PlayStation 2 gamers hoping to enjoy their games on Sony's new games console, the PlayStation 3, when it comes out at the end of March are likely to be disappointed.

The company has announced today that PlayStation 3 launched in Europe will play fewer PlayStation 2 games than the American or Japanese models.

Instead of using a dedicated chip, the European system will use software emulation meaning far fewer PlayStation 2 (PS2) games can be played compared with the Japanese and American PS3 models which play 98% of old games.

"PS3 is first and foremost a system that excels in playing games specifically designed to exploit the power and potential of the PS3 system", said David Reeves, President of SCEE. "Games designed for PS3 offer incredible graphics quality, stunning gameplay and massively improved audio and video fidelity that is simply not achievable with PS and PS2 games. 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, truly taking advantage of this exciting technology."

The move is likely to annoy some gamers who already feel they are already paying more than US or Japanese gamers.

"We are paying more than the Americans and Japanese for the console and now we are not even going to get a console that can do as much", one gamer told us.

Sony has said "Some additional PS2 titles will become compatible on the PS3 system through regular downloadable firmware updates, which will be made available through the PLAYSTATION Network or via PS3 game discs, with the first update planned for the launch date of the 23rd March 2007".

Users will be able to check whether their titles are compatible with PS3 online, however Sony has said that this site won't be available on 23rd March to meet launch day.