Amid concerns that the European version of the PlayStation 3 will be less than fully backward compatible, Sony has unveiled a new web site listing old games that will work under the version 1.6 firmware, due to be released concurrently with the European launch on Thursday. Unfortunately, the site is organized in a rather user-unfriendly paged format that requires a lot of clicking around to get to the data you want. We did some extra legwork and copied the data into a couple of convenient Google Docs spreadsheets (PS1, PS2). We also crunched the numbers to see just how extensive the European PS3's backward compatibility will be at launch.

The results are a little underwhelming. While over 2,800 combined PS2 and PS1 games are listed as working on the PAL PS3, they represent only about 56 percent of the approximately 5,000 discs available for both systems in PAL format. Unlisted games like Metal Gear Solid 2, Final Fantasy VII, Resident Evil 2 and all the Ratchet and Clank games will not work at all come launch day -- as it says in the fine print of the site, "if your game is not listed here, emulation is not yet supported on PLAYSTATION®3." [update: added fine print quote -- thanks Ian] (Note: Discs are listed by serial number, one game may be listed under multiple serial numbers).

What's more, of the roughly 2,800 listed games, only about 1,800 of them (approx. 63 percent) work with "no known issues." A good 550 or so have "noticeable issues," according to Sony, among them big names like Metal Gear Solid and Tomb Raider II on the PS1 and Final Fantasy X, Kingdom Hearts, SingStar, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on the PS2. [Update: Moved Kingdom Hearts from PS1 to PS2. Whoops!]

Of course, these numbers will only go up as Sony continues to update the firmware, but as a starting point, we're a little disappointed that roughly two-thirds of the PlayStation/PS2 library won't work perfectly on Europe's launch day PS3s.

Continue reading for a quick breakdown of the numbers and more chartly goodness.

PlayStation

Total games: 2,570*
Total games working: 1,044 (40.62% of total games) (Google Docs Spreadsheet)
  • No known issues: 699 (66.95% of working games)
  • Minor issues: 219 (20.97% of working games)
  • Noticeable issues: 126 (12.06% of working games)

* - Total/unlisted game numbers derived from list of PAL serial numbers on SonyIndex.com

PlayStation 2
Total games: 2,451**
Total games working: 1,782 (72.7% of all games) (Google Docs Spreadhsheet)
  • No known issues: 1,093 (61.34% of working games)
  • Minor issues: 254 (14.25% of working games)
  • Noticeable issues: 435 (24.41% of working games)

** - Total/unlisted game numbers derived from post on ThreeSpeech

Combined
Total Games: 5,021
(see asterisk notes above)
Total games working: 2,826 (56.29% of all games)

  • No known issues: 1792 (63.41% or working games)
  • Minor issues: 473 (16.74% of working games)
  • Noticeable issues: 561 (19.85% of working games)

This article was originally published on Joystiq.