The European version of the PlayStation 3 (PS3), due to launch on 23 March, will be compatible with fewer PS2 games than the models already launched in Japan and America.

The Japanese and American models play 98 percent of PS2 titles but Sony has announced that the European console will feature a new hardware and software emulation, allowing it to play a broad range of original PS titles but limiting its compatibility with PS2 titles.

David, Reeves, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, said: "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."

Some additional PS2 games will later become compatible on the PS3 system through regular downloadable firmware updates made available through the PlayStation Network, from the company's website and via PS3 game discs.