European gamers are used to getting shafted by console manufacturers. Historically, our Japanese and American counterparts get their games before we do, pay less for the privilege and don't have to put up with black on-screen borders.
Euro-discrimination has been in decline over recent years, but you can always count on a new console launch to throw a fresh spanner in the PAL works. That spanner is the fact that European PlayStation 3 consoles will have different (read: worse) hardware specs to the models already being enjoyed by the Japanese and Americans.
Instead of just changing the plug and switching the graphics display mode, Sony has taken a hacksaw to PAL PS3s and removed a vital chip that enabled full backwards compatibility with PS2 games. Whereas NTSC PS3s run an estimated "98 per cent" of PS2 titles, European PS3s will only run a "limited range" of PS2 games, and a "broad range" of PS1 games. Exact numbers aren't yet known -- the backwards-compatibility page on the PS3 Web site won't launch until 23 March, the console's European release date.
The company's reasons for the changes are laughable. Sony's official line is, "Rather than concentrate on PS2 backwards compatibility, in the future, company resources will be increasingly focused on developing new games and entertainment features exclusively for PS3."
If the chip is already in American and Japanese models why not just leave it there? All we need is a new plug, damn it -- we're already paying the equivalent of $834 (£425) while the Yanks pay $599. Why is the cost saving not passed on to us? And while we're on the subject, why don't we get the choice of buying the cheaper 20GB PS3? Don't we deserve to save money? Do we smell?
Sure, some will argue there's no point buying a PS3 in order to play PS2 games. But what of the thousands of users who intend to sell their PS2 to finance the purchase of a PS3? Where will they play new PS2 games such as FFXII, God of War 2 or Okami? Shame on you, Sony. Shame on you. -Rory Reid