV if they wish to continue to enjoy games on both systems.

With the acquisition of Dave Perry’s cloud-based gaming service, Gaikai, Sony has a vision for the future of on-demand game and entertainment streaming and has even alluded to the fact that it may, in the future, be possible to stream PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and even PlayStation 3 games online to play on your PlayStation 4, effectively ’emulating’ these games on modern hardware.


According to a patent filed by Sony back in 2012, and only recently published by the US Patent and Trademark Office, Sony is not only seriously working on cracking the problem of emulating older games on PS4 but is looking to go beyond simply delivering the same titles exactly as we remember them by making it possible for developers to freshen these experiences with new challenges and content.

This method, the patent claims, will provide “new ways to play preexisting video games” to “increase the longevity of older games.” Including additional mini-games, the patent continues, could be the key to this increased longevity, but not only in the traditional way we think about a mini-game. “Within a mini-game,” the patent description reads, “the gamer can be instructed to complete new objectives or challenge their friends for high scores in a format that was not originally designed into the legacy game.”

How can a developer inject new content into an old game without touching the original code and re-releasing it as an all-new product? Using snapshots taken at key points during the emulation of a game, that title will be put into a semi suspended state at which time new challenges or content will be introduced, before the game is taken out of suspend mode and resumes as normal.

The description and technical requirements of the patent get a lot more complicated from there, but you can read through it all if you like over here if you think you can make heads or tails of it. For everyone else, it may suffice to know that Sony certainly thinks that emulating older games is possible and is also looking to improve these titles with additional content.

The question then becomes, however, whether or not we’ll be paying for these games again (even if we own the original discs) and if the inclusion of these new challenges will be the reason Sony and other developers justify a new purchase.

How would you like to see this feature used in emulated games on PS4? Do you think older titles could benefit from extra mini-games, challenges and additional content or would you prefer to play them as they were intended?

Source: NeoGAF via IGN

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