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New Sony patent: "Spoofing CPUID For Backwards Compatibility" (filed by Mark Cerny)

ReBurn

Gold Member
Think he is saying that they probably aren't going to use the methodology to enable BC support.
At this point is it even reasonable to believe that this is to enable BC support? For all we know it's a way to emulate games so they can be repackaged and sold again like the PS2 classics.

It's not unusual for companies to file patents they don't use, or don't use in obvious ways. Performance art is a weird way to describe it.
 

Bo_Hazem

Gold Dealer
#NoFucksGiven to old games, but good for nostalgia bitches.

Ball Rolling GIF
 

Fafalada

Fafracer forever
I have a feeling that Sony just patents overzealously even for stuff with prior art.
All larger US based companies do IME. I've seen even more egregious things at my last employer, 'patenting the obvious' is pretty common occurrence.
 

Sosokrates

Report me if I continue to console war
I may be wrong, but I'd say this 2017 patent is for the PS4 BC included in PS5.


PS5 (and PS4) has PS2 Classics and PS1/PS2/PS3 games ported, remastered, remade or included in compilations. While other ones are perfectly playable, proper full PS3 emulation at good performance of many important games isn't possible for most games in PS5 or modern PCs due to tech limits so PS3 emulation won't happen, at least for many games.

We dont know that. As complicated as the PS3 was it does not seem out of the realm of possibility that sony could assemble a small talented team to emulate the ps3 hardware on the orders of magnitude more powerful 8 zen2 cores.
 
How the fuck can you possibly get a patent on something like that? The idea of faking IDs to match older hardware is something so basic and long-used that if the patent system wasn't utterly fucked it would be instantly rejected.

I think the idea behind these patents is not to enforce it against other players who use a similar approach, as it's relatively easy to work around the patent.
The purpose It's to defend against patent trolling.
Mr. John Patent Trololo who owns Company PTrolling with 5000 generic patents can't go after Sony for spoofing a CPU ID because they have a patent for it.
 

yurinka

Member
We dont know that. As complicated as the PS3 was it does not seem out of the realm of possibility that sony could assemble a small talented team to emulate the ps3 hardware on the orders of magnitude more powerful 8 zen2 cores.
According to the RPCS3 developer PS5 would need additional hardware added to its motherboard to be able to properly emulate PS3:
In the same video at 10:16 an ICE Team (+Insomniac) programmer mentions that to properly emulate PS3 will be tricky due to SPUs because their sustained single core performance is still higher than most anything in the market today (he said that last year) plus its related weird, powerful and hardware specific synchronization and memory management. He says that modern PCs can run at a similar speed but can't sustain it (same goes for PS5, which has less peformance than current top PCs).

PS3 had eight 4GHz SPUs, each one with 128 registers, with complex synchronization and memory management stuff that caused to be a nightmare to develop for PS3 taking full advantage of its hardware. Newest intel processors include an instruction set (not available in Zen 2/PS5) that helps with the weird memory management part so it did help with SPU emulation -in some cases, not all- in PC.

So yes, we know that proper full PS3 emulation in PS5 is not possible at least for the games that make full usage of the SPUs. At least according to a top programmer from Sony's engine team who did work for PS3 and the main programmer of the best PS3 emulator for PC.
 
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Bojanglez

The Amiga Brotherhood
Weird. I feel like we have seen something like this during the buildup to the PS5 where people heavily expected there to be PS1-PS4 BC.

I think the dream is dead
Yeah I remember something similar at the time. Also I remember Sony listed a load of PS3 first party games on the store for sale at £7.99, but they were mot buyable.

I still believe they are up to something, but maybe we have to wait until the 30th anniversary of the PS1 in 2024 😆
 
PS3 had eight 4GHz SPUs, each one with 128 registers, with complex synchronization and memory management stuff that caused to be a nightmare to develop for PS3 taking full advantage of its hardware. Newest intel processors include an instruction set (not available in Zen 2/PS5) that helps with the weird memory management part so it did help with SPU emulation -in some cases, not all- in PC.

The PS3 had 7 SPUs enabled, each running at 3.2GHz.

The 8-core Zen2 at 3.5GHz probably does have higher vector throughput than the PS3 Cell, though I get that emulating it would be complicated considering it's not able to run the same instructions natively.
 
The PS3 had 7 SPUs enabled, each running at 3.2GHz.

The 8-core Zen2 at 3.5GHz probably does have higher vector throughput than the PS3 Cell, though I get that emulating it would be complicated considering it's not able to run the same instructions natively.

