Sony’s PlayStation Classic is a $100 retro game console that looks like a smaller version of the original PlayStation and which comes with 20 games pre-loaded.

It’s set to ship in December, but Sony held an event recently where a handful of journalists got a chance to spend some time with the system. For the most part they seem impressed with the system, maybe a little underwhelmed by some of the games included, and mixed on whether it’s a good idea for people to spend $100 on a device that plays a bunch of 20-year-old games.

There’s one interesting nugget in Kotaku’s report though: the PlayStation Classic relies on an open source PlayStation emulator to handle gameplay.

In other words, when Sony wanted to put out a micro console to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its classic game system, the company didn’t develop all the technology in-house. Instead it grabbed an emulator created by enthusiasts.

Whether that’s a testament to the ingenuity of third-party developers or to Sony’s laziness is open to interpretation.

But it does mean that:

  • You could get a similar experience by using PS1 game ROMS on the same emulator (PCSX ReARMed) on compatible devices with ARM-based hardware, or the related PCSX-Reloaded on devices with x86 chips.
  • Maybe this means it’ll be possible to sideload games onto the PlayStation Classic.

Officially Sony is saying the Classic ships with 20 titles and that’s all you get. But if hackers figure out a way to load other ROMs, it seems likely that the emulator should allow you to play them — although some extra work might be required to get them to work with Sony’s user interface and it’s not at all clear how locked down the platform will be.

If there’s one thing we know about the retro gaming/emulator community though, it’s that where there’s a will there’s a way. Nintendo doesn’t officially support adding games to the NES Classic, for example, but people have been doing it since shortly after the system hit the streets.

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20 replies on “PlayStation Classic uses the open source PCSX ReARMed emulator”

    1. The analog sticks were added late in the PS1’s lifespan, and not many games required them. Ape Escape is the only one that comes to mind. None of the games on the PS Classic require analog sticks.

      1. sure it got added later, like dual-shock aka rumble. However I never played PS1 without it so it seemed odd to me, but I guess if it’s not required and keeps cost down then oh well

  1. Are people going to say Sony is lazy for using FreeBSD for the PS4 as well? How about those commercial products that use RPis and open source software? Google must really be lazy for using the Linux kernel as the base for Android.

    Also, I’m no GPLv2 expert but would Sony need to provide source code (at least the emulator part)? Then again, Sony could have also negotiated a different license with the devs.

    As for $100 dollars for a pre-made, ready to use device for playing some PS1 games which I’m sure includes the cost of the games (Sony still needs to pay license/royalty fees to game devs)? I wouldn’t buy it. Then again, I wouldn’t spend time putting together a DIY device either (I’d also need to buy the games since I’m no criminal).

    1. Well, Nintendo, despite all their shenanigans, have at least developed their own emulator for NES. Sony were so against emulation years ago that they sued Bleem and Connectx but are now using an emulator that they downloaded from the internet. If you don’t see the irony…

    2. Those aren’t really fair comparisons. Sony using a 3rd party emulator isn’t anything like Sony using FreeBSD.

      What’s being criticized here is that Sony originally made the hardware, and rather than just making it again (or an updated version), they’re borrowing the work done by someone else, who ripped off their original work.

      Sony using FreeBSD isn’t remarkable at all. That’s the exact intent of FreeBSD.

      1. It’s called open source. There’s nothing wrong nor lazy about using open source software as long as you comply with the license. Assuming Sony is complying.

    3. Do you ever speed or litter? If so, I would consider you more of a criminal than someone who abuses 20+ yr old copywrites on digital copies of physical games that sell for 5 bucks or less.

    1. I do! Ironically, when I remember seeing it, they sold it at, of all places, RadioShack, which has also gone the way of the dodo.

    2. Another interesting tidbit from that Wikipedia entry:

      “As of 2005, 2 members of the [Bleem] team were working for Sony – Randy Linden was working for SCEA on porting titles and looking at the possibility of emulation of previous generation titles for the next PlayStation[citation needed], and Sean Kauppinen was promoting EverQuest II and Star Wars Galaxies for Sony Online Entertainment. “

    1. /s

      I totally agree. You would be much better off getting an actual PS1 on eBay and then transplanting a Raspberry Pi into its chassis.

      1. I was first upvoted, but I can see now that I successfully ticked off some fanboys.

    2. and game pad! Why be limited to 20 games, when you could have any or all of them.

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