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Can you Play PS3 games on PS4?


Despite PlayStation frequently coming up with new consoles, older game titles from older systems still hold a firm place in players’ hearts. This brings up the question, can you play PS3 games on PS4? The answer is yes. Kind of. Well…maybe not the way you think. We’ll break down exactly what we mean by this, and cover some older PlayStation games that you can still play, even on your PS4. Speaking of, here’s a comprehensive list of games available for your PS4 through the PlayStation store.

What is PS4 Backwards Compatibility?

Backward compatibility of consoles is one of the major features gamers should consider before purchasing a console. This is especially true if they have a love for more classic games or franchises that aren’t otherwise available on newer systems. But what is backward compatibility? Backward compatibility is the feature or ability of consoles to be compatible with their previous generation games; for example- SONY’s PS5 is compatible with PS4 games.

So, can you play PS3 games on PS4? In a succinct way, the answer is no. However, it’s not a straightforward answer; it’s a complicated one as you will not be playing PS3 games on PS4 using the game discs or downloading them on your PS4 from your PlayStation App. There are ways to go about it if you want to play your PS3 games on PS4, however. We’ll show you all the ways to play older PlayStation games on your PS4.

Why can’t you play PS3 games on PS4?

In technical terms, PS4 is built using an x86 chip CPU structure, similar in quality to what we have on P.C.’s and the Xbox One. PS3, on the other hand, deploys a proprietary chip in its build-up. This chip is a powerful cell processor designed by SONY, Toshiba, and IBM. While this chip is powerful, it is very difficult for developers to find their way around optimizing games for it since its architecture is unique to PS3. Different system architectures means your gaming console is not backwards compatible.

Technically, games designed for the PS3 hardware are incompatible with the PS4 due to the difference in their processors. Plus, the PS4 is not designed with the backward compatibility feature. This makes the PS4 completely incompatible with PS3 games- not even when you attempt using an emulator to run PS3 games on the PS4 console.

However, there is a major solution for people who wish to enjoy their PS3 games on PS4. PlayStation Plus is a handy way to play games that would otherwise be incompatible, even eliminating the need for physical copies or older consoles.

What is PlayStation Plus?

PlayStation Plus is a Sony digital service that gives you access to a large game catalogue, monthly games and discounts, time-limited trials for certain games, cloud streaming, and other such features. It is the replacement to its predecessor, PlayStation Now, merging previous perks with PlayStation Plus, though these will differ depending on the tier you choose for you plan. Here’s an overview of how PlayStation Plus works.

How much is PlayStation Plus?

PlayStation Plus has three membership plans:

Essential: For $9.99 a month, or $79.99 annually, you get access to Share Play, game help, cloud storage, exclusive content, online multiplayer functions, and access to a monthly game catalogue.

Extra: $14.99 monthly, or $134.99 annually, this gives you the same bonuses as the Essential plan, along with access to PlayStation’s Game Catalogue, featuring hundreds of games from multiple genres. New titles are frequently added, as well as Ubisoft+ classics.

Premium: $17.99 a month, or $159.99 annually. It includes all the same features as the other tiers, access to the Classics catalogue, game trials, cloud streaming, and other such exclusive content. This is the one you’ll want if you’re looking to play older games.

What games can you play on PlayStation Plus?

The more elite your membership plan, the more games you’ll be able to access through your subscription. That said, if the game is available, you can always purchase it separately through the PlayStation store, so even if you don’t have PlayStation Plus, you’ll have plenty of older games you can access, for a price.

As for the game catalogue, it is extensive, but not perfect. There are a slew of PS3 games you can play, including Heavy Rain, God of War, Castlevania Symphony of the Night, and other such classics. On top of that, PS1 and PS2 have some titles available too, such as the original Doom, Twisted Metal, Resident Evil, and Worms. The library is frequently changing, so you’ll want to keep track of the fluctuating titles periodically, just to be sure you’re not missing out on something awesome.

Quick fixes: How to play older games on PS4

Other than the obvious requirement of actually having a PlayStation 4, here’s what you’ll need to play older games on your console:

  • A PlayStation Network account
  • A payment method linked to your account
  • A broadband internet connection of at least 5mbps or higher

From there, select your subscription plan. Keep in mind that the more you pay, the more titles are available to you. If you’re wanting to play PS1 through PS3 games, you’ll have the best luck through the Premium tier. That said, if a game is available to purchase, you can generally just buy it for your collection without needing the subscription. If you only want one or two classic games, this might fit your budget better than paying for the Premium level membership. The nice thing is users can always adjust their membership level and change to a lower or higher tier if they decide it fits their needs better. You’re not stuck at one level if you’ve played everything you wanted and wish to save some money.

Pros and Cons of PlayStation Plus

I’m gonna be honest. Can you play PS3 games on PS4 through PlayStation Plus? Yes. But that doesn’t mean all the games you love are going to be available. There is a decent representation of well-loved games, but there are still tons of them missing. Also, often times what you’re actually playing is the PS4 remastered or updated version of a PS3 game. That’s usually not a bad thing. Evil Within on PS3 is nearly unplayable because every time you die the loading screen takes forever. The PS4 version fixed the loading screen and then some, but not all your favorite games will be so lucky. Remastered, updated, reformatted, all of these make older games run well on your PlayStation. But if you want to play a more obscure game that never got this kind of treatment? You may be out of luck.

Yes, they do have plenty of PS3 and older games that are available to play through Plus, but the catalogue is small and at the mercy of the developers and Sony. Also, the previous subscription plan of PlayStation Now had a far broader library of games than Plus does, and Plus costs more. Frustrating, to say the least. That said, what choice is there really

Emulation is one possible solution. Here’s the 7 best PlayStation emulators for your PC, if that’s the method you want to take to expand your classic game library. Still, you should know that the legality of emulation is complicated. Usually you’ll need to own some hard copy of the game to make it legal to actually emulate it. PlayStation Plus is one of the only legal ways to play older games without infringing on copyrights or piracy. That alone makes it worth considering. I just hope that Sony expands its library of games on PS4 (and PS5) and gives gamers what they want. The titles they love without sky high prices.

Another possibility? You can always play the same games you love on PC instead, often with even more availability than you would find on the PlayStation store and through legitimate, legal means such as through Steam. This is a great way to not only play remasters, but also more obscure titles released that you can’t find anywhere else.

PC gaming your thing? Here’s how to reduce ping through VPNs.


While your PS4 isn’t technically backwards compatible, you can use PlayStation’s streaming service or digital purchases to play older titles such as from the original PlayStation all the way up to PS3 and beyond. If you’re lucky, you’ll run across remastered versions of your favorite games, that often have quality of life updates to make the experience that much better. If you’re thinking about upgrading to a new console, like the PS5, these same features and cloud gaming service are also available on this system so you won’t be losing out if you upgrade. Or, maybe you’re waiting for the PS6? If so, here’s the ultimate guide to the PlayStation 6. Though it’s not known if the PS6 will have native backward compatibility, there is a good chance there will be some way to play older games on it. That’s one thing that never changes. If a game is good, you’re going to want to find a way to keep playing it.

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