The cell also used PPC cores with In Order Execution, versus the PS5's x86-64 cores with Out Of Order Execution.

Overcoming those hardware architectural differences with such a small difference in clock speed makes direct emulation virtually impossible.

Even JiT recompilation may be just about doable but will struggle practically in some cases on some workloads.
 
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Knightime_X

Member
Yeah, they even had a patent to block secondhand games shortly before PS4 release:
This would explain why every ps4 game early on needed an immediate patch before playing.
To quietly remove the very thing they were making fun of xbox one doing.
 
The cell also used PPC cores with In Order Execution, versus the PS5's x86-64 cores with Out Of Order Execution.

Overcoming those hardware architectural differences with such a small difference in clock speed makes direct emulation virtually impossible.

Even JiT recompilation may be just about doable but will struggle practically in some cases on some workloads.

I think the PPE core in the PS3 was only used to run the O.S. and manage the SPEs.

I also don't think the execution order has any influence in the instruction set. The out-of-order designs are just able to push higher instruction throughput compared to their theoretical maximum, at the cost of consuming more power. For example, the ARM Cortex A55 and A75 share the same instruction set, but the first is in-order for low-power tasks and the second is out-of-order for high-performance tasks.
 

th4tguy

Member
How the fuck can you possibly get a patent on something like that? The idea of faking IDs to match older hardware is something so basic and long-used that if the patent system wasn't utterly fucked it would be instantly rejected.
If it's done in a unique way, it can be patented.
You can have many patents for methods to perform the same operation as long as each one of those patents is a unique way of performing the method.
 
Not because it is not possible but because Sony is unwilling to do it.

Because there's more to it aswell. Look at Microsoft. They are doing it the best but even they can't manage full backwards compatibility. They announced there will be no more games added either. So it's limited backward compatibility. We will never see full BC like being able to put any ps2 disc into your current console and play it like on my OG ps3 that I still have. It plays every ps1 and 2 disc.
 
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Knightime_X

Member
WTF are you talking about? I played many day-one games without a patch.
Are you sure?
I clearly remember seeing a short unknown update before playing.
Also my console was online the entire time.
We're talking launch day early in the usa.
Physical games.
I don't recall seeing it with digital.
 
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I think the PPE core in the PS3 was only used to run the O.S. and manage the SPEs.

I also don't think the execution order has any influence in the instruction set. The out-of-order designs are just able to push higher instruction throughput compared to their theoretical maximum, at the cost of consuming more power. For example, the ARM Cortex A55 and A75 share the same instruction set, but the first is in-order for low-power tasks and the second is out-of-order for high-performance tasks.

I said PPC = PowerPC, not PPE.

My point was that the different ISA would be the primary impediment, and only mentioned the IIO versus OoOE because the instruction throughput difference would also be a factor in determining whether the Zen cores would have sufficient performance at 3.5 GHz to emulate the Cell directly. I admit I worded my post poorly, as the OoOE design for the Zen cores would work in your favour, not against you.

Thanks for the clarification though.
 

MrSec84

Member
The cell also used PPC cores with In Order Execution, versus the PS5's x86-64 cores with Out Of Order Execution.

Overcoming those hardware architectural differences with such a small difference in clock speed makes direct emulation virtually impossible.

Even JiT recompilation may be just about doable but will struggle practically in some cases on some workloads.
Xbox 360's 3 PPE Cores ran at 3.2 GHz, yet Microsoft were able to emulate them on the 1.75GHz Jaguar Cores of the XBox One, they had 6 and a bit cores available on Xbox One.
The PPEs used SMT, so each of the significantly smaller Jaguar Cores, with far slower per thread/core performance was able to achieve better performance compared to the XBox 360 versions of most of it's games.
Jaguar Cores are OoO Execution Units, they had no issue once Microsoft wrote the correct Emulation Software, along with adding the per game software wrapping emulation was achievable on the slower hardware of the Xbox One compared to the current gen AMD APU technology.

SPUs obviously add an additional factor that Sony has to tackle, but RPCS3 can run on older, weaker APUs than what PS5 has, first gen Zen, with half the cores and threads, plus a much slower GPU. PS5 also has the Tempest Engine that could assist in SPU emulation, since Cerny did say that there were similarities to the way that SPUs work on PS3.
Machine Learning within PS5's hardware and software stack could approximate PS3's processing intricacies to allow for Backwards Compatibility, really it's most likely just a matter of whether Sony wants to have some software engineers write or even repurpose open source software like RPCS3 to allow for BC to work for PS5 owners.
 
