Sony’s upcoming PlayStation Classic has just been revealed to take advantage of a widely available open-source emulator to drive games on the mini retro gaming console. According to Frank Cifaldi, founder of The Video Game History Foundation, the PlayStation Classic utilizes PCSX ReARMed. This emulator is a specialized open-source emulator specifically targeted at ARM processor-based systems. As it is open-source and free for everyone, it has been used at the heart of several emulators over the years, including my personal favorite Android emulator ClassicBoy. Under the terms of the open-source license, anyone that uses the software is required to disclose this information, which is how it came to the attention of Mr. Cifaldi.
As Mr.Cifaldi correctly pointed out, Sony’s decision to use PCSX ReARMed is an interesting one. It gives legitimacy to the software as a functional emulator that is up to the company’s professional standards. The use of this emulator also confirms that Sony is using an ARM processor of some sort in the system, though this was expected.
We also get some insight into the graphics quality of the PlayStation Classic. Mr. Cifaldi points out that the games look and sound accurate, which means they probably look blocky and pixelated. Games produced for the PS1 used a resolution of 640×480 or lower, so blocky and pixelated is to be expected.
The overall visual experience will likely be similar to what you would experience gaming with a PCSX ReARMed emulator on Android. We can’t rule out the possibility that Sony altered the emulator to improve graphics performance somewhat. PCSX ReARMed is open-source, and it can be freely altered by Sony (or anyone else) to suit their needs, and it’s possible Sony did that here. Due to the limited resolution and quality of the source images in the games, however, any improvement would be limited. The PlayStation Classic is set to be released on December 3.