The PlayStation Classic, Sony’s response to Nintendo’s NES Classic and SNES Classic, is powered by an open-source emulator that was made by fans.
Kotaku reported that a list of licenses for open-source software, accessed through the PlayStation Classic menu, revealed that the mini console uses PCSX ReARMed to emulate games from the original PlayStation, which was released 24 years ago.
Nintendo created the emulator that is featured in the NES Classic and SNES Classic, but Sony decided to use fan-made software which was originally designed for the Pandora handheld.
Sony’s usage of the PCSX ReARMed emulator in the PlayStation Classic is allowed, as the software is open source. However, it may be considered unexpected, as the company has not been entirely friendly with the emulation community.
Video game companies, including Sony and Nintendo, have filed lawsuits against emulator makers, in a bid to stop piracy. This makes the decision to use an open-source, fan-made emulator in the PlayStation Classic an ironic one, as it essentially acknowledges all the hard work that Sony itself is trying to stamp out.
While it may be viewed as laziness on Sony’s part, PCSX ReARMed in the PlayStation Classic makes sense. Instead of devoting time and resources to creating an official emulator, why not use software that has been developed and tested for years?
Emulators themselves have never been illegal. The problem that video game companies have is that emulators encourage people to illegally download ROMs, which are pirated copies of games, to play on the software. With the PCSX ReARMed in the PlayStation Classic, Sony is highlighting one of the most popular PlayStation emulators, while eliminating the illegal aspects of playing retro games.
The PlayStation Classic uses an open source emulator, PCSX. Lesser educated people might see this as a cause of frustration, but here's the reality: it's an acknowledgement that an "amateur" emulator can be just as valid as an "official" one (and they're usually better!). pic.twitter.com/zJztoiYiwT
— Frank Cifaldi (@frankcifaldi) November 8, 2018
The PlayStation Classic will be released on December 3 with a price tag of $100. Pre-orders are currently being accepted for the console, which looks very much like the original PlayStation but 45 percent smaller.
Sony pre-loaded the PlayStation Classic with 20 PlayStation titles, including Final Fantasy VII, Grand Theft Auto, and Twisted Metal. Out of the 15 games that we wanted to see on the retro console, Metal Gear Solid, Syphon Filter and Rayman made it to the list, leaving classics such as Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Final Fantasy Tactics, Suikoden II, Xenogears, and Parasite Eve out in the cold.