PlayStation 3 Won't Run Some
Older Games: More bad news for
PlayStation 3 Won't Run Some Older Games

Nov 15, 7:42 AM (ET)


TOKYO (AP) - Sony's new PlayStation 3 can't play some of
the games designed for previous generations of the popular
console, the latest misstep for the stumbling electronics
company as it faces off in a crucial, three-way war with
Nintendo and Microsoft.

Sony Corp. (SNE), which has fallen behind in key products
like flat-panel TVs and digital music players, badly needs a
best-seller in the PS3. The console went on sale here to
hoards of eager fans over the weekend, ahead of its U.S.
release on Friday.

On Tuesday, the company acknowledged the console won't
run some of the 8,000 titles designed for previous
PlayStations - even though the PlayStation 3 was billed as
being fully compatible with older-generation games.

For instance, the PS3 might not play background music to
the popular "Tekken 5" combat game, and some scenes
from the "Gran Tourismo" racing game might freeze,
according to Sony. The game "Suikoden III" can't read data
from a first-generation PlayStation, while a virtual gun in
one of the "Biohazard" games won't fire properly.

Some older games won't run on the PS3 at all, according to
Sony Computer Entertainment spokesman Satoshi Fukuoka.
Online upgrades of the PS3 software will be offered, but it's
unlikely that all the problems will ever get fixed, he said.

Fukuoka insisted that the company anticipated the
incompatibilities and outlined them on its Japanese Web
site on Nov. 11, when PS3 hit stores here. Microsoft Corp.
(MSFT)'s Xbox 360, which debuted last year, has had
similar problems with older games.

The PS3's compatibility problem is the latest in a series of
setbacks for the console, which will compete with Nintendo
Co.'s Wii and the Xbox 360. The Wii goes on sale Sunday in
the U.S.

Sony's new console was initially promised for worldwide
sales for spring this year but was postponed in March to
November, and the European sales date has been delayed
by another four months. Production problems have also
meant only 100,000 PlayStation 3s were available for its
debut in Japan over the weekend.

Sony also slashed the price for the cheaper PS3 model in
Japan ahead by 20 percent to about $420 in what some
critics described as a desperate effort to maintain its
dominant market share. The more expensive model with a
60-gigabyte hard drive will cost about $600 in the U.S.

Demand in Japan has been strong. Unlike the lukewarm
response here to Microsoft's Xbox 360, fans have snapped
up the PS3, which is powered by the new "Cell" computer
chip and supported by the next-generation Blu-ray video
disc format to deliver nearly movie-like graphics.

Sony, led by Welsh-born American Howard Stringer, has a
lot riding on the PS3. The once-pioneering electronics and
entertainment company known for the Walkman portable
audio player and Vaio laptops is in dire need of a hit.

Sony's brand image also has been badly tarnished by a
massive global recall of lithium-ion batteries for laptop
computers, which affected almost every major laptop maker
in the world, including Dell Inc. (DELL), Apple Computer
Inc. (AAPL) and Lenovo Group Ltd.

Last month, Sony lowered its forecast for its fiscal 2006
group net profit by 38 percent to $680 million, citing costs
for the battery recall and PS3 expenses, including the
production problems and price cut.