Sony enabled PS2 backwards compatibility for the PS4 without telling anyone

PS4 backwards compatibility
PS4 backwards compatibility

Update: A Sony representative sent us the following statement in response to our query about the emulator's existence:

"We are working on utilizing PS2 emulation technology to bring PS2 games forward to the current generation. We have nothing further to comment at this point in time."

So, we know the PS4 has the ability to play PS2 games. We don't know how long it's had the capability, or how many titles Sony will release, but it exists. We'll continue to investigate.

Microsoft may have gotten all the attention this week for its latest update to the Xbox One, which enables backwards compatibility for over 100 Xbox 360 titles, but it seems Sony might have done the same thing for the PS4, with less celebration.

Eurogamer recently received the Special Edition Star Wars Battlefront PS4, along with the code for four downloadable titles: Super Star Wars, Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, Star Wars: Racer Revenge and Star Wars: Bounty Hunter.

When the team went to boot up the three old PS2 titles, something strange happened. An old PS2 logo came up in "all of its poorly upscaled glory when you boot each title". Eurogamer reports that there was also a system in place to emulate a PS2 memory card to save your spot in the games, and a prompt at the start of the emulation that told them that the select and start buttons could be accessed by pressing on the left and right of the DualShock 4's trackpad.

If these titles were ports of the original games, there'd be no need for the prompts or memory card emulation: the games would work natively with the PS4 software, leading the team to believe that what they were looking at were the first titles to receive backwards compatibility on the PS4.

What's even more interesting about the possible emulator is that it upscaled the titles from their original resolutions – 512 x 448 and 640 x 448 – to a new native resolution on the PS4 of 1292 x 896.

The fact that a PS1 and PS2 emulator was in development is no secret. Sony made it abundantly clear at the launch of PlayStation Now that it wanted to bring the entire collection of past games onto its latest powerhouse, but it has been mysteriously tight-lipped about the development of the software ever since.

The PS2 had 1,850 titles, one of the largest collections of any games console. If Sony can work some magic, the PS4's relatively meager library could quadruple in size overnight.

We've asked Sony to confirm the emulator's existence out in the wild, as well as its future plans for releasing PS2 content or (crossing our fingers) allowing the system to play PS2 discs.

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.