This would explain why every ps4 game early on needed an immediate patch before playing.
To quietly remove the very thing they were making fun of xbox one doing.

Even if your tinfoil hat theory was correct, the point is that they neither announced any intent to implement the shitty policies and ultimately decided against such a shitty course of action before announcing their console.

So even if they did explore the idea of following the same path MS did. They came to their senses in time for console launch, unlike MS. So they had every right to make fun of MS for going full derp with their initial XB1 policies.
 
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Xbox 360's 3 PPE Cores ran at 3.2 GHz, yet Microsoft were able to emulate them on the 1.75GHz Jaguar Cores of the XBox One, they had 6 and a bit cores available on Xbox One.
The PPEs used SMT, so each of the significantly smaller Jaguar Cores, with far slower per thread/core performance was able to achieve better performance compared to the XBox 360 versions of most of it's games.
Jaguar Cores are OoO Execution Units, they had no issue once Microsoft wrote the correct Emulation Software, along with adding the per game software wrapping emulation was achievable on the slower hardware of the Xbox One compared to the current gen AMD APU technology.

SPUs obviously add an additional factor that Sony has to tackle, but RPCS3 can run on older, weaker APUs than what PS5 has, first gen Zen, with half the cores and threads, plus a much slower GPU. PS5 also has the Tempest Engine that could assist in SPU emulation, since Cerny did say that there were similarities to the way that SPUs work on PS3.
Machine Learning within PS5's hardware and software stack could approximate PS3's processing intricacies to allow for Backwards Compatibility, really it's most likely just a matter of whether Sony wants to have some software engineers write or even repurpose open source software like RPCS3 to allow for BC to work for PS5 owners.

You're using the term "emulation" too loosely.

In all the cases above you reference, it's JiT recompilation. "Emulation" as I've been discussing is referring to direct emulation of the hardware which requires a host core many times faster than the processor being emulated (as it's more universal in its application because it doesn't require a software wrapper to be written for every game like MS's 360 BC efforts do).
 
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McCheese

Member
Dumb patent, but I'm sure they'll approve it. the US Patent system seems like an easy money making scheme where the emphasis is on others to invalidate them as their own expense whilst they just rubber-stamp anything and collect their money. I'm pretty sure one of the Nintendo handhelds already did this, but it was the bios chip that "lied" rather than it being built into an opcode response on the CPU itself; so maybe this is the first.

Let's not forget the reason we don't get mini-games during loading screens is because of Namco, image all the fun little loading screen games we lost out on for what, 20 years? because they did it in Ridge Racer, patented it, then did fuck all with it themselves.
 

Knightime_X

Member
Even if your tinfoil hat theory was correct, the point is that they neither announced any intent to implement the shitty policies and ultimately decided against such a shitty course of action before announcing their console.

So even if they did explore the idea of following the same path MS did. They came to their senses in time for console launch, unlike MS. So they had every right to make fun of MS for going full derp with their initial XB1 policies.
I get that but the patent is proof of their intentions.
Had it succeeded with Xbox the future of gaming would look quite different today.
 

Tripolygon

Member
Are you sure?
I clearly remember seeing a short unknown update before playing.
Also my console was online the entire time.
We're talking launch day early in the usa.
Physical games.
I don't recall seeing it with digital.
Lots of games need day one patch because they start printing the disc a couple of months early to allow time to distribute while developers keep working up to a week before release to publish the final patch. The internet and patches give devs more time compared to previous generations where downloading patches were terrible with slow internet. In PS2 gen you are stuck with whatever was printed on the disc including any bugs that could not be patched unless they were reprinted.
 
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Knightime_X

Member
Lots of games need day one patch because they start printing the disc a couple of months early to allow time to distribute while developers keep working up to a week before release to publish the final patch. The internet and patches give devs more time compared to previous generations where downloading patches were terrible with slow internet. In PS2 gen you are stuck with whatever was printed on the disc including any bugs that could not be patched unless they were reprinted. Turn off wifi and install knack without any patch installed.
The patches were very short unlike typical patches ranging from a few hundred mb to several gigs.
Not that many games in a row needed a fix on launch day.
I mean, c'mon now.
 

