PS3 to be Backwards Compatible Again Thanks to Gaikai?

OK, this makes sense. The latest rumor surrounding Sony and a possible acquisition of a major cloud gaming service claims that the company will announce a deal with Gaikai during the E3 2012 conference on Monday.

According to the rumor, the partnership will allow gamers to stream PlayStation 2 games to the current console. Customers already have an option of purchasing and playing local digital copies of "PS2 Classics" from the PlayStation Store like Max Payne, Need for Speed: Most Wanted and SSX On Tour. They can even purchase and play PS1 classics.

But this deal would eliminate the need for "emulation" and open up the entire PlayStation 2 library. Even more, it's quite possible that PlayStation 3 owners will even be able to purchase and play games currently not available on the console like Magicka and Spore.

The PlayStation 3 originally made its debut with hardware-based backwards compatibility intact, but Sony removed the chip and went with partial software emulation in the next wave in order to reduce the overall cost. Sony then killed off software support in the third wave, and decided to instead work with the games on an individual basis so that they will run natively in the PlayStation 3 environment.

Just days ago, reports appeared claiming that Sony was actually considering the purchase of Gaikai or OnLive. An unnamed source close to the situation claimed that a partnership deal is close to being signed. It was assumed that OnLive would be the likely choice, but this latest report regarding Gaikai makes a lot more sense.

OnLive is a closed network. Gamers can either rent or purchase individual titles, or they can subscribe to an all-you-can-play monthly service. Gaikai on the other hand isn't really a network, but acts as the middleman between publisher and customer that streams the actual games. Even more, Gaikai has a network of servers scattered throughout the U.S., so whatever the end-user is playing, it's being streamed from the server closest to his physical address.

OnLive was originally thought to be the acquisition of choice due to its OnLive Desktop service and its rumored upcoming video streaming service. OnLive even previously stated that it was in talks with Sony and Microsoft to bring the service to the current consoles.

As always, take everything as mere rumor. We'll finally put the assumptions to rest on Monday when Sony officially spills the beans at E3 2012.

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more.