Sony’swill offer gamers a library of twenty classic PS1 games when it comes out on Dec. 3, but you won’t need to change discs to play them: just like with the NES and SNES Classic, this micro-console is actually a tiny computer running emulation software. Unlike Nintendo’s throwback console, however, the PlayStation Classic’s on-board emulator wasn’t made in-house by Sony. It was made by fans.
The software that beats at the heart of the PlayStation Classic is actually an open-source emulator called PCSX ReArmed — as noted in licensing info in the PlayStation Classic’s menu, spotted by Kotaku. It’s an ARM-based fork of the PCSX Reloaded project, and was originally designed to run on the Pandora handheld.
Believe it or not, the fact that the PlayStation Classic is using a fan-made emulator to run its games is actually pretty unique: Video game companies have butted heads with open-source emulators for a long time. Sony has even, going as far as buying companies to shut down emulation.
Sony isn’t breaking any rules by using the open-source software — it’s well within its rights to — but seeing the company use the work of emulation community to help build its new throwback console is a weird, ironic twist.
It’s also a big win for the legitimacy of that community, as game historian Frank Cifaldi points out:
The PlayStation Classic will launch on December 3rd for $99.99. Interested?to see if it’s worth your nostalgia.