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How to play PlayStation 3 games on Linux

PlayStation 3 was released in 2006. It is the third console in the PlayStation line and sold millions of units. The console was well known for having powerful hardware and graphics for the time. 

Unfortunately, Sony retired the PS3 in 2015. However, if you don’t mind emulation, it is possible to play the PS3 on Linux (and Windows) using the RPCS3 emulator. Here’s how to use it.

Note: Addictivetips in no way encourages or condones the illegal downloading or distribution of ROM files for RPCS3. If you want to play Sony PlayStation 3 games with RPCS3, please use your own ROM files you’ve backed up to your PC, legally.

Want to play an old PlayStation 2 game on Linux? Check out this guide.

Installing RPCS3 for Linux

RPCS3 is available for Linux users to install in multiple ways. You can install it vai an AppImage, which allows users to run the emulator on any Linux distribution without trouble. There are also installation instructions for Arch Linux.

In this section of the guide, we’ll show you how to set up RPCS3 using both installation methods. To start the process, launch a terminal by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, follow along with the instructions below.

AppImage

The AppImage release for the RPCS3 emulator is the best way to go for most Linux users. Why? No need to fuss with source code, dependencies, or anything like that.

To start the installation of the RPCS3 AppImage, run the wget command below and download the latest release of the AppImage file. 

wget https://github.com/RPCS3/rpcs3-binaries-linux/releases/download/build-511e9920c2aa1b4a428894516cc950f15fa0ff4f/rpcs3-v0.0.12-10907-511e9920_linux64.AppImage -O ~/Downloads/RPCS3.AppImage

After running the wget command, a file with the name of RPCS3.AppImage will appear in the “Downloads” directory on your computer. Using the CD command, move into the “Downloads” directory.

cd ~/Downloads

Inside of the “Downloads” directory, use the chmod command to update the permissions of the AppImage file. The permissions of the file need to be updated. Without this change, the AppImage file cannot run as a program. 

sudo chmod +x RPCS3.AppImage

Now that the RPCS3.AppImage has updated permissions, use the mkdir command to create a new folder with the name of “AppImages” directory. We’ll use this folder to keep the RPCS3.AppImage file out of the way.

mkdir -p ~/AppImages

Using the mv command, move the AppImage file into the “AppImages” directory, so it is out of the way and won’t accidentally be deleted. 

mv RPCS3.AppImage ~/AppImages/

Once the AppImage is in the “AppImages” folder, it is time to create the desktop shortcut. Using the wget download tool, grab the shortcut icon. It will download directly to the “AppImages” directory.

wget https://i.ibb.co/vJkfx0g/152.png -O ~/AppImages/logo.png

Create the file “rpcs3.desktop” using the touch command in the terminal. This shortcut file will make it much easier to launch the emulator. 

touch rpcs3.desktop

Next, launch the shortcut file inside of the Nano text editor using the command below.

nano rpcs3.desktop

Paste the following code into the Nano text editor window. However, be sure to change “USERNAME” in Icon= and Exec= to reflect the username on your Linux PC. Without changing these two lines, the AppImage will not execute.

[Desktop Entry]
Type=Application
Name=RPCS3
GenericName=PlayStation 3 Emulator
Comment=An open-source PlayStation 3 emulator/debugger written in C++.
Icon=/home/USERNAME/AppImages/logo.png
Exec=/home/USERNAME/AppImages/RPCS3.AppImage
Terminal=false
Categories=Game;Emulator;
Keywords=PS3;Playstation;

After adding the code for the shortcut in the Nano text editor, save the edits using Ctrl + O and exit the editor with Ctrl + X. Then, change the permissions of the shortcut using chmod

sudo chmod +x rpcs3.desktop

Finally, install the shortcut to your Linux PC’s shortcut folder. Placing it here will allow you to launch the RPCS3 emulator from the app menu on your Linux desktop environment.

sudo mv rpcs3.desktop /usr/share/applications/

Arch Linux AUR

If you’re an Arch Linux user, point your favorite AUR helper to the RPCS3 package and install it onto your system. Or, follow the AppImage instructions above.

Playing PS3 games on Linux

To play PS3 games on Linux with RPCS3, you’ll need to set up the official Sony PS3 firmware. To do that, launch the RPCS3 app and follow the quickstart guide. It’ll walk you through how to install the firmware.

With the firmware set up, it’s time to configure a controller. Plug your controller in (Xbox controller via USB or Ps3 controller via USB works best), and click on “Pads”. Inside pads, select your controller model under “Handlers” and the emulator will automatically assign controls to it.

Note: for Xbox, select “Evdev” under handlers, and RPCS3 will auto-configure controls to the controller.

After setting up the controller, add your PS3 ROM file to your computer. Then, click on the “Open” icon, browse for the folder that holds your PS3 ROM files, and click on the “Choose” button to load it into the emulator. Loading will take a bit of time, as it will need to compile.

Upon opening your ROM file in RPCS3, the game will instantly start. Grab your controller and get ready to game! Enjoy!

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