Fafalada

Fafracer forever
In all the cases above you reference, it's JiT recompilation. "Emulation" as I've been discussing is referring to direct emulation of the hardware which requires a host core many times faster than the processor being emulated (as it's more universal in its application because it doesn't require a software wrapper to be written for every game like MS's 360 BC efforts do).
Recompilation doesn't require 'software wrappers' anymore than anything else, it's just an optimization - raw interpreters are painfully slow. Even PS2 emulated PS1 with JIT for the CPU code.
Besides how 'direct' are we talking about here. Interpreting CPU/GPU etc. instructions is still just another form of virtualization, you should go to logic-gate level to truly 'emulate' the original hardware, and good luck doing that in software for anything less than 20 years old.

I also don't think the execution order has any influence in the instruction set.
It can impact emulation (and performance), as reordering FP instructions literally changes the outcome of computations, which can lead to extremely hard to track down bugs. Of course every CPU can enforce order of execution, but it comes at a (potentially severe) performance penalty.
Eg. European launch PS3 PS2 emulator (and onwards) employed speed-hacks where accuracy wasn't needed, but for some titles it ran in 'slow-mode' - like the one I mention above (both order of execution and some other quirky behaviors of PS2 FP that was rather liberal with IEEE compliancy). And that was when both architectures were in-order (the ISA changes alone can lead to differences in ordering of how math gets processed).
 
Dumb patent, but I'm sure they'll approve it. the US Patent system seems like an easy money making scheme where the emphasis is on others to invalidate them as their own expense whilst they just rubber-stamp anything and collect their money. I'm pretty sure one of the Nintendo handhelds already did this, but it was the bios chip that "lied" rather than it being built into an opcode response on the CPU itself; so maybe this is the first.

Let's not forget the reason we don't get mini-games during loading screens is because of Namco, image all the fun little loading screen games we lost out on for what, 20 years? because they did it in Ridge Racer, patented it, then did fuck all with it themselves.
I've practiced patent law, and you're not entirely wrong. Being awarded a patent basically entitles you to litigation and - if you have good attorneys - injunction against infringing parties. Examiners aren't meant to serve as final arbiters of an invention's uniqueness, that ultimately falls to the courts (at least in the U.S., which is worth debating whether judges are best positioned to render decisions).

As far as this patent is concerned, I'm certain many of the claims are patterned after the prior art i.e. claims that exist in other patents (just look at the patent citation list). The primary purpose of this patent, at least as far as I can tell, is to ward off would-be litigants from trying to extort a settlement without a case ever getting to litigation (a very common practice in the U.S. patent system). By filing, Sony at least preserves the appearance of a live dispute, requiring a legitimate NPE (non-practicting entity, or if you prefer the pejorative, patent troll) to produce its patent for examination and substantively measure it against Sony's own to settle each's validity.
 
Yeah, they even had a patent to block secondhand games shortly before PS4 release:
The whole industry was onboard and the moment MS opened their mouth about it and they all saw the backlash, everyone scrapped it and hung MS out to dry. It was a huge error in judgment on the part of MS but anyone who thought this was their idea and they were the only ones doing it was out of their mind. Prior to this, EA and other pubs started requiring online passes in order to snatch up something from a second hard sale. This was likely the ultimate goal for the industry. Glad MS caved and everyone scrapped this terrible idea.
 

CamHostage

Member
How the fuck can you possibly get a patent on something like that? The idea of faking IDs to match older hardware is something so basic and long-used that if the patent system wasn't utterly fucked it would be instantly rejected.

That's why most of these patents are being patented, actually...

It's not to lock out other companies from using the patented technology (though some day there may be a bitter cold war if/when 'ideas' are the only profitable element in technology), it's to stop patent trolls from claiming that they invented general, commonly-used technology services because the troll somehow put patent on basic mechanical concepts (which they themselves never even built, just described on paper.) As I understand it, the current trend is that companies don't go after each other over patent issues, that there's a gentleman's agreement on some level where big companies are taking all the bread-and-butter ideas off the patent table and then they work some sort of paperwork out where everybody can assume its use is okay.


Whether you trust big businesses to own these ideas is question that will remain underneath it all, but nobody wants a mutually-assured-destruction scenario of endless patent infringement cases logjamming the industry. (And even in big cases where for instance Samsung was sued by Apple for copying its innovations, it's questionable whether anybody really won in the end except for the layers.)
 
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Why could the PS2 and PS3 run 99% of the PSX library? I'm assuming emulation? So dumb that Sony left that out with the PS4 and PS5. Even if it's just an easter egg, it's such a cool nod to their legacy.
 

DrAspirino

Banned
Sony Interactive Entertainment Filed New Patent Went Live 25th November 2021:

"Spoofing CPUID For Backwards Compatibility"

Filed by Mark Cerny.



Credit: @Tippy_Power

Full patent here: https://patents.google.com/patent/EP3405864A1/en
Are these guys for real?

REALLY???

WE'VE BEEN DOING THAT IN THE HACKINTOSH COMMUNITY FOR YEARS!! (since hackintoshing became a thing in 2006)

It's common for companies to patent the technologies they design. There's no reason to believe there's an ulterior motive at work here.
And that's the problem: they DIDN'T design it in the first place. They just took it. They used what we've been doing in the hackintosh community for years to apply it for PS4 back-compat and then patented it, which is a really shitty move if you ask me.

Also, look up for the Clover Bootloader or the more recent OpenCore bootloader: both of them are infinetely more complex than the bullshit CPU spoofing that Cerny came up with, specially OpenCore, since it can feed the OS with spoofed CPU-ID, GPU-ID, modified USB pathways and connectors, etc (in short, spoof everything in software).

Heck, the computer I'm writing this post right now is my potato Lenovo m700 SFF with a Core i5-6400 and Radeon RX550, which I spoofed via DSDT file and config.plist file into an iMacPro1,1. That means the OS believes I have a Xeon CPU (which I don't), with custom thermals and a Radeon RX560 so it can have native metal and hardware DRM decoding.



What Sony did with that patent is acknowledging they didn't have a better solution to come up with in issuing PS4 back-compat, so they had to retort to open-source community-driven projects to get their bearings together.

Oh well...
 
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Saucy Papi

Member
Why could the PS2 and PS3 run 99% of the PSX library? I'm assuming emulation? So dumb that Sony left that out with the PS4 and PS5. Even if it's just an easter egg, it's such a cool nod to their legacy.
I remember being able to play Mortal Kombat 3 (PS1 version) on my PS3 super slim. That was awesome. As far as why they were able to do so, I know PS2 had dedicated hardware to carry it out and I know that at least the first generation/phat PS3 had dedicated hardware to carry out PS1 and PS2 compatibility. I assume it was cheap enough to maintain it for later PS3 iterations for PS1 compatibility at least. I'm sure if their backwards compatibility solution had been less hardware dependent, they would have kept it for PS4.
 

TLZ

Member
I think the most this will amount to is a Replacement for the PS3 blades currently in use to run PS3 games on PSnow. Emulating there streaming method with more powerful hardware.
I'm still hopeful that leads to something locally on consoles. All I have is hope :)
 

8BiTw0LF

Gold Member
Are these guys for real?

REALLY???

WE'VE BEEN DOING THAT IN THE HACKINTOSH COMMUNITY FOR YEARS!! (since hackintoshing became a thing in 2006)
Most things are done in the hacking community before it's patented by some of the tech-giants?

And that's the problem: they DIDN'T design it in the first place. They just took it. They used what we've been doing in the hackintosh community for years to apply it for PS4 back-compat and then patented it, which is a really shitty move if you ask me.
If it's not patented - no one can claim it's theirs.

What Sony did with that patent is acknowledging they didn't have a better solution to come up with in issuing PS4 back-compat, so they had to retort to open-source community-driven projects to get their bearings together.

Oh well...
What makes you think it's for PS4 back compat?
 

DrAspirino

Banned
What makes you think it's for PS4 back compat?
Simple: CPU, GPU and hardware spoofing, IIRC, only works when the spoofed device/cpu has the same architecture as the device/cpu one is trying to disguise. For example, I can spoof my CPU to be recognised as a Skylake-W Xeon CPU (and older) since it has the same capabilites; however, I cannot spoof it as an ARM CPU or another ISA CPU, since they are fundamentally different architectures.

PS4 shares the same architecture as the PS5, so the OS just has to spoof the CPU/GPU to the PS4 app for it to run properly. It's the "low effort/low gain" solution, since it only allows going back 1 generation (PS4). The VM and/or emulators approach would've allowed them to actually be able to have back-compat with PS1-PS2-PS4 and even a future PS3 emulator (even if it would run only some games).
 

Yoboman

Member
I don't believe that.
Whatever helps you sleep at night

You're simultaneously arguing that they didn't have enough time to remove your imagined used game blocking technology from games at launch but also had no reason to patch other things.

How about you bring back some proof? I'm sure there are plenty of articles around about how these unpatched games don't work on offline consoles to back you up?
 
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